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Recap from Hot Mama Chronicles: Dr. Nicole Overstreet, Ph.D.

I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Nicole Overstreet, Ph.D., from Clark University. She is passionate about eradicating health inequities via critical theoretical perspectives that advance social justice, equity, and liberation. She was a guest on Hot Mama Chronicles. Here are some gems she shared:

· On the past year: I have been on sabbatical for a year. I have felt a big push to go in a different direction and I am trying to understand these disciplinary issues for black girls and black women to understand our health issues. Shifting from reactionary to participatory, if we can't anticipate the changes that are happening to us, how can we be liberated?

· On recognizing her own path to truth: "One thing that has been huge for me that there is truth for us as black people that we can feel. We are taught to disregard our instinct. That instinct is my survival tool and love tool that I have. Being able to recognize that took a lot of time."

· On who she reads: "I read books by people who are doing the work; like Audre Lorde, June Jordan, and Toni Cade Bambara."

· On creating spaces for uncomfortable conversations around race: "I grew up in the Baptist Church as her mom was religious and she is coming back to that. She likes this understanding of casting pearls to swine. We are in active trauma right now. I think about the analogy and thinking about what are pearls are. As black women, we just know what our pearls because they come so natural to us. It's only in going through the world that not everyone moves that way or think that way or love that way. I like going back to Sankofa and what Toni Morrison said that there will always be one more thing. What she said that was powerful which was like Talk to me."

· On her community and liberation: "I am talking to my younger self and other black girls and women. I am not arguing with other people. That's not my ministry. Part of liberation is not participating in those discussions but in talking with people who are doing the work of liberation. I am interested in black liberation and I am learning how to say no."

· On what she is hoping to disrupt: "I am hoping to disrupt narratives about potentiality and liberation. Entering the space as a black woman has been a space for really hard shit. It has also been a space for liberation in a big way, thinking about a revolution within myself as Tony Cade Bambara shares."

· Her own personal liberation: "Liberation for me has been about how do I free myself from all of these notions about sexuality and race and religion and gender and spirituality, how do I free myself of the way those things have been taught to me and how I practice those things."

· On whether hot mamas are made or born: "She believes that hot mamas are made and born. She thinks that you die and are reborn. You are created and a creator. If you listen to spirit, you are guided and your steps are ordered and are clearer. You are born and remake."

· On what brings her joy: "She has two cats, Venus and Serena. They are reminders that she should relax and chill."

· Words of wisdom for this interview: "I think there is great pain and beauty in indulging in the human experiences as queens, kings and royalty. You are a light being and love being. You are capable of those things. Take a chance on trying to discover that because that's one of the most liberating things being able to love yourself in a radical way."

See you next year hot mamas!

- Amelia Aubourg


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