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Professor Michelle Ferrier Pens Tribute to People of Color in Space

With the recent death of Chadwick Boseman, the actor known worldwide as T’Challa, King of Wakanda, the Popular Culture Studies Association sought to honor him in their special issue on Black popular culture. Released on September 15, 2020, the cover features artwork by Dr. Michelle Ferrier, a FAMU professor in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. The peer-reviewed journal also features an article by Ferrier on Nichelle Nichols, the actor that played Lieutenant Uhura on the series Star Trek, and Nichols’ impact on recruiting people of color to careers in space (Black Popular Culture Icon Inspires Space, Exploration, and Communication Futures Michelle Ferrier, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 215)

Wakanda Forever

Ferrier started her professional career at NASA and reflects in her journal article on the impact of Black popular culture on her life’s work. Along the way, she turned to journalism, technology and writing to bridge understanding and connect cultures and built a career in cyberspace, building new technologies and spaces for learning and diverse voices.

Ferrier has also been an artist since a young age and recent turned back to painting to memorialize the worldwide civil unrest and protests surrounding Black Lives Matter. Her artwork contains references to popular culture, news and historical representations of Black culture and life.

“I’m capturing the pain, fear and betrayal of African-American citizens by racism and structural inequality. I’ve used my canvas and paint to memorialize the Black people who have been killed by police brutality, Ferrier said. Her protest paintings often juxtapose past and present using black-and-white and color bringing the history of civil rights and its leaders to the present movement.

“I’ve never painted on deadline or commercially, so this was a new experience for me,” said Ferrier. She started “Wakanda Forever” the weekend of Boseman’s death and finished it just in time for the journal release. “It helps to leave all those emotions on the canvas,” Ferrier said. “Painting has been a way to work through my grief at these senseless deaths and lives lost. I’ve painted my family, students and friends into the faces of the protesters, because we will continue to fight for justice…by any means necessary.”

Michelle Ferrier shares her art life on Instagram: @michelleferrier

LINK to journal: here.