Prahlad is one of the foremost scholars
in African-Am
erican and New World African Folklore. He earned a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, 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.