Emma Dabiri is an
Irish-Nigerian broadcaster, historian and best-selling author.
Emma’s latest documentary Hair Power: Me and My Afro (Channel 4) asked some of the most important questions facing the Black British population – and how it is that hair became one of the most misunderstood, celebrated and debated aspects of the black experience. The documentary went on to win a Cannes Lion Silver award in the Entertainment Category.
Emma co-presents Britain’s Lost Masterpieces on BBC 4. She presented Virtually History on YouTube Originals, Back in Time for Brixton and the Back in Time Confectioners series (BBC Two), Is Love Racist? (Channel 4) and has made several social history films for The One Show (BBC). She’s appeared on Newsnight (BBC2), Have I Got News for You (BBC2), Jeremy Vine (Channel 5), Book Tube (YouTube) and Mel B’s special edition of Steph’s Packed Lunch for C4’s Black to Front day.
On radio she has hosted BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review and Front Row. Emma has authored a landmark Radio 4 documentary, Journeys in Afrofuturism as well as EXPOSED: Young Female Photographers which explores the work of three exciting emerging photographers.
Emma’s latest book ‘What White People Can Do Next. From Allyship to Coalition’ released in April 2021 was an immediate Times and Sunday Times bestseller. WWPCDN is a clever deconstruction of the mainstream conversation around anti-racism. This is not a ‘how to’ guide. Rather, this collection of essays urges us to root our understanding of race in the multiple and complex histories of class, capitalism, and colonialism. It follows on from her debut work ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ which was an Irish Times Bestseller. DTMH also inspired a national conversation about race and hair and has led to changing regulations in schools and in the British army. Both are available now, published by Penguin, Allen Lane.
Emma was on the judging panel for the Merky Books New Writers’ Prize 2020-2021 founded by Stormzy which aims to discover unpublished, under-represented writers aged 16-30 from the UK and Ireland. She is a trustee of Hugh Lane Gallery and a member of the British Council’s New Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group.
During lockdown in spring 2020 Emma founded Disobedient Bodies, a virtual space and book club that celebrates and encourages disobedience. She has interviewed women like Booker Prize nominee Kiley Reid and American Irish Dance sensation Morgan Bullock.
Emma’s interdisciplinary work crosses African Studies, art, sociology, history, film, literature, theatre, popular culture and music. She is a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS and a Visual Sociology PhD researcher at Goldsmiths. Emma is also a seasoned public speaker and has been invited to present her work at a wide range of cultural institutions from Tate Britain, to the British Museum, to Oxford University, St Andrews and Yale.
Emma gives regular talks and takes part on panels at festivals and arts venues and hosts a range of live events.