Cosplay is an enigma to me. The act of dressing up as one’s favorite character to an almost identical degree shows a mastery of craft-making, make-up, and acting that is rarely discussed in other mediums. Being a fan of a show or a character is no longer a passive experience when you cosplay, it becomes an active response to the work that inspires you.
Reed Shannon is the very definition of a performer, and there’s a very good chance you have heard or seen him already. Whether it comes to his acting in the upcoming TheWilds season two, making music like his recent single “Bad Girl,” his stand-up career, or his voice acting as the voice of Cartoon Network and fan favorite Ekko from the hit Netflix show, Arcane, Reed has shown that he is able to do it all and more.
Robert Liu-Trujillo is an artist looking to craft change.
He knows how powerful art can be to inspire and make social change, especially for younger consumers of his and others’ work. With a new Kickstarter project out now, we sat down with Robert to talk about his art, how social justice informs his work, navigating the picture book industry, and so much more.
When Chadwick Boseman passed away last year at the age of 43 after a private battle with colon cancer, communities across the globe were stunned. His ability to battle the debilitating disease all while filming physically demanding roles spoke to his drive and commitment as a creator. Because of this, and his tireless efforts off screen, Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) will honor the beloved activist and creator with a special tribute by his wife Simone and host Anthony Anderson at this year’s fundraising special.
“What is this helping?” is one of the first sentences uttered by a white restaurant patron unsettled in Unapologetic’s first scene, where protestors express the reality of the recent deaths of Black residents in their community to unsuspecting people eating brunch at restaurants. The scene perfectly encompasses the themes and motives of this documentary: a large and triumphant call to arms to make a more honest and equal world while people sit quietly trying to ignore not only the performance, but the actual knowledge of those who are destroyed and subjugated by these injustices.
Nyambi Nyambi’s character Jay Dipersia has been through a lot the past four seasons of The Good Fight. From facing deportation to fighting pay gap disparities, Jay has been given difficult circumstances to overcome. But, in the fifth season of The Good Fight, which premiered yesterday on Paramount+, Jay is given multiple obstacles that he must deal with — the aftermath of COVID, Black Lives Matter Marches, and losing three of his colleagues — two have moved (Cush Jumbo and Delroy Lindo left in the season five premiere episode) and his fellow investigator Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele) has decided to study law.
The 1997 version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’sCinderella has been available to stream on Disney+ for two weeks already, and for Paolo Montalban, he is thrilled. The actor, who played Prince Christopher in the film, found out about its upcoming release on the streaming platform from his agent, about a week before it was officially announced to the public.
This past week, I sat down with the co-host of Fatman Beyond to talk comics, quarantine, and Snyder cuts. Marc Bernardin has been one of pop culture and comic book’s most necessary voices in the industry, with writing credits from Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Treadstone, and Castle Rock. Marc’s work has also spanned outlets like GQ, Wired, and Vulture.
We’re starting spooky season a bit early this year with a review of Iranian-American film director Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 horror classic “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” What makes this film so unique in its abstraction and commentary, and how effectively does it pull it off? But before that, we have a heavy news section discussing police violence and brutality in the US, the recent explosion in Lebanon that has exacerbated the country’s numerous problems, and, on a much lighter note, we discuss the plethora of entertainment news out of DC Comics’ online convention DC FanDome!
We have a PACKED episode this month. After discussing some excellent and exciting MENA entertainment news, Mae and Swara review Netflix’s The Old Guard, which is directed by the incredible Gina Prince-Bythewood and stars one of our favorite MENA actors Marwan Kenzari! But before that, we have an open and frank discussion about “cancel culture,” why it scares powerful and privileged white people so much, and how if they just actually devoted themselves to be better people they wouldn’t have to worry about being “canceled.” Enjoy listening!
In the first of our interview series, we’re joined by Faly Rakotohavana of the upcoming Disney+ film The Secret Society of Second Born Royals! Faly tells us how he first got into acting on Raven’s Home on Disney Channel, Black Lives Matter, and his role as Matteo in The Secret Society of Second Born Royals, which is to debut on Disney+ this September 25, 2020. Enjoy!
Council of Dads on NBC is one of the most special shows on the air right now. The show, which premiered on March 24 and is now on its 9th episode tonight, is a bold look at grief and its impact on families of all shapes and sizes, tackling subjects like transgender identity, adoption, and unconditional friendship. It also features one of the most diverse casts on television. Out of its ensemble, three of its leads are Black, one is Asian, and one is Trans. And to have a mainstream television show on the air right now with a cast that integrated and inclusive is not only rare, but also quite important. And this past week, The Nerds of Color was able to sit down with one of the show’s leads, J. August Richards.
If you grew up watching Angel or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D like I did, you’ll know the name J. August Richards is synonymous with “badass.” After all, playing badass vampire hunter, Charles Gunn, and cybernetically-enhanced superhero, Deathlok tends to give you one heck of a reputation. But what most folks don’t know, is the badass-ery extends well beyond what we’ve seen on the small screen. Richards is a true hero and badass in real life. And the Nerds of Color was able to speak with the Council of Dads star to discover that first hand.
