Tanji Gilliam, Ph.D., M.F.A. is the Founder of Oil House, a neighborhood planning firm. She is the recipient of numerous awards from the Social Science Research Council. She was the Hip-Hop and Media researcher on the Black Youth Project contributing to successful grant proposals for the Ford Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2010, she received the Art and Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation for her work on domestic violence. In 2013 her web series, Scheherazade, was featured in Huffington Post and on Mark Anthony Neal's blog, New Black Man in Exile. Gilliam was awarded a career enhancement fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in 2019.
Dr. Gilliam served as a development consultant for the Old Bronx County Courthouse and has written the strategic plan and directed curricula for the Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM). Along with her UHHM colleague, Paradise Gray, Gilliam co-authored a petition that ignited an international conversation about hip hop and sexual assault in the wake of molestation allegations against pioneer artist, Afrika Bambaataa. She is currently working with Newark Symphony Hall as an Urban Planning and Development Consultant.
Gilliam received her Ph.D. in History of Culture from The University of Chicago where she edited the first film reel for her dissertation advisor, Melissa Harris-Perry. She also received her M.F.A. in Film, Video and New Media from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.