During intermission while watching An Octoroon (written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Judith Moreland) at the Fountain Theatre, an old white woman randomly came up to me and asked what I found so amusing in this play. First, I had to get over the shock that a live human being was touching me (without permission) and getting up in my face to ask this question because after all, this was my first time watching a play with a live audience (albeit in an outdoor theater) in 16 months. Second, what WAS I and primarily all the other POC audience members laughing about?Continue reading “Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘An Octoroon’”
Extra Hard NOC Life this week! Foxy Jazzabelle goes one-on-one with the director of the new hit comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, Malcolm D. Lee!
In 2009, the Asian American ComiCon was held in New York City, bringing together Asian indie and mainstream comics creators for a historic gathering to celebrate the unique and flourishing graphic storytelling of our community. Now, eight years later, AACC is hosting its second event: a Summit on Art, Action and the Future. In a time where diversity and creativity are both under attack, the Summit will feature diverse creators talking about where we’re going next.
In watching The Birth of a Nation I was a little destroyed. There’s so much to unpack. Nat Turner is a legendary figure in the Black community — a former slave who removed his own shackles. It’s a story I’ve wanted to see on screen for a long time. The reviews out of Sundance were huge. Then, news of Nate Parker rape charges and acquittal broke. I debated a long time about whether or not to cover the story when I came to TIFF. Eventually, I decided that a film this prominent and this culturally invested couldn’t be ignored. I have mixed feelings about what I saw. I’m going to take it slow.
Before The CW was known as comic book superhero central, the network — when it was still The WB — had the reputation for the place to be for melodramatic teen soaps. Remember shows like One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, 7th Heaven, and Gilmore Girls? In 2001, the debut of Smallville led to the network’s embrace of comic book-based properties that paved the way for more genre-focused shows like Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The 100, and the current slate of DC Comics heroes. Next fall, The CW is merging the best of both worlds with Riverdale. By adapting the classic comic book Archie, the network will return to its teen soapy roots, this time with a twist. Even better? They’re doing so with one of the most diverse casts on network TV.
Japan has long produced visual media that has captivated readers and viewers for decades. Manga and anime are two classic mediums through which fantastical worlds and profound characters come to life. Of all the hundreds of thousands of characters that exist in these worlds, there are a handful that share a close resemblance to African Americans. Though these characters are not always explicitly identified as black, they are heavily coded as black or Afro-descended. The aesthetic of black coded characters in anime and manga reflect the same ideologies of black males in U.S media and society. Popular series like Naruto and Samurai Champloo both use tropes of black males and demonstrate common ideas about their masculinity and how they are read by others. Hip hop is the vehicle through which Japan understands American blackness which manifests itself in various ways in Japanese media.
In honor of Black History Month, I will allow three days of free online screenings of the documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century.
From Sunday, February 1 at 12:00am (EST) through Tuesday, February 3 at 11:59pm (EST) you’ll be able to watch the documentary free of charge!
Get ready. This weekend is going to be a huge one as our very own John Jennings has organized two comic art festivals on either coast that will celebrate Black comic art and artists with day-long events featuring panel discussions, film screenings, and more.
Festivities kick off in New York City on Saturday, January 17 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for its third annual Black Comic Book Festival. The scene then shifts to San Francisco on Sunday and Monday for that city’s inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival — which John announced in October. Both events are free and open to the public.
I’m extremely pleased and honored to be a co-organizer of the inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival with the NorcalMLK Foundation of San Francisco! Our committee has put in a lot of work over the last few months to make this happen. Starting in January 2015, in conjunction with the city’s Martin Luther King Day celebrations, the first ever Black Comix Arts Festival will become an annual event.
After reading this book, I was hesitant to review it. It is one of those rare books that transcended the four-color realm and hit me in my real life. I was also unsure if my endorsement of the book was an endorsement of some of the messages in the book. Artist Afua Richardson and co-writers Marc Bernadin and Adam Freeman’s Genius is a book that I am still digesting. First introduced in 2008 by Top Cow via “Pilot Season,” Genius is a book that challenges me in a way that I haven’t felt in a while.
