Browse Category: Speaker Services

Spectra Speaks on “The Power of Storytelling: LGBT History, The Media, and the African/Black Diaspora”

Dear Readers,

Here’s a brief synopsis of one of my talks, “The Power of Storytelling: LGBT Rights, The Media, and the African/Black Diaspora” in case you (or someone else you can refer me to) would like to bring me to your high school, college or university campus, or conference. It’s the very first talk based on my Africans for Africa project traveling through southern Africa and supporting African women and LGBTI women in their use of social media. Please share, forward, disseminate!

Due to your continued support of my work, I’ve been able to maintain my status as a frequently requested speaker at schools, universities, and conferences around the world. I couldn’t be any more grateful to you, and have recently committed to consolidating/packaging information about my work to make it easier for you to advocate for my presence in your spaces. So, sign up for my mailing list to receive information about more talks, presentations, and workshops, and of course, my appearances near you!

As nearly 100% of my speakers fees gets re-invested back into community projects, such as my latest, Africans for Africa, by booking me, you’ll not only be bringing smart, insightful, thought-provoking, and engaging conversations to your space, but supporting my work overall which aims to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.

If you have any questions at all, click the Contact Me button on the right! Or, send me a message.


The Power of Storytelling: LGBT Rights, The Media, and the African/Black Diaspora
an informal talk/presentation on the Africans for Africa project, by LBGT and media activist, Spectra Speaks  

There is an African proverb that goes, “Until lions write their own history, tales of the hunt will continue to glorify the hunter.”

If one were to go by the media’s portrayal of LGBT rights in Africa, the queer history of an entire continent would most likely be reduced to a series of atrocities, with a speckle of sensationalized triumphs as determined by the west. This phenomenon is far from trivial, as the relationship between what the media says and what policy does is entrenched in government. Hence, it is important to ask not only, “Which stories are being told?”, but also, “Who are the storytellers?”

As a counterpoint, in the US, queer people of color, who have historically been erased from LGBTQ narratives, are steadily, yet aggressively reclaiming their chapters in history, producing media that more authentically portrays their complex lives, and weighing in more loudly than ever during national discourse about LGBT rights.

The growing popularity of new media has contributed to the leveling the playing field; from independent indie films that have been funded via crowdsourcing platforms, to YouTube web series offering eager audiences alternative narratives, new platforms are emerging through which the LGBTQ Diaspora can tell their own stories.

As a queer Nigerian writer, and new media consultant, I have made it my responsibility to cover the progress of LGBTI Africa at the grassroots level; to document our history as told by us (vs. through the eyes of western imperialists or saviorists); and to amplify the voices of changemakers in our communities who are leading the way.

As a juxtaposition to white-/western narratives about the LGBTQ Diaspora, this interactive presentation will take a look at a few of those stories, with a special focus on emergent narratives challenging western depictions of LGBTI Africa.

The talk will also share some findings from my Africans for Africa project, a crowd-funded initiative to train and support LGBT African activists and nonprofits to harness the power of social media in telling their stories, and in so doing, amplify their work, and thought leadership.

Format: Talk/Presentation featuring highly interactive slides w/ media (i.e. photos, videos, quotes).

Duration: Ideally, 1.5 Hrs (w/ Q&A), but can be reduced to a 45-60 min talk without slides.

Audience: General / All Levels, High School or College Students, Student Identity Groups (GSAs, African Students Association, Women’s Groups etc), Activists, esp. for “Allies”

Possible Venues: Keynotes, Conference Presentations, Sessions, Classroom Visits

Departments: Women’s and Gender Studies, Media and Communications, Black/African Studies, History Departments


Spectra Speaks, Bio:

Spectra is an award-winning Nigerian writer, women’s and LGBT activist, and thought leader behind the afrofeminist media blog, Spectra Speaks (, which publishes global news, opinions, and stories about gender, culture, media, and the Diaspora.

She founded Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston), a grassroots organization that creates safe spaces for LGBTQ women of color, including immigrants and the African diaspora. Six years later, she launched the QWOC Media Wire, a national media hub run for and by LGBTQ women of color, in order to strategically address the dearth of voices represented in mainstream media.

Spectra speaks widely on diversity, movement building, and a media as a tool for social change. She’s currently travelling through southern Africa collecting untold stories from women and LGBT communities for an upcoming anthology. Follow her blog at, or her daily musings on Tumblr ( and Twitter @spectraspeaks.

