Dr. M. Billye Sankofa Waters
I am an interdisciplinary storytelling artist within a vastly rich Village of folx who uses several modalities to center narratives of the Black Diaspora to move further into God & liberation. I am a published author, researcher, writing coach, & workshop facilitator with 20+ years experience that began in the Chicago Public Schools; I am conventionally situated in Schools of Education as I primarily engage with how folx co-construct, embody, and share knowledges. I am politically Black, intersectionally woman, ethnically Chicago, generationally Hip Hop, biologically Tikar & radically American (since 1804 – C. Hale, Asé).
Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.
– bell hooks (1952 – 2021)
Go Back and Get It 🗝✨
The Future of The Movement w/Patrisse Cullors, M. Billye Sankofa Waters and Ashanté Samuels
UWT Coalition Building for Racial Justice Series - Feb 4th
Mandou Billye Sankofa Waters, Ph.D. [mon DOO / BILL-ee / san-KO-fuh-WAH-ters]. Her name translates to Queen Mother, Warrior. Go back and retrieve what is useful through heaven and earth. Daughter of Mary and Bill – she is a Hip Hop generation Blackgirl from the South Side of Chicago who cultivates Black storytelling toward everyday practices of liberation.
She is the author of "Penetrated Soul," "We Can Speak for Ourselves: Parent Involvement and Ideologies of Black Mothers in Chicago"; co-editor of the Lauryn Hill Reader w/ Bettina Love and Venus Evans-Winters (2019) and How We Got Here: The Role of Critical Mentoring and Social Justice Praxis w/ the late Marta Sánchez (2020.) She grounds her work in Black storytelling / critical literacies, qualitative research methods, community praxis & liberatory education, Black feminism and critical race theory.
Sankofa Waters is creator of the brand #BlackFolxAreRich®, the #BFAR Storytellers Deck, Storytellers Retreat, and the family archival Journey Books. She is Founding Executive Director of the non-profit Blackgirl Gold Unapologetic, Inc (BGU). BGU provides funds for Blackgirls who are undergraduate, graduate students, other/mothers and community servants) #BeAResource. She is President of Radical Identity Praxis, LLC (RIP) – the parent corporation of #BFAR and BGU. RIP focuses on research, events, merchandising, and charity.
Writing is one of her superpowers. Since 1995, she has crafted her skills as a journalist and been invited to interview folx across disciplines such as Quincy Jones, Patrisse Cullors, and most recently, Nikki Giovanni. Billye was the first graduate of the Black World Studies program of Columbia College Chicago (2005), with a focus on the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. During that time, she was formally trained as a Fiction Writing coach and while earning her MA and Ph.D. (Education) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (2012), became an Academic Writing Coach through the university Writing Center. She has developed two workshops: “Souls Travelin’” (which focuses on voice and art) and “Writing Smart” (which focuses on positionality, criticality, and responsibilities in academic writing.) She consistently draws from her Village – ancestral and present – to co-construct storytelling quilts of wonderment, innovation, agency, joy, and healing.
She is currently an Assistant Professor with the University of Washington Tacoma. Her primary focus in this role is Educational Leadership and serving in the Ed.D. program. Most recently, she was co-responsible for reconstructing the aims and courses of the program and has since developed and taught courses such as: Anti-Racist and Decolonial Frameworks in Education, Decolonizing Writing and Oral Praxis, and Reconstructing Knowledges.