Comics are my escape from a stressful job. I want to read snikt and see folks teleport, and leap off buildings — it is a great way to decompress after days of seeing people in pain. Hell, even the more serious fare can act as 22-page escape pods — escaping into the fantastic from the sad and mundane. But this book read more like a possibility than a fantasy. In light of the killings of Eric Garner, Pearlie “Miss Sully” Golden, and Kathryn Johnston at the hands of the police, Genius is almost prescient. And it is a little foreboding.
Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo
After the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I wrote a piece about the supporting character Falcon and something called “sidekickism.” Race and racial ideology was at the heart and soul of what I wrote about, which of course rubbed some people the wrong way. Fortunately, I’ve never cared about how my observations about race and racism may or may not upset people who wander through life with blinders on, convincing themselves that it’s all good when it comes to issues of race.
And though it was never my intention to revisit sidekickism, there is more to be said. Because some people still don’t fully comprehend the impact of racial ideology, and how it affects everything — including things as innocuous as pop culture — I wanted to take a look at sidekickism through a very narrow and specific lens. This leads us to today’s topic: Felix Leiter, sidekick to James Bond.
Brave New Souls is a documentary I wrote, produced, and directed that explores the thoughts, goals, and inspirations of a new generation of Black creators in graphic novels, television, cinema, literature, and digital media. It was a very tough shoot as I did the camera work, sound recording, lighting, and directing ALL BY MYSELF! While the movie will be released on DVD in two weeks — on July 15 — for those that want to watch it via their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and home PCs, you can stream or download it as a high-quality, digital video right now at Gumroad for $7.99!
I wanted to take a moment to thank all the creators I worked with during the production of the documentary and share a few things I learned:
We recently learned about a new web portal that just launched a few days ago. It’s called Peep Game Comix, and its mission is to showcase the work of African American comic authors, artists, and publishers.
Check out their official press release after the jump.
Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo
I’m starting to feel like I’m going crazy — as if there is something seriously wrong with me — when the sad truth of the matter is that it is not me at all. It is you. And by “you” I don’t necessarily mean you, the person reading this, but I do mean someone other than myself — the crazy person running around pointing out the truth that You (though not necessarily you) don’t want to face. And the truth that I’m talking about is the simple fact that for all the complaining about the lack of diversity in comics — specifically as it relates to black creators — You don’t really want diversity. Instead, You want to sit around, writing blog posts and articles and leaving comments here and there about how few black creators are working in comics, and how You are so righteously indignant to the plight of struggling black creators who aren’t being given a chance to work for major corporations like Marvel (owned by Disney) and DC (owned by Warner Brothers).
Originally posted at BadAzz Mofo
Wake up world, Black actor Michael B. Jordan has been cast as Johnny Storm (a.k.a. the Human Torch) in the upcoming reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. The hurricane of controversy, and all the requisite ridiculous and racist comments have begun, and will keep flowing, until, or course, the movie comes out, at which point people will go see it no matter how incensed or infuriated they are. And you know what? I don’t care if anyone is incensed, infuriated, or inconsolable about a Black actor being cast in a fictional role of a character that is known to be White. Really, honestly, and truly, I don’t care at all. That is not, however, going to stop me from addressing a few issues.
Originally posted at BadAzzMofo
Now that Black actor Michael B. Jordan has been officially cast as Johnny Storm (a.k.a. Human Torch) in the new Fantastic Four movie, all the negative crap has started to spew (again). We’ve all heard the crap before: “Johnny Storm is white!!! That’s Like casting a white actor as Martin Luther King, Jr!” Well, dumbass racist, it’s actually nothing like that. Johnny Storm is a fictional character. Martin Luther King Jr. being played by a white actor would like… well… it would be kind of like this…
On Friday night, I had the honor and privilege to attend the opening gala for the latest exhibit at the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. Curated by Milestone Media co-founder Michael Davis and Tatiana El-Kouri — with John Jennings consulting, the exhibit “Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, and Beyond” was a showcase for the artists who make up the African American pop art experience. Representing a true cross-section of popular culture, the pieces on display spanned decades and demonstrated the vastness and diversity of African American artistic expression.