Note: Downloadable press kit coming soon. 


BEEcome BUZZworthy: My Social Media 101 Training Workshop for Passionate People

Here is a sample of a social media 101 workshop I’m offering to Artists, Activists, and Non-Profits (aka “Passionate People”).

Are you a passionate person who is interested in learning how to use social media more effectively, to share your ideas, market your services, advocate for an issue you care about? Are you already sold on the power of social media but struggle with the time-drain of managing multiple profiles?

BEEcome BUZZworthy(TM) is a workshop geared towards activists, artists, change makers, and/or anyone who is interestd in learning how to use social media to impact social change, as well as gain access to resources beyond their immediate networks. My own personal passion stems from my work in the philanthropy, media, and art sectors. However, this workshop will be helpful to anyone who wishes to increase their influence online in order to increase their influence offline; whether you’re looking to better advocate for an issue you care about, run a fundraising campaign, market a valuable service, or build a network around a shared interest, social media is for you.



Social Media 101 for Artists, Activists, and Non-Profits 

Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, Oh My! There’s so much BUZZ about social media these days and it seems everyone’s catching on. But perhaps there’s too much buzz coming from too few BEES. How to make sense of all that noise coming from the HIVE? Who can tell us where to find the HONEY?

Did that make sense to you? Probably not. It was a silly analogy. But it got your attention, didn’t it? :)

Hi, I’m Spectra. And I’m here to tell you how you can use of social media to… well, make sense to other queen bees (including to yourself) when “buzzing” in the virtual world that has fast become an intrinsic part of our lives.

My approach is simple: social media is socializing, in a very big room.

If you’ve ever attended a networking event, made a new friend, hosted a party, or applied for a job, trust me, you already know how to introduce yourself, build relationships, maintain them, and subtly boast about how interesting, talented, and all-round awesome you are without appearing to be doing that at all. (It’s okay, we all do it, there’s nothing to be ashamed about). In the real world, we build relationships, then tap into their value, all the time. 

So here’s the secret to doing it online: it’s no different.

Yup. The same rules apply. So, if you’re personable in real life, chances are using social media to build relationships online will come naturally to you. Whether you’re an independent artist who’s trying to get people to support their work, a small business owner who could use some more visibility, a new social impact organization interested in spreading their message to potential supporters/members, social media is for you. Moreoever, whether you access the web through your school library, internet cafe, laptop, or your mobile phone, social media offers free, do-it-yourself tools to connect with people who should be connected to you.

But in a room full of BUZZING BEES (oh! there goes that analogy again), it can be difficult to hear yourself, or anyone else for that matter. However, it’s absolutely crucial that we find a way. 

Think of it this way: You have really important ideas to share, products and services that people actually really need. But what good can you really do in the world if no one knows who you are or what you’re about? The world needs you. Yes, it’s true, you and your own unique brand of honey could make the world a better place. No doubt about it. 

Yet, it is also true that social media can be time-consuming, and so many of you are already so busy. So many of you may think, “I get it. I know social media is important. But how do I find the time?”, or “Why would anyone listen to me? I’m just a ___”, or my personal favorite, “Does any of this really make a difference?” But don’t worry, you’re not alone! This is where I come in! (See, I finally landed on my point). 

Attend this workshop, and I’ll show you how to BECOME THE BEE THAT OWNS THE HONEY.

It’s my job to make sure that you’re both seen and heard by the people that matter to you, by the people that need you. This hands-on workshop is structured such that each person maps out their own strategy over the course of the session, and has time to address their own specific needs.

What You Will Learn

  • Why social media should be an integral part of your awareness-building strategy
  • How to build your brand/identity/vision into your social media strategy
  • Tips and tricks for online engagement (e.g. “How to Boast without Sounding Boastful)
  • Tools and resources for efficient automation and time-management (e.g. scheduling content ahead of time, “bucketing” ideas for future use, etc) 

I’m Sold! Show Me the Honey! 

If you’re interested in joining the swarm of regular every day people who are using social media to make a positive impact in their workplace, communities, the world, don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss booking a 4-hr workshop for your organization, group of colleagues or friends, or arrange one-on-one consultation services (1-hr calls, once a week, for a month). Rates are negotiable. 

Please note: Basic internet savvy is required of all attendees. Projector screen and PC laptop hook up for interactive presentation required. U-shape conference seating arrangement is ideal, but classroom, lecture, or informal lounge seating can also work. At least one wired internet connection is required, but a venue with high-speed wi-fi is preferred. Minimum of 6 attendees required to schedule a group workshop.

