Farewell Major Tom

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Nearly a year ago today the music died.

Actor, rockstar, musician and suspected otherworldly being David Bowie passed away one year ago, three days after his birthday which is today.

As we celebrate Bowie’s life and legacy, I’m reminded of the fact that it was roughly around this time two years ago that we lost Leonard Nimoy.

Much like Nimoy, when I think back on Bowie, I realize that he was an influence on me in ways I never considered.

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One In A Million: Remembering Aaliyah

It was 15 years ago today that we lost an icon, an extraordinary young gifted artist, Aaliyah Haughton, known to fans simply as Aaliyah.

In the spirit of Prince, David Bowie, and Janelle Monae, Aaliyah possessed a larger than life persona that ironically was fueled by her mystique. Dark clothing, trademark hair over one eye, the enigmatic chaunteuse had an almost ethereal presence which also could be found in her music.

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Remembering Eugie Foster

Like many others I was saddened and heartbroken to hear about the passing of esteemed speculative fiction author Eugie Foster. In addition to being one of the most gifted writers I’ve ever encountered, Eugie was the personification of grace and class. I was honored to consider Eugie both a colleague and a friend.

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The Beautiful One

Truth be told, music has a much stronger hold on me than geek culture. While I love all things geek/nerdy/afrogeek/astroblack, music is how I experienced love. Growing up in an immediate household that was nothing but abuse and the absence of love, music was my portal to some place safer. My mom was a horrible mother, but she built upon a stellar record collection. A collection that she’d let me listen to without being beaten. After our year of frozen homelessness, we got an apartment where the previous tenant left a sizable record collection. Among the Chaka Khan and Rufus, Mandrill, Chuck Mangione, The Wailers, Miles Davis, and Santana albums were Prince’s For You and Dirty Mind. Despite the racy content, my mother and I listened to those albums until they were warped and scratched beyond all hopes of rescuing. We loved it because it sounded so different compared to anything else we listened to — which was mostly reggae and jazz. But it wasn’t until 1999 dropped in ’82 that I had to come to terms with the idea that Prince was going to be one of the foundation stones of my pop cultural biography. Continue reading “The Beautiful One”

Rest In Power to the 5 Ft Assassin

I received the text late. I’m normally a night out owl, but this CPAP machine is making sleep lovely and attractive. I heard my phone buzz and clumsily pawed for it. I pulled it close to my face, my sleepiness and the plastic bar of the CPAP face mask made it nearly impossible to make out — the combination of text size and screen brightness was too much for  me. I concentrated and the blurry screen came into focus. My heart sank. The text was from a friend: “Yo, Phife passed, B.” Continue reading “Rest In Power to the 5 Ft Assassin”

Why Dwayne McDuffie Was Better Than You

One cannot discuss black excellence (specifically in speculative fiction) without discussing one of the most gifted and progressive storytellers, ever to walk this earth, the late Dwayne McDuffie.

As expected, many discussed the amazing work he and his team did with making Milestone Comics a success, others mentioned his phenomenal work with fellow phenom Bruce Timm creating over a decade of superb animated series and films.

Of course people pointed out that McDuffie paved the way for black storytellers in a way too vanilla-centric medium that is the comic book industry.

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Farewell to the Star Man

David Bowie was one of the first white musicians ever played in my home. My aunt, who was a musician and music aficionado, argued, “All those white people steal their styles from us. Why not just listen to the originators and leave the copycats alone?” One day, I’m home early from school and I heard:

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Character Study: Barbara Gordon

Dedicated to the late Yvonne Craig who passed away yesterday.

It’s a shame how much Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is perhaps one of the most underrated characters in comics and pop culture. Not surprising that many dismiss her as little more than a “female Robin” or a lesser spinoff character of the caped crusader.

But the astute observer will note that by being tied to the Batman mythos, Barbara Gordon has arguably made more appearances in mainstream media than any other comic book super heroine, including Wonder Woman, thus perhaps making Batgirl the most publicized comic book super heroine to date.

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