Dr. Yaba Blay is a professor, producer, and #ProfessionalBlackGirl. As a researcher and ethnographer, she uses personal and social narratives to disrupt fundamental assumptions about cultures and identities. Dr. Blay’s specific research interests lie within global Black identities and the politics of embodiment, with particular attention given to hair and skin color politics.
Named to The Root 100 (2014), an annual list of top Black influencers, Dr. Blay is one of today’s leading voices on colorism and global skin color politics. Her commentary has been featured on CNN, BET, MSNBC, NPR, O Magazine, Ebony Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Root, Huffington Post Live, Colorlines, Al Jazeera America and elsewhere.
Her book, (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race, explores the interconnected nuances of skin color politics and Black racial identity, and challenges narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality. In 2012, she served as a Consulting Producer for CNN Black in America – “Who is Black in America?” – a television documentary inspired by the scope of her (1)ne Drop project.
Dr. Blay received her BA in Psychology (Cum Laude) from Salisbury State University, M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of New Orleans, and M.A. and Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. She is currently the Dan Blue Endowed Chair in Political Science at North Carolina Central University.