She Had Me at Uhura


A few years ago I got a phone call from the president of a prominent women’s organization. She was familiar with my work on images of women in the media and invited me to suggest a book for her group to read. I was poised to tell her she had the wrong person because her group was composed of business women and I thought I had very little to offer bankers and insurance executives. However as we continued to chat,  she brought up the (at the time) new Star Trek film. When she said that a Black woman’s voice was the first thing those who encountered the Enterprise (in the 1960’s television show) heard I got really excited and I agreed to come to her national meeting. Then I suggested Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower as the book everyone should read.

I prepared to meet these titans of the business world and I developed a lecture that discussed how the protagonist of Parable of the Sower, Lauren Olamina, was a model for corporate and civic leadership. I had an extraordinary time at the conference and my theory was well received. I developed relationships that are ongoing and I expanded my scholarship. In fact, I will be teaching a course in the spring on models of leadership in Black speculative fiction and I’ll post a call for papers on how Black Speculative fiction imagines or re-imagines leadership.

Who knew my favorite after school tv show when I was kid would combine with JJ Abram’s revision, a business executive’s phone call, and Octavia Butler’s wisdom to lead me where I had not dared to go before–corporate America.


4 thoughts on “She Had Me at Uhura

  1. Great testimony of how Octavia Butler’s work served as a beacon for you. She’s done the same for me on both a professional and personal level. Looking forward to reading more postings and helping to grow this important community. Excited for you! ~ Monice

  2. …i love ANYTHING written by Octavia Butler. we cannot afford to forget her amazing contributions to the literary world.

    i have dreams of adapting several of her books to the stage or film. i wish that i had the opportunity to meet her on this plane, but her work inspires me every day.

  3. This definitely keeps her alive and assure that her insights and her storytelling will continue to impact this world @mequel

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