Help Zalika Start the PhD!

$3,500 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 138 people in 13 months

Who Am I?

My name is Zalika Umuntu Ibaorimi, although some of you may know me as Melanie McCoy. I am a Philadelphia-native, community organizer, and Afrofuturist-Womanist sex-positive Africana Studies scholar and visual artist. I had to take a step back from community work, to ensure that I could create intellectual work for the community that you all called me to do.

What Have I Been Up To?

Two years ago, I embarked on a journey pursuing a Master's in African American Studies at Georgia State University. I made a few promises to some of you who donated to my previous campaign from a few years ago; the largest promise was that I would conduct scholarly research for Black communities. I am pleased to state that although my (our) work is under embargo, I still sent out my thesis, "The Daughters of Baartman Return the Gaze: Sexual Shaming and Africana Women's Perceptions of and Speculations on their Sexual Agency and Futures," to many. I am currently working on getting the research study published. I am back in Philadelphia at the moment. 

Thesis Abstract

The objective of this research study is to examine the lives and sexual and social relationships of 400 Africana women between the ages of 18-65. The following research questions are: 1) How do Africana women, based on their sexual and social relationships, believe they are perceived by Africana communities? 2) How do Africana women, based on their sexual and social relationships, imagine the creation of sexually and culturally affirming spaces for themselves and other Africana women in the future? This study uses a mixed methods approach including survey, interviews, and Photovoice to understand Africana women’s perceptions of the possibility of a sexually affirmed future. Participants were selected using purposive sampling methods. Afrofuturism is the guiding theoretical framework used for this study as well as Womanism.

By the end of this research study, across the African diaspora, 419 Black women participated in the research study. The results show that we have to do so much better by Black women, but with something like Afrofuturism, THERE IS HOPE!

Research Interest

My research foci are Afrofuturism, Black Sexual Politics, Africana Women’s Studies, Gender & Sexuality, Womanist Theology, Critical Pedagogy, Africana Women’s Sexual Autonomy, and Sexual Shaming as a Dehumanizing Effort Against Africana Women. Overall, my work centers Black women. 


The community is the only reason why this is possible, but in March, I was accepted into the University of Texas at Austin's African and African Diaspora Studies doctoral program. However, I will need your help getting there.

My Needs (an itemized list)

- funds for a move from Philadelphia to Texas (a moving company will transport my belongings)
- airfare to get to Texas
- a security deposit and at least first month's rent (I may only just need a security deposit)

I Will Do My Part

In the meantime, I am currently looking for work, will be painting and conducting community teach-ins for the FREE on Afrofuturism, sex-positivity and Womanism in Philadelphia.  I am once again making the promise that although I will being doing intellectual work in the academe, that this work will return back to the community. THIS IS FOR US. 


I thank you so much for your understanding, love and support. This next degree is OURS- WE ARE LIBERATION FIGHTERS.

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$3,500 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 138 people in 13 months
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