Tamara Winfrey-Harris

Acclaimed Writer

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • An Evening with Tamara Winfrey-Harris


“Winfrey Harris’s unapologetic celebration of Black women’s intelligence, mettle, and beauty counters the proliferation of negative stereotypes we endure daily. She sees us, she knows us, and she also understands that we’re not monolithic. Winfrey Harris surfaces stories about black women’s realities that are often glossed over or tossed aside, urgently insisting with beautiful prose that contrary to our cultural narrative, Black women’s lives matter.” –Jamia Wilson

“Tamara Winfrey-Harris asserts that Black women are diamonds, and she insists that her reader consider their sparkle.” –Duchess Harris

“Half myth-buster, half crusader and all the way fed up.” –Washington Post

Tamara Winfrey-Harris is a writer who specializes in the ever-evolving space where current events, politics, and pop culture intersect with race and gender. About her writing, she says, “I want to tell the stories of Black women and girls, and deliver the truth to all those folks who got us twisted—tangled up in racist and sexist lies. I want my writing to advocate for my sisters. We are better than alright. We are amazing.”

Winfrey-Harris’ first book, The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2015), was called “a myth-busting portrait of Black women in America” by The Washington Post. The book won the Phillis Wheatley Award, IndieFab Award, Independent Publishers Living Now Award and the IPPY Award. Her second book, Dear Black Girl: Letters From Your Sisters On Stepping Into Your Power (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2021), is born from her Letters to Black Girls project, where she asked black women to write honest, open, and inspiring letters of support to young black girls aged thirteen to twenty-one. Her call went viral, resulting in a hundred personal letters from black women around the globe that cover topics such as identity, self-love, parents, violence, grief, mental health, sex, and sexuality. The book organizes a selection of these letters, providing “a balm for the wounds of anti-black-girlness” and modeling how black women can nurture future generations.

Well-versed on a range of topics, including Beyoncé’s feminism; Rachel Dolezal’s white privilege; and the Black church and female sexuality, Winfrey-Harris’ writing can be found in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. Her essays have also been anthologized in The Lemonade Reader: Beyonce, Black Feminism and Spirituality (Routledge, 2019); The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery (Wayne State University Press, 2018); Black in the Middle: An Anthology of the Black Midwest (Black Belt Publishing, 2020); and others.

Winfrey-Harris is the co-founder of Centering Sisters, LLC, an organization that unapologetically addresses the needs and issues of Black women, girls, and femmes.

She graduated with a BA degree from the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University, and is a native of Gary, IN.

Tamara Winfrey-Harris’ Website


Tamara Winfrey-Harris is a writer who specializes in the ever-evolving space where current events, politics, and pop culture intersect with race and gender. She is the author of Dear Black Girl and The Sister Are Alright. Winfrey-Harris’ writing can be found in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. Her essays have also been anthologized in The Lemonade Reader: Beyonce, Black Feminism and Spirituality (Routledge, 2019); The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery (Wayne State University Press, 2018); Black in the Middle: An Anthology of the Black Midwest (Black Belt Publishing, 2020); and others. Winfrey-Harris graduated with a BA degree from the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University, and is a native of Gary, IN.


DEAR BLACK GIRL (Essays, 2021)

 A valuable combination of encouragement, empowerment, and instruction.
—Kirkus Reviews

“Dear Dope Black Girl, You don’t know me, but I know you. I know you because I am you! We are magic, light, and stars in the universe.” So begins a letter that Tamara Winfrey Harris received as part of her Letters to Black Girls project, where she asked black women to write honest, open, and inspiring letters of support to young black girls aged thirteen to twenty-one. Her call went viral, resulting in a hundred personal letters from black women around the globe that cover topics such as identity, self-love, parents, violence, grief, mental health, sex, and sexuality. In Dear Black Girl, Winfrey Harris organizes a selection of these letters, providing “a balm for the wounds of anti-black-girlness” and modeling how black women can nurture future generations. Each chapter ends with a prompt encouraging girls to write a letter to themselves, teaching the art of self-love and self-nurturing. Winfrey Harris’s The Sisters Are Alright explores how black women must often fight and stumble their way into alrightness after adulthood. Dear Black Girl continues this work by delivering pro-black, feminist, LGBTQ+ positive, and body positive messages for black women-to-be–and for the girl who still lives inside every black woman who still needs reminding sometimes that she is alright.

THE SISTERS ARE ALRIGHT (Essay, 2015)
The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black-woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves. When African women arrived on American shores, the three-headed hydra—servile Mammy, angry Sapphire, and lascivious Jezebel—followed close behind. In the ’60s, the Matriarch, the willfully unmarried baby machine leeching off the state, joined them. These stereotypes persist to this day through newspaper headlines, Sunday sermons, social media memes, cable punditry, government policies, and hit song lyrics. Emancipation may have happened more than 150 years ago, but America still won’t let a sister be free from this coven of caricatures. Tamara Winfrey Harris delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more, taking sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black women. She counters warped prejudices with the straight-up truth about being a black woman in America. “We have facets like diamonds,” she writes. “The trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling.”


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