Wesley is a PhD student and graduate teaching assistant in the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. Her research focuses on the construction and regulation of Black identity and its commodification through neoliberal discourses and consumer subjectivities. Her recent work examines the practice of blackfishing on Instagram and how social media influencers appropriate Black culture and aesthetics to build their brand and increase their following, rendering Black identity a lucrative commodity. Wesley is interested in how these consumer logics become accessible to individuals through digital platforms and explores the resultant, discursive constructions of identity within these contexts. Her research also considers the role algorithms play in perpetuating discriminatory practices online. Wesley employs critical pedagogical practices in the classroom, adopting an intersectional perspective in the creation of her syllabi and through class discussions and assignments. She is currently the President of the Media and Communication Graduate Student Association.
Wesley enjoys her research almost as much as she loves having conversations about her favorite television shows (The Golden Girls, Penny Dreadful, Adventure Time, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, to name a few). Indulging in these shows – and the occasional Taco Bell run – keeps Wesley grounded on her academic journey.