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Speaking Engagement Highlights

African Hair Braiding and Salons:
A Discussion of the Intersection of Culture, Labor, and Advocacy

In June 2024, Dr. Jones was invited to participate in a panel that focused on African hair braiding traditions and hair salons, and their significance as a cultural practice, a source of labor and an area for advocacy.

A Natural Hair Care Night:
Kinks, Coils, and Curls

In February 2024, Dr. Jones was invited by student organizers from NYU’s Opportunity Program (OP), Organization of Black Women (OBW), Women of Excellence, Strength, and Tenacity (WEST) to give a talk about the natural hair care movement.  The organizers also arranged a hands-on activity where students were taught by their colleague, Asiya Kamara, how to execute a few protective hairstyles.

 Keep on Movin’:
Beauty, Love, and Justice 

Each year, NYU MLK Week includes an exciting array of events and programs curated to honor the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to commemorate his historic 1961 NYU visit. In February 2024, Dr. Jones was invited by the MLK Scholars Program and Gallatin’s Diversity Council to give a talk as part of NYU MLK week.


In Martin Luther King’s Blueprint speech, he emphasized the importance of Black people embracing their skin color and hair texture.  MLK urged the youth to commit to the principles of beauty, love, and justice. He ended the speech with a call to action, “Keep moving!”  In her talk, Dr. Shatima Jones discussed the legacy of MLK’s words and their connection to the Black is Beautiful movement during the 1960s and the more recent Natural Hair Care movement.


  Step Afrika!

“Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping…Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, focusing on teamwork, academic achievement, and cross-cultural understanding (” 


In September 2023, Professor Shatima Jones was invited to facilitate a discussion after the show with C. Brian Williams (founder), Mfon Akpan (artistic director), Pelham Warner (dancer), and Valencia Springer (dancer). Prof Jones asked the panelists questions about the connections between dance and spirituality, the importance of non-verbal communication (i.e. gestures, sounds, and rhythmic movement) in Black cultures, and the timeliness of and takeaways from the show given its celebration of American history and Black cultures. 

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Adjusting the Crown: Respectability, Colorism, and Black Femme Identity

The Cotillion is a play written and directed by Colette Robert.  In May 2023, Dr. Jones was invited to participate in a panel after the show to discuss the histories of Black women’s hair, colorism and respectability politics among additional topics.

 Adjusting the Crown: Respectability, Colorism, and Black Femme Identity