Essays, Poems & Criticism


“Disney’s Disembodied Black Characters,” Los Angeles Review of Books, March 2021

“On Teaching While Black During the Time of COVID and Emboldened Racism,” Poets & Writers online, February 2021

“What Is Left, What Is Held, What Is Grown As Roots,” Catapult, September 2020

“The Pain of the KKK Joke,” The Paris Review Daily, July 2020

“On Boyhood,”  Tahoma Literary Review, Issue 13, November 2018

“Serena, Kamala, and the Fear of the Outspoken Woman,” Dame Magazine, September 2018

“The Realities of Parenting A Black Son,” Dame Magazine, May 2018

Dispatches from Rape Culture,” Anomaly, February 2018

“What is Said,” All the Women in My Family Sing, November 2017

“The Animal in the Yard,” Creative Nonfiction MagazineAugust 2017

“On Chris Abani: The Middle Class View of Africa is a Problem,” The Guardian, July 2016

“A Church for the Ages,” U.S. Catholic Magazine, May 2016

“My Father Could Have Been Killed By Police,” Stir Journal, April 2016

“But You’re So Smart, You Can’t Be Black,” Ozy Magazine, November 2015

“How to Change the Church From Within,” U.S. Catholic Magazine, October 2015

“Where Should My Black Son Go To School?” Dame Magazine, June 2015

“The Terror of the Flat Iron,” Ozy, May 2015

“20 Black Poets to Know (and Love),” The Root, April 2015

“5 Moments in the Life of a Black Mother,” The Hairpin, January 2015

“What Is Said,” North American Review online, January 2015

“10 Reason Why Willow and Jaden’s NYT Interview is the Best Thing Ever,” Ms. Magazine online, November 2014

“On Street Harassment and Race,” The Root, November 2014

“If We Want Diverse Books We Need Diverse MFA Programs,” The Root, September 2014

“Am I My Sister’s Keeper?” Ms. Magazine online, June 2014

“Local Writers Reflect On Maya Angelou,” Los Angeles Magazine, June 2014

“The Cruel Choice Black Women Face: Between Education and Safety,” Salon, December 2013

“Why Is It Still Legal to Profile Working Moms?” Ms. Magazine online, November 2013

“Black Girl Walking,” Gawker, November 2013

“20 Funny Black Women of Twitter,” Ms. Magazine online, October 2013

“Domestic Violence Is Not A Cultural Tradition But A Crime,” The Feminist Wire, October 2013

“Tiana Parker and Our Black Hair,” Ms. Magazine online, September 2013

“On Black Breastfeeding Week,” Ms. Magazine online, August 2013

“Are We Not Mothers Too? How the Attachment Parenting Debate Ignores Women of Color,” The Daily Beast, August 2013

“Miley’s Big Foam Finger Is Pointing At You: Stereotypes Plus Objectification Equals $$$,” The Feminist Wire, August 2013

“99 Ways to Respect Black Women,” Ms. Magazine online, August 2013

“But What About the Children?” The Feminist Wire, July 2013

“What About Our Fear? An Open Letter To My Fellow American Citizens By A Black American Mother,” For Harriet, June 2013


“White Teeth,” AGNI, Issue 93, Spring 2021

“Figure 1: And After the Firing Ruth Still Dreams of Things Like Angels That Save Men from the Firing,” Glass Poetry Magazine, November 2020

“Ode to Kale,” World Literature Today, July 2020

“Ode to Kanye West’s Colonized Mind on the Hundredth Recommendation for My Son to Read Richard Wright’s Native Son, the Only Book I Will Never Give Him” AGNI, Fall/Winter 2019

Seven Poems and feature interview at Connotation Press, September 2018

“Ears,” Tinderbox Poetry Journal, July 2018

“In This Body, You’re Disappearing,” Glass Poetry Magazine June 2018

“Judges,” The Sun, May 2018

“Skin II: Firebird,” The Collagist, April  2018

“Naomi,” U City Review February. 2018

“Mouth II,” U City Review, February 2018

“if the center is to hold (lamentations),” U City Review, February 2018

“Rib,” Poetry of Women’s Resistance anthology, January 2018

“Skin II: Firebird,” Poetry of Women’s Resistance anthology, January 2018

“That Bright Shining Thing,” Come As You Are anthology, January 2018

“Judges,” Red Paint Hill Literary Journal, Issue 18, December 2017

“Job (War Survivor’s Guilt,” Nasty Women Poets Anthology, October 2017

“Legs,” Foundry Literary Journal, June 2017

Two Poems in Tupelo Quarterly,” June 2017

Three Poems in Border CrossingSeptember 2016

“Chronicles (Of A Violence Foretold),” Literary Mama, Fall 2016

“Skin I: Advice He Gives When He Thinks I Am Not Listening” Weave Magazine, Fall 2016

