Prahlad is one of the foremost scholars
in African-American and New World African Folklore. He earned a master’s degree from the , where he worked with mentors Alan Dundes, William Bascom, and Lawrence Levine and wrote an MA thesis titled, “You Preach Your Funeral While You Living:” Death in African AmericanFolklore.
Prahlad studied at the University of California-Los Angeles for his PhD in folkloreandmythology, working with proverb scholar Shirley Arora; material culture folklorist Michael Owen Jones; sociolinguist Claudia Mitchell Kernan; and African and Caribbean folklore scholar Donald Cosentino.
He has published two books on proverbs, African American Proverbs in Context (University Press of Mississippi, 1996), and Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music, University Press of Mississippi, 2001).
He edited the award-winning, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore, volumes 1-3, (Greenwood Press, 2006), and has published articles on diverse topics in black folklore, such as African-American Christmas celebrations; proverbs in black literature, churches, families, and reggae; black fraternity folklore; black folktales, art, film, playing the dozens, festivals, music, and woodcarving; and folklore of Caribbean countries such as Carriacou, Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands.
Prahlad is a professor in the English Department at the University of Missouri, where he teaches courses in folklore, film, and creative writing.