Sonjah Stanley Niaah is a Jamaican scholar, cultural activist, writer, and international speaker. She is the first Ph.D. Cultural Studies graduate from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the first to be appointed Lecturer, and Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies there. She is also the inaugural Rhodes Trust Rex Nettleford Fellow in Cultural Studies and has distinguished herself as a pioneer in the terrain of Caribbean Cultural Studies.
She is the author of the acclaimed full-length book on Jamaican Dancehall – Dancehall: From Slave Ship to Ghetto (2010), editor of Dancehall: A Reader on Jamaican Music and Culture (2020), the first compilation of seminal and current writings on Dancehall music and culture, and ‘I’m Broader than Broadway: Caribbean Perspectives on Producing Celebrity’ (Wadabagei, Vol. 12: 2, 2009).
She has also co-authored A Study on the Creative Industry as a Pillar of Sustained Growth and Diversification – The Film and Music Sectors in Jamaica: Lessons From Case Studies of Successful Firms and Ventures (UNECLAC Studies and Perspectives Series No. 72).
Stanley Niaah was Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit at the UWI from 2015 -2021 and currently holds international appointments as member of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project (UNESCO), and Senior Research Associate (honorary) at Rhodes University.
She is a leading author, teacher and researcher on Black Atlantic performance geographies, popular music, culture and the sacred. Dr Stanley Niaah serves on various boards and editorial collectives, in academic associations, institutions and journals. She is involved in various efforts to promote national and regional development.
A heavily sought after speaker, her research and opinions have appeared in various local and international media including The Guardian, BBC, The Washington Post, Netflix, NPR, VICE TV, Caribbean Beat, The Fader, Refinery29, Rototom TV, and Pop Matters.