Tyina Steptoe writes and teaches about race, gender, and culture in the United States. Her book, Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City, received the Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book of 2016 (North American) from the Urban History Association, the 2017 W. Jackson Turrentine Book Prize from the Western History Association, and the 2017 Julia Ideson Award from the Friends of the Texas Room (Houston Metropolitan Research Center). Her latest project explores the history of sexuality and gender in popular music. An article on Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton and Little Richard appeared in the March 2018 issue of the American Quarterly.
Tyina am also committed to academic work that reaches beyond the walls of the university. She served as a historical advisor on the television show Who Do You Think You Are, appearing on a 2016 episode that featured TV personality Aisha Tyler. While in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tyina helped organize a special summer course, “The Santa Fe Trail: In Search of the Multiracial West,” that took thirty-five undergraduate and graduate students on a two-week bus trip from Wisconsin to the Southwest in 2005.
Tyina host a weekly radio program called “Soul Stories” on 91.3 KXCI Tucson on Mondays, 10:00 pm - midnight. “Soul Stories” explores the roots and branches of rhythm and blues music.