Lionnell (Badu) Smith

Past Lecturer, Communication & Black Studies
Badu Smith

Lionnell Smith (preferably known as “Badu”) is an award-winning communication educator with more than 10 years of teaching experience. He is a Fulbright-Hays Scholar and the 2018 recipient of the Monica Pombo Early Career Teaching Award (awarded by the Carolinas Communication Assn.). His research focuses on two areas of communication scholarship: a) critical intercultural communication studies with particular emphasis on language, race, and power; and b) critical [communication] pedagogy. Using rhetorical and critical qualitative methods, Badu aims to address the cultural and linguistic hegemony that exists in academic discourse communities and the systems of power in education that oppress Black faculty and students. Badu’s research on critical [communication] pedagogy advocates for a fair and equitable curriculum of [communication] instruction in which students are exposed to a diversity of voices, especially those on the margins. More specifically, he draws on critical, revolutionary, and decolonial pedagogical frameworks to promote antiracist and Afrocentric approaches to teaching communication and rhetoric.

Badu is a critical rhetorical and (inter)cultural communication scholar who has published in Departures in Critical Qualitative Research (DCQR), Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture, and Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal. He is an active member of the Carolinas Communication Association, the Southern States Communication Association, and the National Communication Association where he has presented several peer-reviewed papers and has presented on several discussion panels. Badu earned his bachelor’s in mass communication from Voorhees College and his masters in Communication Studies from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Badu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Film at the University of Memphis pursuing the PhD in Communication Studies (Rhetoric, Media & Cultural Studies).

Selected Publications

Smith, L. (2021). Liberating faith and the journey of inconclusion: A close reading of Paulo Freire’s essay “My Faith and Hope.” Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal, 6(1), 1-14.

Smith, L. (2020). And he gave some to be teachers: A call beyond purpose and towards prophetic consciousness. Listening: Journal of Communication, Ethics, and Culture, 55(3), 230-233.

Smith, L. (2019). Can we share the light? De-centering communication whiteness through communication pedagogy. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 8(4), 34-39.

Courses Taught:

COMMST 100 – Interpersonal Communication

COMMST 226 - Introduction to Race, Culture, and Communication

BLKST 101 – Foundations of Black Studies