Click here to schedule a workshop!

Decisions, Decisions: Group Workshop vs. Individual Consulting Sessions

If you’re already familiar with social media and are seeking support for a specific project (e.g. fun a fixed period online fundraising campaign, increasing Facebook Page engagement, etc), then I recommend the one-on-one consulting sessions. I would also recommend the one-on-one sessions for busy professionals/activists who already have a platform (i.e. executive directors of non-profits, activists who blog etc) and would like to promote their thought leadership more strategically. Again, we would treat these goals as specific projects in order to jumpstart their progress. Additional sessions may be purchased as-needed. 

Conversely, group workshops are ideal for people who have familiarity with social media but are not yet sure how they can use it to their advantage. As I’d like to say, they haven’t yet identified their “honey” or what makes them unique and buzzworthy. The workshop is intended to help people identify (and articulate) their value within their niche or community, and map out a strategy for garnering support, improving their engagement, and increasing their influence. To that end, learning about social media in a group format — in addition to drawing from the experiences of multiple people — provides an instant support network via which you can continue practicing.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to BEEcome BUZZworthy? If so, I encourage you to schedule a workshop or consulting session with me. I look forward to hearing from you.


As I’m constantly creating new workshops and training modules to better support every day people whose voices should be reflected in the media, your stories (of successes and challenges) are an essential part of learning how we — as passionate people — can better make ourselves heard. So, please share your experiences with social media in the comments below.

Are you a passionate person who is interested in learning how to use social media more effectively, to share your ideas, market your services, advocate for an issue you care about? What areas of using social media do you struggle with? What has been helpful to you? What has been the most challenging?

New Narratives, New Voices: Why I Hate the Word Diversity

I am so excited about this new workshop I’ve designed to highlight new narratives and redefine “diversity”! I’ll be presenting it at the Join the Impact conference this weekend, so if you’re in Boston, register to attend and check out my session!

Thoughts That Came to Me As I Designed This Workshop:

As a bicultural Nigerian, I identify very strongly with the African immigrant experience and obsess about not doing enough for my parents at home.

On American soil, I wear my afrofeminist label proudly, and fight with words alongside other feminists to raise women’s voices on the web (and the page, very soon).

As a queer community organizer, I advocate for the increased visibility of people of color within the LGBT movement (so that it doesn’t get reduced to the current conversation about “black community and black churches”).

To say that I wear “many hats” is an understatement. But in my fight for “diversity”, I’ve often found myself pigeon-holed into choosing one fight — the “people of color” fight — over others (sexism, immigration etc), and losing critical ground on those other fronts as a result.

I am often asked (however inadvertently) by white organizers to compartmentalize my anger, and then intellectualize it (read: “present at conference”, since diversity has become synonymous with choosing one or two issues to orate about). So, when I was casually invited to present on the “(Lack of) Inclusion of People of Color in the LGBT Movement”, I found myself thinking of the many swords I carry, and wishing that I could hold them all in front of me with  both arms, heavy and close to my heart, so that people could see how wearisome fighting for and against  the intersecting communities I belong to can be. It’s not so easy; I often imagine myself crouched defensively in the center of a circle lined by all the isms, privileges, and human rights violations I face — homophobia, racism, americanism, sexism, feminism, transphobia;  blunt and shining swords lay scattered in the dusty ground around me from switching blades and direction too quickly in concurrent battles for social justice, and sometimes, for survival.

But in my ideal world, I would fight for one kind of justice — and for many — with the same sword. I am tired of having to choose which parts of my identity to include or exclude from my rants. So, in response to the invitation, I decided to design a session that explored this new idea: What is Diversity? And how can we redefine it in the context of a younger, multinational, pro-feminist, and trans-positive movement?

Currently, the “LGBT movement” sounds like the white gay man marriage fight (supported by a smart troop of butch white women). The Q is left out. The I is left out, and inquiring about other letters begets played out, trivializing “alphabet” jokes instead of a sincere commitment to make sure everyone get the invitation next time.

“People of color” narratives often focus on the African-American experience and ignore the complexities of the immigrant subset (Latin@s, Africans, Asians etc ) — and let’s not even talk about non-immigrant Native Americans). As a person of color myself I’m often called upon to present comprehensive solutions to this problem (or “facilitate dialogue” about “people of color issues”), as if all people of color were berated equal; I’m Nigerian/African, and quite honestly, I can’t always relate to the black people in this country.

