Author Interaction with Renée Watson and Ilyasah Shabazz

Dr. Ilyasah Shabazz is an award-winning Author, Educator and Producer.

She has authored five historical novels, has served as project advisor for the PBS award-winning film, Prince Among Slaves, and is currently producing a television series based on her latest two publications, X: a Novel and The Awakening of Malcolm X, with Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar.

She is Co-Chairperson of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center (The Shabazz Center). In her work to preserve the legacy of her parents, she has dedicated herself to institution-building and intergenerational leadership development with the tenants of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Shabazz has furthered her community impact with the City University of New York’s Office of Academic Affairs, where she created a curriculum to encourage higher education for underserved, inner-city, high school dropouts. She has worked with the Office of the Mayor in Mount Vernon, as Director of Public Affairs & Special Events. She founded and produced a young adult development program to provide historical context on social justice—encouraging personal empowerment and community service as a way of life. As president and founder of Ilyasah Shabazz Enterprises, she produces a variety of forums dedicated to power, possibility and sovereignty.

In recognition of her outstanding achievements in Public Service, Education, and The Arts—Worcester State University conferred Ilyasah Shabazz with a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Dr. Shabazz is a member of the Soar Higher Cabinet Committee for SUNY @ New Paltz College; a member of the Advisory Council for the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition; a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc; and she serves as a Trustee for the Harlem Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Shabazz holds a Master of Science in Education & Human Resource Development from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from SUNY New Paltz. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where she teaches Perspectives on Justice in the Africana World. Grounded in the commitments of her parents, Dr. Shabazz emphasizes empowerment and inclusion in her teaching and scholarship. For further information, please visit and/or 

Renée Watson is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her poetry and fiction often center around the experiences of black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renée served as Founder and Executive Director of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, from 2016-2019. Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon, and splits her time between Portland and New York City.

Author Info

Renée Watson
Ilyasah Shabazz