H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, PhD., M.Ed. known as Dr. Herukhuti is a cultural studies scholar, sex researcher-educator, systems theorist, cultural worker (e.g., playwright, poet, and performance artist) and interdisciplinary sociocultural scientist whose work operates at the intersection of race, culture, sexuality and spirituality. He draws upon the arts, social sciences, performance studies, and cultural studies in his research—using a variety of methods including narrative/storytelling, autoethnography, close readings of media, literary criticism, Theatre of the Oppressed, oral history interviewing and critical theory.
A practitioner of tai chi chuan, chi kung, hatha yoga, and pranayama since the age of 14, Dr. Herukhuti has taught wellness and embodied health practices for decades. He is a past recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health-funded graduate research assistantship, which allowed him to receive training in sex research, HIV prevention research, and socio-clinical research methodology at the HIV Center for Clinical Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
In September 2013, as a member of a group of bisexual researchers, leaders and activists invited to a bisexual community issues and public policy roundtable at the White House, Dr. Herukhuti co-presented on the topic of HIV and bisexuals. In 2015, he was a co-organizer of a similar event at the White House and co-author of a set of public policy briefs prepared for the event. Dr. Herukhuti is also a human rights and social justice activist who has participated in the decolonization movement and intersectional politics for three decades. In addition to his grassroots activism, he has been an organizer including as co-founder and the inaugural co-chair of Global Youth Connect, an international human rights organization for youth.
A poet, playwright, performance artist and stage director; two of his plays have been performed at the New York International Fringe Theatre Festival. He studied with renowned Brazilian theater director Augusto Boal, The Theatre of the Oppressed Laboratory and the Creative Arts Team in Theatre of the Oppressed. He has performed at the Bowery Poetry Cafe and, world famous spoken word incubator, Brooklyn Moon Cafe. In 2014, he participated in an historic gathering of scholars and artists for a summer institute focused on the advancement of Black aesthetics and African-centered creative expressions and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the writer of several stage plays including “My Brother’s a Keeper.”
Dr. Herukhuti, author of the book Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality, Volume I (Vintage Entity Press), holds a PhD and MA in human and organizational systems with a concentration in transformative learning for social justice and specializations in sexuality and cross-cultural studies of knowledge as well as a graduate degree in education and degrees in psychology and political science. His work has been published in various academic and popular contexts including:
- Journal of Bisexuality,
- Tamara Journal for Critical Organizational Inquiry,
- African Voices,
- Griots Republic
- The Critical Flame,
- The Bilerico Project
- Huffington Post
- LGBT Health Link
- Bi Magazine
- ARISE Magazine,
- Ma-Ka Diasporic Juks: Contemporary Writings by Queers of African Descent,
- Black Genders and Sexualities, and
- Emerge: 2015 Lambda Fellows Anthology.
He is the award-winning co-editor of the Lambda Literary Award nonfiction finalist anthology and Bisexual Book Awards nonfiction and anthology winner Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men (Bisexual Resource Center) and Sexuality, Religion and the Sacred: Bisexual, Pansexual and Polysexual Perspectives (Routledge).
A member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Bisexuality–co-editor of the journal’s special double issue on spirituality–and the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships, he has written about and lectured on bisexuality particularly among people of African descent. Dr. Herukhuti has been a Congressional Black Caucus Scholar, Bisexual Book Awards Writer of the Year, Brenda Howard Memorial Awardee, Thought Leader for the Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians, Camp Pride Educator-in-Residence, and Lambda Literary Foundation Playwriting Fellow.
He has taught at New York University, School of the Future, Young Adult Learning Academy, and Fielding Graduate University. He is currently a faculty member in the undergraduate programs of Goddard College and the graduate program in applied theatre in the School of Professional Studies at City University of New York (CUNY). He is also a fellow in the Third World Newsreel Video Production Workshop and a member of the Black Playwrights Group of the Liberation Theatre Company.
Dr. Herukhuti has appeared on radio, television, and web venues including HuffPo Live and NewsOne Now on TVOne with Roland Martin.