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Yaba Blay, PhD

Co-Director of Africana Studies; Assistant Teaching Professor, Africana Studies

Dr. Yaba Blay

Office: MacAlister 2024
Phone: 215.895.2814
Email: yaba.a.blay@drexel.edu


Education

  • PhD, African American Studies, Temple University, 2007
  • Graduate Certificate, Women's Studies, Temple University, 2007

Research Interests

  • Skin bleaching
  • The politics of Black embodiment (skin color/hair)
  • Black identity
  • Africana cultural aesthetics and aesthetic practices
  • Issues of gender in Africa and the Diaspora
  • Global Black popular culture

Biography

Yaba Blay, PhD is a teacher-scholar of Africana Studies. As a researcher and ethnographer, she uses personal and social narratives to disrupt fundamental assumptions and expectations about cultures and identities. As a cultural worker and producer, she uses images to inform consciousness, incite dialogue, and inspire others to action and transformation.

Among her many publications, Blay’s ethnographic case study entitled “Pretty Color and Good Hair: Creole Women of New Orleans and the Politics of Identity” is featured as a chapter in the Hampton Press anthology Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities (2010). In addition to her many publications, she is an active editor, serving as a member of the Journal of Pan African Studies (JPAS) editorial board, a peer reviewer for Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women’s Studies, and has edited special issues of both Jenda and JPAS focused on skin bleaching in Africa and the Diaspora.

Professor Blay is the recipient of a 2010 Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant through which she embarked upon her most recent multi-platform project, (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race. Inclusive of a full-color portrait essay book (forthcoming), online exhibition, and traveling exhibition and lecture, (1)ne Drop explores the interconnected nuances of skin color politics and Black racial identity. In 2012, Dr. Blay served as a Consulting Producer for CNN Black in America 5 – “Who is Black in America?” – a television documentary inspired by the scope of the (1)ne Drop Project.


Publications

  • Blay, Y.A. & Charles, C.A.D. (2011). Editorial: Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy. The Journal of Pan African Studies (Vol. 4: No. 4, pp. 1-3) – Special Issue: Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2011). Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy: By Way of Introduction. The Journal of Pan African Studies (Vol. 4: No. 4, pp. 4-46) – Special Issue: Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2010). “Pretty Color ‘n Good Hair”: Creole Women of New Orleans and the Politics of Identity. In R. Spellers & K. Moffitt (Eds.) Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities (pp. 29-52). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2010). Lil’ Kim (Re)Viewed: A Review of Greg Thomas’s Hip Hop Revolution in the Flesh: Power, Knowledge, and Pleasure in Lil Kim’s Lyricism. Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture:  “Sex and Hip-Hop Beyond Misogyny.” (Vol. 4: Issue 2, pp. 28-31)
  • Blay, Y.A. (2009). Editorial: ‘Struck by Lightening:’ The Transnational Phenomenon of Skin Bleaching. Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies (Issue 14, pp. 1-10)  – Special Issue:  “Struck by Lightening:” The Transnational Phenomenon of Skin Bleaching.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2009). “Ahɔɔfe Kasa!”: Skin Bleaching and the Function of Beauty among Ghanaian Women. Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies (Issue 14, 51-85)  – Special Issue: “Struck by Lightening”: The Transnational Phenomenon of Skin Bleaching.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). All the “Africans” are Men, all the “Sistas” are “American,” but Some of Us Resist: Realizing African Feminism(s) as an Africological Research Methodology. Journal of Pan African Studies (Vol. 2: No. 2, pp. 58-73) – Special Issue: Africology: Dimensions and Dynamics.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Abosom. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Adae. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Adinkra Symbols. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Akan. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Asamando. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Asase Yaa. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Color Symbolism. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Sunsum. In M.K. Asante and A. Mazama (Eds.) Encyclopedia of African Religions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Akan. In R. M. Juang and N. Morrissette (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Africa and the Americas. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Creole/Criollo. In R. M. Juang and N. Morrissette (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Africa and the Americas. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Cudjoe. In R. M. Juang and N. Morrissette (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Africa and the Americas. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Khoisan. In R. M. Juang and N. Morrissette (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Africa and the Americas. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Cromanti. In C.B. Davies (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture. Santa Barbara, CA.: ABC-CLIO, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. (2008). Obeah. In C.B. Davies (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture. Santa Barbara, CA.: ABC-CLIO, Inc.
  • Blay, Y.A. & Story, K.A. (2007). Editorial: “Engendering” the Diaspora: Gender, Culture, Race and Identity in the Contemporary African World. The Journal of Pan African Studies (Vol. 1: No. 7, pp. 1-2) – Special Issue: “Engendering” the Diaspora: Gender, Culture, Race and Identity in the Contemporary African World.