...Author, journalist, expert on African American history and contemporary American culture
Ronda Racha Penrice, a native of Chicago, has a lifelong interest in African American history and culture. Her first book, African American History for DUMMIES (Wiley Publishing, 2007) is an extensive look at a complex subject that is both a historical and cultural overview.
Ronda has been very active in promoting her book and its subject for public consumption. She has made appearances at the Authors Pavilion, Annual Legislative Conference, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (Washington, D.C., 2007 & 2008); Essence Music Festival Book Emporium (New Orleans, 2008); National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta, 2008), V103’s For Sisters Only (Atlanta, 2007) and other major events.
She contributed an essay, “AIDS in the Black Community and Me” to Not In My Family, the groundbreaking anthology edited by Gil Robertson IV which also includes essays by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, original Dreamgirls’ cast member Sheryl Lee Ralph and Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., among others.
She has also been featured on McDonalds 365Black.com discussing the lessons she learned as a teenager working in the late 1980s at a Black-owned and operated McDonald’s in her Chicago neighborhood. BET.com featured a Black History quiz, created by Ronda from her book, on its web site for Black History Month 2008. Essence.com included the book in its 2007 Holiday Gift Guide. Additionally, magazines such as Upscale, Heart & Soul, Rolling Out and Atlanta have covered the book. Ronda also appeared o n the highly rated syndicated radio shows, “The Russ Parr Morning Show” and “The Bev Smith Show”, as well as (CNN correspondent’s) “The Roland S. Martin Show”, among others.
Ronda Racha Penrice has been a contributing editor for The Quarterly Black Review of Books (New York), and an Associate Editor at Rap Pages (Los Angeles) as well as Associate Editor and Editor-At-Large for Upscale (Atlanta). As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in a variety of publications. They include Essence and Essence Online; Nia Online; Creative Loafing (music); Urban Network (music); Africana.com (film/television); AOL Black Voices (weekly television column, “Remote Control”); Upscale (various); Vibe Online; EURWEB.com; Honey; The Source; Jewel; Sheckys.com and OverTime (sports). Currently, her work appears regularly in Uptown (food/lifestyle), EbonyJet.com (television) and Atlanta.Metromix.com (food/music).
She worked as a publicist (June 2000-February 2002) for Roz Stevenson Public Relations in Los Angeles for whom she wrote press releases/pitch letters to newspapers, magazines, radio and television for various film personalities. Ronda also coordinated national ethnic promo opportunities with urban outlets (i.e. clubs, restaurants, networking events). Her stand-out projects including The Nutty Professor II, Bring It On, Boesman & Lena, the 9th Annual Pan African Film Festival and The Fast and The Furious.
In her “spare time”, Ronda has served as Project Manager for a variety of social events involving major celebrities such as Chris Webber’s Bada Bling Weekend (July 2006 & 2007); Super Bowl (2002-New Orleans and 2006-Detroit); Vibe Music Fest (June 2005-Atlanta); NBA All-Star game (February 2002-Philadelphia) and BESLA VibeSlam (July 2001-Las Vegas).
Ronda Racha Penrice earned a B.A. in English/History from Columbia University in 1993. She also attended New York University in 1994-1995 where she focused on Black popular culture and literature before enrolling in the M.A. program in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, which she attended from 1996-1998.
She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Suggested Speech Topics:
Cultural Foundation: A General Primer in African American Studies
Why is the Hip-Hop Generation at Odds with the Civil Rights Generation?
Pillars of Change: The Civil Rights Movement and the Post Civil Rights Movement
Hip-Hop: Why It Won’t Stop
Hip-Hop Rises in the South?
Hip-Hop and the Rise of African Americans in Contemporary Film and Television
Why African American History Is Central to American History and All Americans
The Role of the Black Media in Covering Young, Black America
Black and Southern in Music and Literature