#docyourchange: 5 Black Professors who make Social Change through Social Media

Amanda Kemp
Nov 11, 2016 · 3 min read

“To whom much has been given much is required.” As a survivor of New York City foster care, of long term environmental trauma in the South Bronx and a host of other difficult experiences, I know that I now live with privilege each day. I’m not anxious for my physical safety; I’m not hungry; I’m not overwhelmed with just getting through each day. I’m a fifty year old Black woman with a PhD who owns a consulting practice; runs a theatre company, and writes for a living. Much has been given to me and I’m using it to transform this unbearable status quo.

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Thankfully, even though the Academy does not reward it, more and more Black professors are putting their skills and knowledge into social media that reaches way, way beyond the college campus and their academic organizations. These are the trailblazers who are #docyourchange, a hashtag you should check out. In this post, I will highlight five to watch, follow, and work with if you can.

Dr. Rashawn Ray is a sociologist who promotes a video log and regularly writes, speaks and promotes racial equity and police accountability. Most recently, he has taken on men’s responsibility to stop domestic violence and rape culture. Known for his #docyourchange, Rashawn is a young father of two Black boys and frequently writes from the position of protecting them and raising them with integrity. Tenured at University of Maryland, Rashawn is a favorite with students and can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Mark Anthony Neal is another successful senior professor who uses social media to comment frequently on cultural and political events. Tenured at Duke University , Dr. Neale is also the founder and director of the Duke Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship and teaches courses on Black music, hip hop, and popular culture. Using his privilege to advance other Black voices, Dr. Neale is also the host of a weekly podcast “Left of Black.” He tweets as NewBlackMan, which is also the name of his book. He was the first person I knew to tweet about Fences, the movie!

It was while watching an episode Left of Black, that I met Yaba Blay, a political scientist at North Carolina Central University. Dr. Blay promoted #blackgirlmagic and regularly investigates colorism and beauty culture of Africana women. She self-published her (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race and has launched a web series #Professional Black Girl. Published on Youtube, Professional Black Girl features Black women and girls who are unapologetically independent in their thinking, confident in their worth and impacting local black communities. She’s been in O, The Oprah Magazine, CNN. Check out her tweets too

Dr. Tyra Seldon earned her doctorate in English and is now an education entrepreneur, specializing in supporting people of color. In addition to coaching people through the writing process of their dissertations, Dr. Seldon also hosts several Black writing sites and nurtures emerging voices. We were both tenure-track English professors at Dickinson College but have rejected the Academy for now. She is an editor of YourBlackEducation.com. Her Facebook group The Black Writers Group encourages people to tell their stories and own their experiences.

The fifth professor, I recommend you check out is Dr. Maria Thompson Corley who teaches piano at Millersville University. A Juilliard graduate, Dr. Maria also just published her second novel Letting Go which focuses on two Black Canadians from upper and lower incomes and how they negotiate racism, love, and pursuing their dreams. Frequently on Facebook, Good Reads and other digital publications, Maria also speaks about autism, parenting and balancing life as a performing artist. Most recently, we’ve collaborated on a Webcast called Two Nappy Headed Girls Talking about Books.


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