H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams, PhD, MEd, known as Dr. Herukhuti, is a cultural studies scholar, sex researcher-educator, systems theorist, cultural worker (i.e., filmmaker, playwright, poet, and performance artist), interdisciplinary sociocultural scientist, and hem netcher tepi (priest-conjurer-healer in the Kemetic/Ancient Egyptian tradition) whose work operates at the intersection of race, culture, sexuality and spirituality. They are of Akan and Lissongo genetic ancestry. A bodeme (community healer and peacemaker in the Dagara tradition), Dr. Herukhuti uses a mix of pronouns. She 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. They are a past recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health-funded graduate research assistantship, which allowed them 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 and that provided the basis for Invisible Majority: The Disparities Facing Bisexual People and How to Remedy Them. 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 her grassroots activism, she 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
- Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships
- 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
- Emerge: 2015 Lambda Fellows Anthology
- Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative
They are 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, they have 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, Lambda Literary Foundation Playwriting Fellow, a fellow in the Third World Newsreel Video Production Workshop and a member of the Black Playwrights Group of the Liberation Theatre Company.
He has taught at New York University, School of the Future, Young Adult Learning Academy, Fielding Graduate University, and Pratt Institute. He is currently a core faculty member in socially engaged arts and interdisciplinary studies at Goddard College and the graduate program in applied theatre in the School of Professional Studies at City University of New York (CUNY). At Goddard College, he co-founded the world’s first decolonial sexuality studies program dedicated to re-indigenizing and decolonizing sexuality and challenging the whiteness and Eurocentricity of the field.
Dr. Herukhuti reads the formal and informal processes within institutions, the dynamics of teams, and the politics of groups and assesses people’s ability to function at their best, feel good about their work, and support a diverse workplace environment. She offers clients the opportunity to engage in transformative learning as a path to envision the future, embrace change, overcome challenges, heal breaches, and create environments of social/ecological justice. Dr. Herukhuti integrates theory, methods, and solutions in human development and consciousness, organization studies, adult education, cultural studies, and systems thinking from around the world to provide an integral approach that works on multiple levels: micro/macro, individual/collective, interpersonal/systemic, and vertical/horizontal.
Dr. Herukhuti is a masterful facilitator with twenty-two years of experience. His presence is a profound and powerful invitation to co-create a space of critical reflection, deep meaning, creativity, focus, and engagement. Dr. Herukhuti is a superb observer and communicator. He is able to perceive even the subtlest forces that greatly affect environments and communicate important truths about those forces in ways that are understandable and actionable. Dr. Herukhuti is an excellent coach and counselor who encourages growth and learning. Dr. Herukhuti is also a scholar-practitioner with a theoretical background in organizations, social systems, and change as well as a practical background as a professional.
Dr. Herukhuti has appeared on radio, television, and web venues including HuffPo Live and NewsOne Now on TVOne with Roland Martin.