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As a certified health educator, sexual wellness influencer, public speaker, and erotic activist, Shawna Shipley-Gates, MPH, CHES empowers Black women and femmes to unapologetically take control of their own erotic lives. With ten years of HIV prevention and sexual health expertise, she has shared her purpose on both local and national platforms addressing the importance of self-love, confidence, and knowledge as tools for healthier sexual behaviors. Due to her academic, personal, and career experiences, Shawna founded Cupcake Noire to create a safe yet sex-positive space to celebrate everything healthy, unabashedly provocative, and luxurious about the sexuality of Black women and femmes.Shawna received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and a Master of Public Health degree from New York University. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas.


H E A L T H  E D U C A T O R

For nearly a decade, Shawna has provided current, age-appropriate, and sex-positive sexual health education to many audiences but especially for Black girls, women, and femmes beginning at age thirteen. Content includes sexual history and stereotypes; healthy sex practices; sexuality 101; reproductive anatomy; consent and healthy relationships; STD prevention; condom and lubrication demonstrations; negotiation using assertive communication; and self-love and confidence. Whether individual, small groups, or classroom settings, Shawna can deliver customized sexual health education to meet the audience’s needs.


S E X U A L  W E L L N E S S   I N F L U E N C E R

Hosting workshops and events, writing blog posts and articles, donning Cupcake Noire merchandise, and sharing her personal journey, allow Shawna to raise awareness and increase knowledge about sexual health and wellness among Black women and femmes by celebrating sexual agency in all aspects of popular culture including fashion, literature, and music. Highlighting black womxn with #musenoiremonday and #wearpinkwednesday exemplifies how feminism, success, health, sex, and luxury don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Her influence normalizes and creates a safe space for Black women and femmes to express their sexuality without any judgement from mainstream society.


P U B L I C  S P E A K E R

With speaking avenues including radio interviews, conferences, community groups, panels, workshops, and wellness retreats, Shawna has embraced these opportunities to spread her mission to Black girls, women, and femmes from all backgrounds. Topics include sexual trauma and healing; Black female sexuality in popular culture; sexuality 101; sex-positive STD prevention; self-love and confidence; healthy sexual relationships; and sexual history and stereotypes.


E R O T I C  A C T I V I S T

Shawna’s activism spans from fighting against sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, violence against womxn, misogynoir, respectability politics, and the fetishization of Black women and femmes to advocating for the erotic liberation of Black women and femmes including sex workers’ rights and politics of pleasure. Through social media, blogging, legislative involvement; and attending women and femme focused events including the Women’s March and Slut Walk LA, she has the pleasure of representing her sex-positive and Black feminist platform.

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