Author Dr. Kinitra Brooks discusses how Beyoncé embodies the conjure woman

Friday, January 31, 2020
Written by: Mark Richardson

Dr. Kinitra Brooks, co-author of  The Lemonade Reader: Beyoncé, Black Feminism and Spirituality, spoke at Seminole State College of Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 29, as part of the College’s ongoing Speaker Series in partnership with the 31st Annual Zora Neale Hurston™ Festival of the Arts and Humanities (ZORA!™ Festival).

Dr. Brooks is the Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University and specializes in the study of black women, genre fiction and popular culture.

In her presentation, Dr. Brooks discussed how Beyoncé embodies the conjure woman in her iconic audiovisual work Lemonade as a contemporary revision of Zora Neale Hurston’s groundbreaking study of conjure and its place in black women’s spirit work.   

“A lot of us were interested in these things, but suddenly Beyoncé walked into our wheelhouse and people wanted to have conversations they haven’t had in a very long time, and this is the power of pop culture,” said Brooks. She added that Lemonade would not have been possible without the influences of  Josephine Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Ross, and Janet Jackson. 

Dr. Brooks urged everyone to continue to push Hurston’s legacy of conjure forward as Beyoncé did, and bring attention to the lives of black women and their experiences.

Dr. Brooks has two other books in print: Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror, a critical treatment of black women in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and Sycorax’s Daughters, an edited volume of short horror fiction written by black women. 

The free event was followed by a reception and book signing. 

About Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.  #SSC #GoStateGoFar