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Lori L. Tharps


Lori L. Tharps

Lori L. Tharps is a writer whose work meets at the intersection of race and real life. She is an author, journalist, educator, podcast host and popular speaker. She is inspired by the collision of culture and color. She is fueled by creativity and passion.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lori attended Smith College, where she had the opportunity to spend her junior year studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. After graduating from Smith, Lori spent two years working on Madison Avenue at one of New York City’s top-ten public relations agencies. Soon after, she entered Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has been writing her way through the world ever since.

Lori began her journalism career as a staff reporter at Vibe magazine and then as a correspondent for Entertainment Weekly. She has served as writer and/or editor for magazines including Ms., Glamour, Suede,, Parents and Essence. She has also written for The Columbia Journalism Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The and The Washington Post.  

Tharps is the award-winning author of three critically acclaimed nonfiction books, including HAIR STORY: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, KINKY GAZPACHO: Life, Love & Spain, and SAME FAMILY, DIFFERENT COLORS: Confronting Colorism in America's Diverse Families. She also penned the novel SUBSTITUTE ME.

Lori is the mother of three, is (almost) fluent in Spanish, and can say I love you in seven languages. She has a labradoodle named after James Baldwin.

Lori L. Tharps

Books by Lori L. Tharps

by Bobby Love and Cheryl Love, with Lori L. Tharps - Memoir, Nonfiction

Bobby and Cheryl Love were living in Brooklyn, happily married for decades, when the FBI and NYPD appeared at their door and demanded to know from Bobby, in front of his shocked wife and children, “What is your name? No, what’s your real name?” Bobby’s 38-year secret was out. As a Black child in the Jim Crow South, Bobby found himself in legal trouble before his 14th birthday. Sparked by the desperation he felt in the face of limited options and the pull of the streets, Bobby became a master thief. He soon found himself facing a 30-year prison sentence. But Bobby was smarter than his jailers. He escaped, fled to New York, changed his name and started a new life as “Bobby Love.”

by Ibtihaj Muhammad with Lori L. Tharps - Memoir, Nonfiction, Sports

Growing up in New Jersey as the only African American Muslim at school, Ibtihaj Muhammad always had to find her own way. When she discovered fencing, a sport traditionally reserved for the wealthy, she had to defy expectations and make a place for herself in a sport she grew to love. From winning state championships to three-time All-America selections at Duke University, Ibtihaj was poised for success, but the fencing community wasn't ready to welcome her with open arms just yet. As the only woman of color and the only religious minority on Team USA's saber fencing squad, Ibtihaj had to chart her own path to success and Olympic glory.