“Exodus I: Father’s American Superheroes,” Ruminate Literary Journal, March 2016

“Mouth,” Ruminate Literary Journal, March 2016

“Slow Dance, With Bullet,” African Voices Magazine, February 2016

“Deuteronomy,” Salamander Literary Journal, January 2016

“Slow Dance, With Bullet,” Lit Hub, August 2015

“listen,” NonBinary Review, June 2015

“Job (War Survivor’s Guilt),” Ruminate Literary Journal, May 2015

“Judges,” joINT Literary, April 2015

“The Nerve,” Fjords Literary Review, January 2015

“Rib,” North American Review, January 2015

“Heart,” Potluck Magazine, December 2014

“Letter to My Son IV: Hips,” Potluck Magazine, December 2014

“Skin V: Four Years In Evanston, IL,” Potluck Magazine, December 2014

“How to Protect Yourself From White Men With Guns in America,” Split this Rock, December 2014

“Numbers,” Kalyani Magazine, October 2013

“New York City Love Song #28,” Cease Cows, September 2013

“New York City Love Song #29,” Cease Cows, September 2013


How the Word is Passed Teaches the Importance of Reckoning with History,” NPR, June 2021

“Letters Reveal Authors Strength in a Destructive World,” NPR, June 2021

Notes on Grief Makes Visceral the Experience of Death and Grieving,” NPR, May 2021

“Charles Blow’s The Devil You Know Is A Black Power Manifesto for Our Time,” NPR, January 2021

“Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism, and the Language of Black Speculative Fiction,” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 2020

“On Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” NPR, August 2020

“A Daughter Unearths and Explores Trauma in Memorial Drive,” NPR, July 2020

“Do Black Lives Matter to Westworld? On Television’s Racial Fantasies,” Los Angeles Review of Books, June 2020

“A Memoir Reflects on What Happens to the Fairest of Them All,” NPR, May 2020

Brown Album Centers on the Erasure of Race in American Culture,” NPR, May 2020

Post-Colonial Love Poem Empowers Native Voice Within A Legacy of Violence,” NPR, March 2020

“When I Was White Looks at the Formation of Race and Identity,” NPR, July 2019

“Michelle Obama’s Becoming is Every Amazing Thing You Thought It Would Be,” The Root, November 2018

“My Sister the Serial Killer’s Bloody Feminism,” The AV Club, August 2018

 “Nicole Sealey is No ‘Ordinary Beast’ (or Poet)” Shondaland, April 2018

“Books By Black Authors to Look Forward to in 2018,” The Root, January 2018

“Best Books By Black Authors of 2017,” The Root, December 2017

“The Best Books by Black Authors Published in 2016,” The Root, December 2016

“In ‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ Journalist Weslery Lowery Captures the Birth of a Movement,” The Root, November 2016

“In Colson Whitehead’s Imaginative The Underground Railroad, the Train to Freedom is Real,” The Root, October 2016

“The Story of 10 Young People Killed in a Day Should Make You Rethink Gun Culture in America,” The Root, October 2016

Hidden Figures: Meet the Black Female Math Geniuses Who Helped Win the Space Race,” The Root, September 2016

“Luvvie Ajayi is Only Judging You Because She Wants You to Do Better,” The Root, August 2016

“Black Lotus is A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity in a Racist World,” The Root, August 2016

“A Black Man’s Coming of Age in the Age of Obama: On Invisible Man, Got the World’s Always Watching: A Young Black Man’s Journey into Manhood by Mychal Denzel Smith,” The Root, August 2016

Insurrections: A Short Story Collection Hits All the Right Notes,” The Root, July 2016

The Fire This Time: Anthology Features New Generation of Writers Speaking Out on Race,” The Root, July 2016

“Discovery of Book Published By Black Woman in 1891 Sheds Light on 19th Century Novels By Black Americans,” The Root, June 2016

