Loyal Blues Book Club with Evviva

  • Evviva Weintraub Lajoie, Vice Provost for University Libraries.

    Evviva Weintraub Lajoie, Vice Provost for University Libraries

    Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, Vice Provost for University Libraries hosts our virtual book club exclusively for Loyal Blues.

    You’ll have the opportunity to connect with alumni and friends, all while having an expert educator guide you through several books annually.


    Our Winter Book

    Nnedi Okorafor is former UB professor, and an international award-winning New York Times Bestselling novelist of science fiction and fantasy for children and adults. She coined the terms africanfuturism and africanjujuism for her work, and is known for drawing from African cultures to create captivating stories with unforgettable characters and evocative settings.

    Her ground-breaking novella Binti, first published in 2016, won both Nebulla and Hugo awards. In this ground-breaking trilogy, we follow a young and brilliant mathematician from the Himba tribe who leaves home as the first of her people to attend a prestigious intergalactic university. Through her journey, we are able to explore the construction of gender and intricacies of race, as well as examine the concept of "outsider" versus "insider." I look forward to reading this unique and captivating collection with you all.

    How it works

    book cover for Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil.

    There is no cost to participate. Simply purchase a copy of the book and sign up below to receive emails. This title is available as an audiobook, though a variety of vendors as an eBook, and also through the Public Library through Overdrive. If you have trouble finding a copy, just let us know.

    Winter Reading Cycle

    Once you've signed up, you will receive weekly emails to guide you through the reading period, which will run from February 6 until March 5. You can also join our Facebook Forum to discuss the book and post questions.

    Virtual Events

    Afrobeats Artistes as Master Harmonizers: Reflections on Binti and Afrobeats Aesthetics

    February 13, 2024 | 6:00-7:00 p.m.

    About the Lecture:

    Since emerging in the 2010s and gaining global prominence during the COVID lockdowns, Afrobeats, a genre of Nigerian popular music, has ruled the global airwaves by storm. Not only are Afrobeats artistes Grammy-award winning and nominated, they have earned themselves a spotlight at the American Music Awards, the Grammys, Billboard, Madison Square Gardens, UK O2 Arena and on the runways of top-fashion labels like Burbery, Ray Bans, Dior, Dolce and Gabana and Balmain to mention a few. In spite of the economic and political instabilities of their home country, Afrobeats artistes have produced a sound that is a creative and chaotic fusion of Nigerian neo-traditional rhythms (juju, fuji, highlife and Afrobeats), makossa, zouk, coupe decale, reggae, dancehall, hip hop, R n B, soca, reggaetón, grime and the list remain limitless and endless. This sound, cooked up on the streets of Lagos, routed through London, the U.S and Jamaica for technological touch ups, repackaged in Lagos for sprinklings of street credibility and spiritual vigor, and served to the world through music and social media platforms has re-introduced the world to the soundscapes of Nigerian cities like Lagos and Port-Harcourt divided along class, ethnic, gender and religious lines yet united by the soulfulness  of great music.  More importantly, through its rhythms, sites, dance, style, jives, cool, themes and fashion, listeners are invited into the “cosmopolitan cum nativist” mind of Afrobeats artistes- a world-sense invested in blending diverse worlds through sound, fashion and dance without displacing the centrality of home to the art-music form. Yet, while the sound of home is significant to Afrobeats, its global appeal is also informed by the its complicated re-sounding of the world.  To put it simply, when you hear Afrobeats, you hear Nigeria and the world in an organic and orgasmic fashion. Against this foundation, this lecture examines Afrobeats artistes as master harmonizers using Nnedi Okorafor’s Biniti as the inspiration for this conceptualization. By juxtaposing Binti’s conceptualization of harmonization with the aesthetics and practice of Afrobeats, I argue that the effortless fusing of local and global cultures in Afrobeats is influenced by the cosmopolitanism of Lagos, the border-crossing activities of these artistes and resulting fractured and complex identities produced.

    About Dr. Mope Ogunbowale:

    Mope Ogunbowale is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Africana and American Studies. Her interests are in Afro-Atlantic religions, popular music, gender and urban studies. She is currently a Fellow with the Humanities Institute and she is taking the semester to work on her current book manuscript titled The Spirit is the Music: Osun’s Aesthetic Manifestation in Reggae-Dancehall Music. In this work, she observes the workings of Osun, a West African Goddess associated with creativity, power and feminist resistance in the aesthetics, embodied practice and resistance politics in Konto, a genre of reggae and dancehall music produced in Ajegunle, an urban poor neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria. 

    Thursday, March 7, 2024 | 12:00-1:00 p.m.

    I hope you can join us to discuss the reading at this virtual event, hosted by with Vice Provost of University Libraries, Evviva Weinraub Lajoie.  

    Discussion Questions & Resources

Suggest a Book

Have a book that you think might be interesting for the book club to read? Drop us a note and we'll add it to our list of recommendations.