In this episode, we discuss systemic Anti-Black racism, how it crops up in MENA communities, and how we should address it. We discuss how we can start important and difficult conversations with friends and family, and how we should show solidarity with the Black community in the fight for racial justice.
We’re joined by Nawal Rajeh, a community organizer and activist who co-founded and runs the non-profit By Peaceful Means, which works with youth in East Baltimore, MD around issues of peace and justice.
In just over a month, Spike Lee’s masterful Do the Right Thing will be 31 years old. Me and a group of friends skipped out of our summer work program to see the film. We were budding Black and Brown cineastes who marveled at Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and begged our caretakers and school counselors to help us apply to HBCUs after viewing School Daze (and A Different World) — well, those of us who could activate our dream machinery enough to believe we could escape the projects and could make it in university. It was the summer before our senior year and we all knew that in a year’s time, things would be different. Some of us would be off to the military. Some of us would go to either a four-year college or a junior college. Some of us would go directly into the workforce. And there was me. I had no idea what was waiting for me after high school. All I knew was that as soon as I graduated (if I graduated) I was running as far away and as fast as I could from my abusive mother. I didn’t care where. I just needed to get the hell out of that house. All this was bouncing around in my head as the lights dimmed. Continue reading “They Are Still Killing Radio Raheem”
The past few days have been a whirlwind, to say the least.
As we have all seen or heard at this point in time, George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police when former officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck. Chauvin has since been arrested — initially on the charge of third-three murder, but the charge has since been raised to second-degree murder. The other three former officers, Thomas Kiernan Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, have also been arrested on aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder.
The escalation of charges, however, didn’t come without a fight. For an entire week, people marched in Minneapolis, around the country, and around the world, for Floyd’s killer and accomplices to be brought to justice. Part of those protests included a riot that ended with Minneapolis’ third precinct police station being burned down.
Throughout the riots, protests, and general unrest, I went through a myriad of emotions, to the point where I felt unable to write for this site. I still haven’t watched the video of Floyd’s death because for me, reading about the details, including Floyd calling for his deceased mother, was enough. If I watched the video, I knew I would be haunted by it for the rest of my life. I am already haunted by the lives of so many Black people who have been needlessly killed, and their stories were already compelling me without having to see them get killed on camera. I didn’t want to see the video that would only add insult to injury — the insult being that no one would care.
“Art will save us,” Dr. Tang told me as we drank coffee and played chess at a Berkeley Starbucks. She suddenly stopped, her hand still holding her rook a few centimeters above the board. She shook her salt and pepper hair, took a deep breath and smiled. “Let me rephrase. Art will not save is, Shawn. But it will make the bullshit easier to deal with. It will inspire us to do good work. It will gives us new eyes through which to see.” Checkmate. As Dr. Tang got up to leave, she told me one last thing. “As usual, the art that will get us through is music.”
I wanted to dispute this. I wanted to talk about the political dimensions of aerosol art, street theater, cyphers of emcees (like this still happens) — but in my experience, she was totally right. Almost all of my prosocial politics have come from music. Music has been there for me when so many others chose not to, or I didn’t allow them to. Music has been as much a part of my life and growth as geek culture.
This will be a collective review between Edward Hong and Josephine Chang. First, Edward provides a bite sized non-spoiler review for Jordan Peele’s Get Out while Josephine will go in deep to discuss the film in full detail. So for those wary of spoilers, you are safe!
“I imagined many moons in the sky lighting the way to freedom.”
She is one of the most the critically acclaimed musicians out today. Between her successful albums, films, award nominations and collaborations with everyone from the late Prince to First Lady Michelle Obama, one thing is certain for Janelle Monae; her rising star is only getting brighter.
But who is Janelle Monae?
While researching the chanteuse, I uncovered a most profound discovery. Everything we thought we knew about Monae is a complete work of fiction. For starters her name isn’t even Janelle Monae. It is an alias and part of her cover. In actual fact, Monae’s true identity is Cindi Mayweather; an android from the future.
As you might expect, it begins with a selection of starters: today, do you choose fuming rage, crushing grief, or helpless fear? Perhaps you feel all three. Or none. Being Black in America is not just some game that anyone can control, after all.
As a Black Nerd it’s impossible to ignore that in the same week that we gained Pokémon Go, arguably one of the most anticipated games of the year, we lost Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to police brutality (who in reality are part of an even longer list of murders by the police this week alone). Once again the debates flare up between distraction and self care, between what people “should” be talking about or feeling at any given moment. But if Pokémon taught me anything, it’s that there is always another option than the “starters” you’re given, and sometimes this, too, is its own revolutionary act. I’m talking about allowing ourselves to sometimes choose Black joy. No, the Blackest Joy.
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.
On last night’s episode of the ABC comedy show black-ish, the sitcom took a big chance and dedicated an entire episode on police brutality, racism, and the effectiveness of the American justice system. Although I only catch an episode of this show every now and then, I was made very well aware of this particular episode for some time because of its decision to center this episode on such heavy topics. And boy, it did not disappoint.