“15 New Books By Black Authors to Dive Into This Summer,” The Root, June 2016

“Book Review: Terri McMillan Writes What Breaks Her Heart,” The Root, June 2016

“Rachel Howzell Hall Crafts A New Type of Hero in Her Detective Mysteries,” The Root, May 2016

“11 Summer Must-Reads for Young Readers,” The Root, May 2016

“In Search of the Truth About James Brown,” The Root, May 2016

“In A Kafkaesque Turn A Black Man Wakes Up White, Except for His Blackass,” The Root, April 2016

“On Helen Oyeyemi’s What is Not Yours Is Not Yours,” The Root, March 2016

“And After Many Days: A New Nigerian Novelist Publishes a Highly Anticipated Debut Work,” The Root, February 2016

“Brown is the New White: the Changing Demographics of American Politics,” The Root, January 2016

“Books by Black Authors to Look Forward to in 2016,” The Root, February 2016

“14 of the Best Nonfiction Books Published by Black Authors in 2015,” The Root, December 2015

“15 Powerful Works of Fiction Published by Black Authors in 2015,” The Root, December 2015

“Why Shonda Rhimes Chose to Celebrate A Year of Yes,” The Root, November 2015

“Remembering the Forgotten Black Heroes of WWII,” The Root, October 2015

“A Mother’s Nurturing Love Shines Brightly In Ordinary Light,” The Root, October 2015

Undivided: A Muslim Daughter and Her Christian Mother Struggle to Find Peace,” The Root, September 2015

“Balm: Three Who Began New Lives After the Civil War,” The Root, August 2015

“Review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me,” The Root, July 2015

Loving Day Captures What It Means To Be Multiracial In America,” The Root, July 2015

“Twisted: A Man and His Dreadlocks, A Love Story,” The Root, June 2015

“Only The Strong: A Superbly Told Tale of Redemption And Survival,” The Root, June 2015

The Turner House: A Tale of a Family’s Triumph Over Loss,” The Root, May 2015

Pleasantville: A Mystery Thriller That Pays Attention to Missing Black Girls,” The Root, May 2015

“Searching for Books for A Young Reader?” The Root, May 2015

“The Root’s Summer Reading List: 10 Great Books,” The Root, May 2015

“In Toni Morrison’s Latest Novel, Black Lives Matter,” The Root, April 2015

“Award-winning Poet Explores How We Look and See,” The Root, March 2015

“A Horror Story of Modern Slavery and the Power of a Son’s Love,” The Root, February 2015

X: A Novel: How Malcolm X Grew From ‘Little’ to the Leader of a Revolution,” The Root, January 2015

“The 15 Best Black Fiction Books of 2014,” The Root, December 2014

“The 15 Best Black Nonfiction Books of 2014,” The Root, November 2014

Desiree Zamorano’s The Amado Women in The Rumpus, October 2014

Kirkus Reviews, various, June 2014-2016


The Library of Congress’s National Book Festival Fiction Stage: Interview with Maaza Mengiste and Ishmael Beah, September 2020

“On Imani Perry & Breathe: A Letter to My Black Sons,” Kirkus Reviews, September 2019

For the Love of Black Boys: On Derrick Barnes’ Crown, The Root, December 2017

“Young Adult Writer Jacqueline Woodson on Writing Stories That Appeal to all Ages,” The Root, July 2016

“Meet Yaa Gyasi, the Writer of the Slavery Novel Everyone Is Talking About,” The Root, June 2016

“A Lifelong Lover of Books Breaks Ground Atop the Literary World: Interview with Lisa Lucas, the New Executive Director of the National Book Foundation,” The Root, February 2016

“Nnedi Okorafor is Putting Africans at the Center of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” The Root, December 2015

“Kevin Powell: The Evolution of an Activist,” The Root, December 2015

“Landscapes of Exclusion: Hope Wabuke Interviews Carolyn Finney,” Guernica, September 2015

“Young, Gifted and Black: Hope Wabuke Interviews Jeffery Renard Allen,” Guernica, May 2015

“Poet Elizabeth Alexander on the Healing Power of Words,” The Root, April 2015

“Ask Paul Beatty: Why a Comical Book About Slavery?” The Root, April 2015

“20 Questions With David Haynes,” Kimbilio Fiction, June 2014

“20 Questions with Daniel Jose Older,” Kimbilio Fiction, May 2014

“20 Questions With Roxane Gay,” Kimbilio Fiction, November 2013