For the last eight years, my president was Black. More than that, he was a Black Nerd, a Nerd of Color, the Head Nerd in Charge. After today, we aren’t going to see the likes of someone sit in the Oval Office as intelligent or intellectually curious as Barack Obama. His record in office speaks for itself. Because of President Obama’s leadership, 20 million more Americans have health insurance, marriage equality is the law of the land, and nerds of color were finally represented in the White House.
Like the rest of the nation, I woke up this morning to an unfathomable reality. Despite our best efforts, the country has chosen hate and division. Those dystopian science-fiction novels don’t feel so far off anymore. Still, we at The Nerds of Color must soldier on. I’m doing that by participating in CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian’s pop-up Culture Lab on imagined futures this weekend in New York City. Though, to be honest, I’m having a difficult time imagining the present, much the less the future.
Westworld, HBO’s new science fiction drama that will premiere Sunday, wants to be the big idea. Trade in your zombies and dragons for life-like robots. Tackling notions of morality, artificial intelligence, and entertainment in the premiere alone, Westworld wants to be a show that makes you think. Or perhaps it wants to make you despair.
Star Trek has meant a lot to me as a fan of pop culture, science-fiction, and television. It also has meant everything to me as a human being.
My grandfather, who was a WWII veteran, likely served in a segregated unit in the war. He returned home to a nation still refusing to deal with Jim Crow and other societal injustice.
When I was a very young, I recall him watching various genre programs like Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke, Rat Patrol, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and countless other series. However, he especially loved Star Trek.
I am in no way presenting that being adapted for the screen is a measure of success. I am exploring why someone as beloved, talented, and influential as Octavia Estelle Butler hasn’t been presented on television, or projected 50 feet tall in a movie theater. Here is an excerpt of my explorations:
This past weekend in Washington DC, the Smithsonian’s historic Arts & Industries building was home to the most important gathering of artists you have ever seen. The CrossLines pop-up culture lab on intersectionality brought together over 40 artists and scholars to explore race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, etc.
I was fortunate enough to be invited and helped organize a Reading Lounge and live podcasts — while artist Matt Huynh painted a mural in real time the entire weekend. One of the questions I got asked the most was about the books we included, so after the jump you can find a complete list of books we had in the Lounge!
Continue reading “The Official NOC #CrossLines Reading List”
With October being #BlackSpeculativeFictionMonth, it seemed only appropriate to put the spotlight on an amazing black character. Zoe Washburne, the big damn heroine of Firefly/Serenity, portrayed by Perfection herself, Gina Torres, seemed like an excellent selection.
When Firefly first premiered, I knew the series was going to be something special. Joss Whedon was at the helm, very talented and good-looking cast, wicked cool concept. Of course it wasn’t until I saw the first episode that I realized how special this little series about cowboys in space truly was. A major part of that success was a little cowgirl known as Zoe Washburne.
Originally posted on Ebony.com
Even a galaxy far, far away can feel the effects of racism and White paranoia. Over the weekend, a group of our less enlightened brethren got the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII to trend. Why would anyone want to boycott one of cinema’s most venerable franchises? Well, according to some, the new Star Wars film (to be released on December 18 and helmed by geek-favorite J.J. Abrams) promotes “White genocide.”
Yes, you read that correctly.
Two of this year’s big Emmy stories split the difference between our PoCness and our nerdiness. You’ve probably heard about the Game of Thrones’ record-breaking wins, and it helps that Viola Davis’ historic win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama is a NOC favorite due to her upcoming role in the DC Cinematic Universe.
A great visionary by the name of Cindi Mayweather once said, “Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness.”
My name is Dennis R. Upkins. I’m a speculative fiction author who writes urban fantasy, YA, and superhero fantasy. Storytelling has always been my calling, but sometimes fate has to put you on the path. The key is to be astute when the signs present themselves.
It was two years ago and I had a homecoming of sorts as I was back in Atlanta for Gaylaxicon/Outlantacon. The con was a smashing success but that was to be expected. What wasn’t expected however was the revelation I would receive repeatedly throughout the weekend.