April 11, 2018

Ijeoma Oluo, a Seattle-based writer, dynamic speaker and “Internet Yeller,” will give the keynote address at the June 7 graduation ceremony for the School of Social Work.

Earlier this year, Oluo published the book, “So You Want to Talk about Race” and her “no-holds-barred” writing style received outstanding reviews. In its "New & Noteworthy" column, The New York Times noted how the book takes on “the thorniest questions surrounding race, from police brutality to who can use the ‘N’ word.” Harper Bazaar named it to a list of 10 best new books for 2018, saying “Oluo crafts a straightforward guidebook to the nuances of conversations surrounding race in America.”

Her writing has appeared in legacy media, such as The Guardian, Time Magazine, Washington Post and New York Magazine, as well as online news platforms. She wrote for Seattle’s The Stranger from 2015–2017. 

Oluo writes primarily about race and identity, feminism, social and mental health, social justice and the arts. She has been interviewed on the subject of race by the BBC, NPR and CBS Evening News and has spoken at universities, conferences and internet forums. She draws much of her inspiration from black women, including Michelle Alexander, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis and others.

Seattle Met Magazine named Oluo one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle in 2018. She netted a similar honor from Seattle Magazine in 2015, which acknowledged her “incisive wit, remarkable humor and appropriate magnitude of rage.” The citation went on to call Oluo “one of Seattle’s strongest voices for social justice.”

Born in 1980 in Denton, Tex., Oluo’s father is from Nigeria and her mother is from Kansas. Her younger brother is jazz musician Ahamefule J. Oluo.  In 2007, Oalu received a BA in political science from Western Washington University.

The School’s graduation ceremony will take place Thursday, June 7 at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The program runs from 7 – 9:30 p.m.  and includes a welcome, award recognitions and the keynote address, followed by the graduation ceremony. For more details about the upcoming event, visit Graduation 2018.