Feminist perspectives often carelessly leave out women of color, though they’re often able (and encouraged) to intellectualize this popular snafu and re-present well-articulated, buzz-word-filled theses about “gender” and “sexuality” to eager auditoriums across the country. Have you attended a Women’s Studies seminar, panel, or conference session lately? I have — and it’s very scary to hear decisions being made, leaders being influenced, and demonstrations being organized in the absence of (all but 2 or 3) women of color.

Radical lesbian feminists (yeah, they deserve a separate title) tend to be a little bit more diversity-conscious and inclusive of women of color (who also claim that title) but side-stepping the ageism that exists within their version of the movement is no easy feat. I was just at Stonewall Communities “Sex and Gender in the City” inter-generational conference, and I remember feeling like I’d been tricked into attending a roast for young people. Every other joke demeaned, devalued, and discredited the work of millennial social activists because apparently we haven’t been beaten or bled enough — and all we do is invent new labels or throw parties. If I’m not yet qualified to speak to (not for) the various experience(s) of queers in my generation then who the hell is?

And don’t get me started with the sexism that is rampant among gay men. Across every social justice issue I care about, there are people who advocate for the inclusion of people of color, but I’m never as chronically overwhelmed by sexism and male privilege as I am within my fight for diversity within the queer community. In my hetero/femme days, white gay men thought I was “fabulous”, bought me martinis, and invited me to their condos for dinner. That changed the instant I went futch. Now, unless I’m introduced by someone from the inner circle, I remain completely invisible.

Meanwhile, the alternative is mother-managing egotistical turf wars between POC-run organizations over whose “good” is “best” “for the community” so that we can at least pretend to these white people that we all play nice (or know each other) and “collaborate”, while behind-the-scenes (and sometimes in public), we’re fighting each other with armor, creating a meaningless number of snazzy acronym-ed programs, reinventing the wheel because we won’t work together, and squabbling for the same seats at the conference table.

And to top it all off, everyone mentioned in the last five paragraphs is failing miserably at even noticing that trans and intersex people — arguably the most ignored/marginalized of us all — are being completely left out of the picture! Aaaaagh!

[… a zen moment of silence.]

The session I’ve designed for the conference is an attempt to bring different voices together, and will explore what it means to define diversity by the narrow lines of “inclusion” or “exclusion”.

As part of a fishbowl conversation, local organizers and allies to communities of color will share their perspectives on the LGBT movement, the role of diversity (or lack of it) and the perceived effects of augmenting / silencing different voices. The fishbowl will be followed by a brief Q&A and open brainstorm around how we can move forward from the popular, yet very narrow discussions of inclusion/exclusion that exist within the LGBT movement.

Diversity is a dynamic collection of perspectives; it is an ideology, a concept, not a quantifiable attribute… or at least it shouldn’t be. To apply diversity (vs. coasting along using it as a buzzword), we MUST recognize that truly including people — as whole beings — implies that we don’t just acknowledge, but address ALL parts of their unique identities, and empower them to fight for all movements to which they belong, because in doing so, we empower the only movement that matters: the human one.

I hope to see you at the session.

Session 4 (3:30PM – 4:45PM)

A Fishbowl Discussion and Workshop Featuring the Big Fish below:

is a Nigerian immigrant afrofeminist queer woman of color, media activist and social commentator at Spectra Speaks, a self-proclaimed “iQWOC”, and the founder of Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston)

ANA CHAVEZ is native to Miami by way of Providence, an Ecuadorian queer woman of color and youth arts educator, and the founder and recipient of the RISD Diversity Awards

CARNELL FREEMAN is a local Bostonian, a gay black professional in finance and HR recruiting, an experienced Connecter and the founder of Men of Color Creating Change (MOCCC)

is a fierce queer femme Puertominican nacionalista, a poet by the name of Idalia, who has a 9-5 fighting for cultural competency around latin@ issues in the corporatized health industry

BONAE L’AMOUR (AKA BAO) is an Asian American queer-identified transguy from New Orleans, a photographer with a consistent blog, and the founder of MAGLOA – a safe haven for academically gifted public school students in Boston

ROBBIE SAMUELS a white, queer, feminist, trans man with extensive community organizing, event logistics and fundraising experience, and the founder of Socializing for Justice, a cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston

Organized by: Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) –

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