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Lyzette Wanzer

Thursday, April 13, 2023

4:30 p.m. — Book Talk , Campus Center West Boardroom (1st Floor)

7:30 p.m. — Celebration with Lyzette Wanzer and student performers, hosted by Kyra Gaunt, UAlbany music professor, ethnomusicologist, singer-songwriter, author, and activist. Recital Hall, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

See map.

Join us for a celebration of the culture and history of African American hair identity and fashion with writer, editor, and workshop instructor, Lyzette Wanzer. In the afternoon, Ms. Wanzer will discuss her new book, Trauma, Tresses, and Truth: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narratives (2022), selected by Library Journal as a "Best Social Science" book of 2022. 

Lyzette Wanzer credit Adrianne Mathiowetz 16x9 copy.jpg

Ms. Wanzer will answer questions about the complexities of Black identity with respect to hair. As a San Francisco-based author-activist, she will also discuss the California law known as “The CROWN Act,” which prohibits discrimination based on hair style and hair texture.


In the evening, UAlbany Professor Kyra Gaunt will host an event with the author, as well as student poets, musicians and dancers. We will also screen Ayoka Chenzira’s 10-minute animation, "Hair Piece: A story for nappy headed people" (1984).


"Trauma, Tresses, and Truth offers vivid vignettes of individual and collective episodic memory. There is an urgent need for collective healing that invites Black and Brown women to tell their stories from the crown down. Trauma, Tresses, and Truth seeks to unseat and decolonize our natural hair stories, redirecting entire eras of grief into rediscovery, rebirth, and reclamation of our ability to choose our hair stories." —Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, founder and CEO of PsychoHairapy


"Trauma, Tresses, and Truth is abundant with important messages, historical truths, and acts of everyday heroism and defiance in the face of the worst kind of racism, the kind that refuses to recognize itself. Contributor Dr. Raina León asks, 'what is freedom? is there a peek of it in this history?' Through a weaving of deeply honest, emotional stories, these survivors of cultural trauma provide an intellectual and emotional laying on of hands so that the next generation can heal and find their freedom. This powerful collection is an important addition to minority studies and a necessary contribution to the process of Black women taking back their crowns." —Tara Lynn Masih, editor of award-winning The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays

Cosponsored by the Department of Music and Theatre, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Intercultural Student Engagement, and the NYS Writers Institute.

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