Kevin Allred is a writer, speaker, and educator based in Brooklyn. HIs writing has been featured in Salon, INTO, NBC News, and other publications.
Poet, critic, and activist Cheryl Clarke was born in Washington, DC. She earned her BA from Howard University and her MA and PhD from Rutgers University. Clarke is the author of five collections of poetry: Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women (1983), Living as a Lesbian (1986), Humid Pitch (1989), Experimental Love (1993), and By My Precise Haircut (2016), which won a Hilary Tham Capital Competition. She wrote the critical study “After Mecca”: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement (2005), and a volume collecting her poetry and prose was published as The Days of Good Looks: Prose and Poetry of Cheryl Clarke, 1980–2005 (2006). Many of Clarke’s most influential essays, including “Lesbianism: an Act of Resistance” and “The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community,” first appeared in landmark publications such as This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981) and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983).
Clarke was an influential administrator and teacher at Rutgers for more than 40 years. She founded the Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian-Gay Concerns, which became the Office of Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities, and retired as the Livingstone Dean of Students in 2013. For her service to LGBTQ communities, Clarke received a David Kessler Award. She currently lives in Hobart, New York, where she owns and operates Blenheim Hill Books with her partner, Barbara J. Balliet.
"Proving himself a worthy member of the BeyHive, Kevin Allred takes us on a journey through Beyoncé’s greatest hits and expansive career—peeling back their multiple layers to explore gender, race, sexuality, and power in today's modern world. A fun, engaging, and important read for long-time Beyoncé fans and newcomers alike." —Franchesca Ramsey, author of Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist
"Ain’t I a Diva? explores the phenomenon of Beyoncé while explicitly championing not only her immense talent and grace but what we can learn from it. In this celebration of Beyoncé, and through her, other Black women, Allred is giving us room to be exactly who we are so that maybe we, too, can stop the world then carry on!” —Keah Brown, author of The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me
“Kevin Allred is a writer who approaches the topic of Beyoncé’s role and impact on the culture with nuance and skill. Keenly aware of his position and privilege as a white cis male, Allred centers and amplifies Black feminist voices in his writing as he explores themes of race, gender, and class in Beyoncé’s seminal career. Applying a feminist reading to her music, Allred illuminates and introduces ideas that are timelier now than ever before. This is a must-read for any fan of Beyoncé and of fascinating feminist discourse.” —Zeba Blay, senior culture writer, HuffPost