Melvin Williams

Melvin Williams

Associate Professor
Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
Communication and Media Studies
| Office Hours: Tue 3:30pm-5:30pm,Thu 3:30pm-4:30pm


Personal Quote

"It is axiomatic that if we do not define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others - for their use and to our detriment."
- Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Faculty Bio

An award-winning, communication scholar, my research examines the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in popular culture. Specifically, I consider the political ramifications of popular culture to investigate how minority communities use its mediums to address disparaging media representations. My research has been published in peer-reviewed, books and journals, including Celebrity Studies; Feminist Theory and Pop Culture; Howard Journal of Communications; Journal of Sports Media; Race, Gender, and Class: The Journal; Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men; The Journal of Hip-Hop Studies; and Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture. Also, I am a cultural commentator and public writer, offering critical analyses of Hip-Hop, LGBTQ politics, and popular culture for media outlets such as Associated Press, Huffington Post, NBCLX, NBC Universal, Newsweek, NPR, USA Today, and The Washington Post. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, I received my doctorate in communication, culture, and media studies and a graduate certificate in women’s studies from Howard University, as well as bachelor and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University.

Awards and Honors

  • National Communication Association, 2020, African American Culture and Communication Division and Black Caucus Outstanding Journal Article Award
  • Tennessee State University Young Alumni Network, 2019, Tennessee State University "40 Under Forty" 2019 Honoree
  • Dr. Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, 2014, Inductee


Graduate Certificate, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, 2015
Women's Studies

PhD, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, 2015
Communication, Culture, and Media Studies

Continuing Education Certificate, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 2013
Science of Sex and Gender

MS, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee, 2012
Educational Administration and Supervision

BS, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010

Research and Creative Works

Research Interest

African-American Representations in Popular Culture; Black Female Celebrity Representations in Feminist Media Culture; Black Masculinity Studies; Black Queer Studies; Celebrity Death Culture; Feminist Media Studies; Hip-Hop Feminist Politics; Minority Cultural Production on Social Media; Popular Culture; Queer Online Political Communication; Social Media and Social Change; Sport Communication

Courses Taught

Past Courses

CMS 245: Commctn and Popular Culture
CMS 291: Sport Communication & Culture
CMS 292: Hip-Hop Feminism and the Media
CMS 393: Internship Program I
CMS 394: Internship Program II
COM 200: Public Speaking
COM 393: Internship Program l
COM 394: Internship Program II
COS 213: Intercultural Communication
COS 245: Commctn and Popular Culture
COS 296: Hip-Hop Feminism and the Media
COS 296: Topics: Sport Comm & Cltr
COS 311: Ethics, Morality & The Media
COS 393: Internship Program l
COS 394: Internship Program II
FSS 275: Race and Representation
UNV 101: First-Year Smnr Unvrsty Cmmnty

Publications and Presentations


Hip Hop’s White House Guest: Jack Harlow and White Rap Authenticating Strategies
Williams, M. L. & Huertas , M. (2023). Rebecca Lind, Ph.D. (Eds.), .

For the Dead Homie: Black Men Rappers, Homicide Survivorship Bereavement, and the Rap Tribute of Nipsey Hussle
Williams, M. L., Winley, J. K. & Causey, J. A. (2022). Journal of Hip-Hop Studies. Vol 8 (Issue 1)

Social Media's Commodified, Transgender Ambassador: Caitlyn Jenner, Celebrity Activism, and Social Media
Williams, M. L. (2022). Celebrity Studies. , pages 20.

Black Women Rap Battles: A Textual Analysis of U.S. Rap Diss Songs
Tyree, T. C. & Williams, M. L. (2021). Women and Music: A Journal on Gender and Culture. Vol 25

Williams, M. L. (2020). Debra Merskin (Eds.), Thousand Oaks, CA :Sage Publications, Inc..

“Meditate, Don’t Medicate!” An Analysis of Addict Rap, Black Men’s Social Issues, and J. Cole’s K.O.D. Album
Williams, M. L. (2020). Howard Journal of Communications.

"My Job is to Be a Bad Bitch!" Locating Women of Color in Postfeminist Media Culture on Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta
Williams, M. L. (2016). "My Job is to Be a Bad Bitch!" Locating Women of Color in Postfeminist Media Culture on Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta.Race, Gender, and Class Journal~~. . Vol 23 (Issue 3-4) , pages 68-88.

"The "Un-Quiet Queen:" An Analysis of Rapper Nicki Minaj in the Fame Comic Book
Williams, M. L. & Tyree, T. C. (2015). Adrienne Trier-Bieniek (Eds.), , The Netherlands:Sense Publishers. , pages 65-76.

My Hair is "Layed" like Cyberqueer: Video Blogging, Computer Cross-Dressing, and the Curious Case of Funky Dineva
Williams, M. L., Tyree, T. C. & Lewis, M. (2015). My Hair is "Layed" like Cyberqueer: Video Blogging, Computer Cross-Dressing, and the Curious Case of Funky Dineva.Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men~~. . Vol 3 (Issue 2) , pages 99-122.

Black Man Interrupted: The Impact of HBCU Brotherhood
Williams, M. L. (2014). Christopher D. Carthcart and Tia C. M. Tyree (Eds.), Bloomington, IN :Xlibris Publishing.


Social Media's Commoditized Transgender Ambassador: Caitlyn Jenner, Twitter, and Transgender Digital Activism
Williams, M. L. (2021). Kimposium: The Sequel . Brunel University London ,

"Meditate, Don't Medicate: An Analysis of Addict Rap, Black Men's Social Issues, and J. Cole's K.O.D. Album"
Williams, M. L. (2019). National Communication Association Annual Convention. National Communication Association ,

Professional Contributions and Service

Professional Memberships

  • North American Society for the Sociology of Sport
  • Popular Culture Association - American Culture Association
  • National Communication Association

Related News and Stories

In the Media

Dyson Professor Melvin Williams provides insights to USA Today relating to stories about Gypsy Rose, who pled guilty to second-degree murder in 2016 after conspiring with her then-boyfriend Nick Godejohn to kill her mother.

"The curiosity fades hastily as algorithm-influenced digital publics move on to the next trending story, and Gypsy's transitory celebrity span fails to sustain interest," says Melvin Williams, associate professor of communication and media studies at Pace University.