I was recently a panelist on the new talk show Mind, Body, Spirit with T.D. Jakes. It was wonderful to meet Bishop Jakes and Beverly Bond–the founder of Black Girls Rock. That meeting with her was the inspiration for a paper I recently gave at the Utopian Studies Conference in Charleston, SC. I titled it “Octavia Butler: Black Girls Rock Utopian Reformation.”
I am working on a book that shares what I have learned about images of women in the media specifically for mentors, parents, and friends of young girls.
I am team teaching a course in the spring with famed speculative fiction writer and Cosby Endowed Chair Tananarive Due. The course, Butler’s Daughters: Imagining Black Leadership, is going to have a blog. The course examine the fiction from Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, Virginia Hamilton and Ms. Due herself. It’s going to be awesome!
A few years ago I got a phone call from the president of a prominent women’s organization. She was familiar with my work on images of women in the media and invited me to suggest a book for her group to read. I was poised to tell her she had the wrong person because her group was composed of business women and I thought I had very little to offer bankers and insurance executives. However as we continued to chat, she brought up the (at the time) new Star Trek film. When she said that a Black woman’s voice was the first thing those who encountered the Enterprise (in the 1960’s television show) heard I got really excited and I agreed to come to her national meeting. Then I suggested Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower as the book everyone should read.
I prepared to meet these titans of the business world and I developed a lecture that discussed how the protagonist of Parable of the Sower, Lauren Olamina, was a model for corporate and civic leadership. I had an extraordinary time at the conference and my theory was well received. I developed relationships that are ongoing and I expanded my scholarship. In fact, I will be teaching a course in the spring on models of leadership in Black speculative fiction and I’ll post a call for papers on how Black Speculative fiction imagines or re-imagines leadership.
Who knew my favorite after school tv show when I was kid would combine with JJ Abram’s revision, a business executive’s phone call, and Octavia Butler’s wisdom to lead me where I had not dared to go before–corporate America.