About: I am a professor of African American literature at Mills College and a lifelong artist and writer. In my work as a teacher and scholar of U.S. Black literature and literary history, I focus on bringing to light those Black lives and legacies that have been overlooked. These same interests inform my work as an artist. I am especially interested in the ways that telling stories of the celebrations, struggles, actions, and accomplishments of Black communities and individuals can transform how people of all ethnicities experience themselves and the world around them. My portraits are informed by the sights, sounds, and sensations that I’ve stored up over my years in Black artist, academic, and activist community. I embrace bright, audacious, and unexpected colors as a way to move beyond entrenched stereotypes and into a vision that reflects the wonderful complexity of Black lives–our history so deeply embedded in our present, our celebrations so often tempered by grief and, yes, the pleasure and risk we find in so many of the individuals, places, and activities that give us joy.