About

IMG_2497-3I am including a biography here because that is what people do.  They write bios listing their accomplishments and achievements.  Sometimes, bios make us seem bigger than we are.  The truth is that much of what is my life is not suitable for a bio.  There are things that have happened in the dark or in the early corners of the day.  Things that do not fit into a bio.  My memories. My people.  My passions.  My pain.  My desperation.  My aching desire.  My satisfaction.  My joy.  My love.  My vulnerability.  My perspiration.  The difference between my today and tomorrow.  The difference between my forever and my never.

Still, there are things people who come to the bio page want to know.  Where and if I went to school.  What I do sometimes.  Who I dig.  Where I be.  These things will be in the official biography below.  But, if you want to know my mission or if you are interested in random things about me, click here.

Official Biography

Several years ago, Askhari Johnson Hodari quit school, but she is not a dropout. After seven years as a professor of African American Studies, psychology and women’s studies, (and three years as a special education teacher), she stepped away from the classroom to write full time.  She is the author of two books, Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs (Broadway Press, 2009) and The African Book of Names (Health Communications, 2009).

Hodari earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College and her Ph.D. from Howard University. She writes about a variety of academic and popular culture subjects, such as: prosocial behavior, social action, prejudice, domestic violence, prison systems, chattel slavery and electoral politics. However, she specializes in writing about U.S. Black History, Africana/Black Studies, Black women’s studies, and Black psychology.

Her work is culturally specific in terms of theme and treatment, emphasizing freedom, equity, truth, desire, determination, courage, community, contradiction, justice, respect and release. One of her goals is to record the unfolding of humanity by focusing on people who have been neglected and dismissed- people of color, oppressed people, poor people, children and humble people. Socially conscious writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells, James Baldwin, Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joseph Bruchac, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie and Isabel Allende influence her.

A former journalist, Hodari has written and reported for the Afro-American newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD. Her work has appeared in Essence, Black Issues Book Reviews, Class, Catalyst, Rap Pages, and Urban Profile Magazines. Her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in In the Tradition, Testimony, The Ringing Ear, and Role Call. Hodari is the founder of de Griot Space, an online writing workshop for Afridiasporic writers.

Besides writing, Hodari overdoses on community organizing, sports, sunrises and other things aggressive. Recently, she has given up: looking for money under sofa cushions, and trying to save the world. Now, when she is not practicing the Four Agreements, she picks sunflowers, grows lemons, counts butterflies, watches 24 reruns, listens to Sweet Honey in the Rock, Nina Simone, Prince, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and plays Taboo, Canasta and Spades.

Hodari regularly studies and travels the African diaspora, having visited countries in South America, the Carribean and Africa. Her family is from Marion, South Carolina, and she was raised in Montgomery County, Maryland. She now lives in the “magic city” of Birmingham, Alabama- a home of the successful struggle for civil and human rights.

Recently, Hodari began teaching again and is currently working on a book of African folktales and a book of devotionals emphasizing Black women. She is looking forward to visiting each country in Africa.  More essentially, she is working to be on purpose.

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