Lakesia D. Johnson -Reclaiming the Dream Panel Discussion

Reclaiming the Dream 50 Years After the March
BAN Radio Show, Nov. 22 at 9pm EST

Featured Speaker - Lakesia D. Johnson, JD, PhD
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Lakesia D. Johnson, JD, PhD
@profsoulsista;  Grinnell College Department of  Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies and English

Lakesia D. Johnson has a law degree, M.A. and Ph.D. in Women's Studies from The Ohio State University. Her areas of teaching and research include visual and narrative culture, Black women's studies, Chicana feminist theory, critical race theory and feminist legal theory. Her essay, "Othermothers, Amazons and Strategies of Leadership in the Public and Private Spheres" is featured in Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing the Motherline (SUNY Press 2011) edited by Toni C. King and S. Alease Ferguson. Her book Iconic: Decoding Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman was published in August by Baylor University Press.

ICONIC: Decoding the Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman

When Lakesia D. Johnson set out to write her book – ICONIC: Decoding the Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman – she had two primary goals in mind: to explore how representations of strong, revolutionary black women within pop culture are used to reinforce mostly negative stereotypes about black women and to trace the numerous ways that African American women activists, actors, writers, and musicians have negotiated, confronted and resisted stereotypical representations of black womanhood by taking control of their public images and constructing iconic depictions of and narratives about African American womanhood. 

One image that has circulated the Internet for months was the mugshot of recording artist Lauryn Hill. Once viewed as a strong, independent, extremely successful pop cultural figure, one which extended beyond the boundaries of her music, Lauryn is now depicted through this very photograph as an unhappy, sad woman.  And in many respects, it might be easy for some who view the picture to categorize her blank, empty stare as typical of the "angry black woman."  Johnson is able to discuss this present-day image of Lauryn Hill, what it means to her musical legacy and how it may or may not change the scope of how she is viewed today as a once iconic black woman figure. 

Further, Johnson can focus on how ICONIC chronicles how strong black women, from the past to the present, have taken control of their own imaging despite consistent negative characterizations.  Through their speech, demeanor, fashion, social relationships and historical contributions, women from Sojourner Truth to Michelle Obama have counteracted these negative depictions.  With ingenuity, fortitude and focus on the greater good, these women transformed the cultural images of themselves and, simultaneously, those of American black women as a whole.

Nov. 22 BAN Radio Panel Discussion Topics
Listen here:

This  Bonding Thru Books Panel will address issues that are important to the survival of our nation. A half-century after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his clarion call for justice from the Lincoln Memorial, where are we on racial progress and the job front?  We have recently marked the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. But are we really free?

* What defines Blackness? What does it mean to be Black?
*  What is the Browning of America? 
* Is racism still a workplace reality for women in 2013?
* Why does the media portray women of color as manless, angry, and unfulfilled?
* 150 Years after the Emancipation Proclamation: Where are we now? Where do we go from here?
* No Justice, No Peace! - What have we learned from the Renisha McBride and Trayvon Martin's stories?