Summer is on the horizon and I am just getting you ready for the heat!! Got a nice mix of returning series, new films, and series premieres. Buckle up and get your remotes charged up and your popcorn ready!
Check out the new trailers below:
Season 3-The Boys (Streaming on Prime Video June 3rd)
Surviving Summer (Streaming on Netflix June 3rd)
Andor (Streaming on Disney+ June 3rd)
Beast (In theaters August 19th)
Three Thousand Years of Longing (In theaters August 31st)
On last month, I had the opportunity to present a paper on “#BlackGamersMatter: Gaming and the Black Imaginary” at the Beyond the Page-“Present Encounters: Digital Humanities Meet Afrofuturism” at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA).
And if you are interested in checking out the full symposium see the following videos below:
Part 1: Welcome remarks by Joseph P. Lucia, dean of Temple University Libraries; Keynote Address by Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, associate professor of Africology and African American Studies: “Afrofuturism: The Second Race for Theory,” See here
Part 2: Discussion with curator, art director, illustrator Eric Battle, and illustrators Damali Beatty and Nilé Livingston for the Black Lives Always Mattered!: Hidden African American Philadelphia of the Twentieth Century original graphic novel, See here
Part 3: Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio project presentations in the Scholars Studio Innovation Lab, See here
Part 4: “Virtual Blockson” presentation with Jasmine Lelis Clark, See here
So we are almost half way through 2022, but the reading doesn’t stop. Before I get you ready for your summer reading, just want to finish out the spring with some breezy balcony and patio reading. This month’s list is all over the globe…literally, I figured I would share a few treats by giving you some historical references, a little bit of self-preservation and cultural identity, mixed with a dash of U.S. midwest and Caribbean roots, and topping you off with some sassy satire.
Jameela Green Ruins Everything ~Zarqa Nawaz
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations ~Mira Jacob
Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel ~Xochitl Gonzalez
The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family ~Bettye Kearse
American Street ~Ibi Zoboi
And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and past recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!
We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained. ~Nikki Giovanni
It’s that time of year where I always like to reflect on another academic year in the books! This time around I wanted to share my gratitude and appreciation in the form of a letter to my students.
You have done it again. You have figured out a way to pull at my heartstrings and fill me with emotion. Let me first start out by saying I am so proud of the work that you have done and will continue to do. Many of you started out with me when I arrived to VCU in the Summer of 2020, several of you became repeat student in my classes, and to see you walk across the stage with the biggest smiles is truly a proud moment.
This semester much like the previous ones was definitely a roller coaster ride, it just has a new name! I enjoyed coming to both classes with a new mindset and leaving with new energy. For Spring 2022, I got the opportunity to teach a special topics course, AFAM 491: Say Her Name-Humanizing the Black Female Voice in Television. From the onset, I was excited about teaching this course because we would be discussing three televisions shows that were changing the game (HBO Max’sA Black Lady Sketch Show, I May Destroy You, and STARZ’sP-Valley). The format of the course would be different and outside of my normal lecture-discussion style. For this class we would be doing regular deep dives (almost each class period). The excitement that each of you brought was mind-blowing, considering many had never watched the shows or even heard of them. And like most new classes you are never sure how it will play out, but this was definitely a win. The diverse perspectives that each of you brought to the discussions, along with implementing your critical thinking skills really made me wish we could add more time to each class. There was never a day when we did not run over, and in this case that was not a bad thing. Who knew that critical television analysis could be so fun and engaging?!! And then when we had the surprise guest (Cherokee Hall-‘Extra Extra’) from P-Valley come and talk with us you all really lit up! Thank you for doing the work and making it easy for me to come to campus and show-up 110%!!
I also got to teach one of my tried and true favorite courses, AFAM 111: Introduction to Africana Studies. Now this class had a different format as well, it was a one-day a week meeting for 2 hours and 40 mins. And let me tell you, I had no idea where I would even begin with this teaching in this format, but we made it work. Lecture for the first part and a film screening in the latter half. While this posed a challenge, your feedback about the class set-up was much appreciated and well received. Change can be difficult, with solid teamwork the possibilities were endless. With many of the students in this class were freshman and sophomores, my hope is that you got at least a little something that might add, change, reframe, and/or expand your thinking and engagement with the world going forward. Thank you for helping me to be more inclusive, push my creative lens, and nurture my heart, mind and soul.
Now for some of you the next step is graduate school in either a new city or even state. Take all the skills you have gained and build from them, create new memories, show the world whose next up! And others are going straight into the job market, putting that talent into action immediately. As the historian Keisha Blain said, in reference to the Black Nationalist Women fighting for global freedom, “set the world on fire.” “Set the world on fire” with innovative methods of change, “Set the world on fire” with your leadership, “Set the world on fire” with your unapologetic attitude, and “Set the world on fire” with your joy and determination. You got this!!
When people tell me, “I can see the passion that you have and the deep care for your students,” I get all emotional again because that statement is soooo true! I love what I do and would not change it for the world!
While I may not be your professor anymore, just know that I am always here to support in any way that I can. I’m just an email or call away!
Another semester in the books…Another set of grades submitted…Let the summer begin!!
The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)’s Eighth Annual Conference*
Conference Theme: “We Can’t Breathe”: Crisis, Catastrophe and Sustaining Community in (Un)livable Spaces
Hosted by University of North Carolina, Charlotte– March 9-11, 2023
Black people can’t breathe. This is because these are crisis ridden times. Crisis and catastrophe wrought by mass incarceration, inadequate housing, climate change, environmental degradation, police brutality, war and the stress upon our everyday lives. Historically, Black communities globally have been made subject to horrific circumstances from involuntary migration, to enforced servitude, Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration, police brutality and now coupled with a pandemic and climate change. This is as juxtaposed with a multiplicity of environmental conditions including inadequate access to healthy food, toxic waste, unclean water and pollution. Black communities have disproportionately experienced the impact of environmental waste, pollution, climate change and lack of access to healthy food resources and equitable healthcare services. This has also more recently meant involuntary migration illustrated with the rise of Black climate refugees worldwide. Statistics indicate that Black people in the U.S. are 75 percent more likely to live close to oil and gas refineries, have disproportionately high rates of asthma, due to environmental factors, and are more frequently made subject to pollution and toxic waste. Our conference this year specifically focuses on the theme of crisis, catastrophe and sustaining community. We are particularly interested here in the ways that the Black community has responded to these circumstances over time in thought and action.
This conference seeks to bring together scholars, activists, public intellectuals and community stakeholders interested in presenting on the theme of crisis, catastrophe and sustaining community in relation to the history and culture of African Diaspora communities.
Papers related to (but not limited to) these topics might be ideal:
Abolitionism (then and now)
Enslavement and Everyday Resistance
Education Pedagogies and Resistance
Housing and Homelessness
Rent Exploitation and the Housing Crisis
Health disparities over time and space
Healthy Food Cooperatives and Programs
Food deserts and Black Mobilization
Clean Water Actions
Police Brutality and Black Resistance
Black Women and the Global Green Movement
Black Children and Environmentalism
Black Women and Eco-feminist Praxis
For more information and submission guidelines, please click here !!
Deadline for submissions is August 1st, 2022
Co-Chairs: LaShawn Harris, Michigan State University and Oscar de la Torre, UNC-Charlotte
Tyler Parry, University of Nevada, Los Vegas Adam McNeil, Rutgers University Grace D. Gipson, Virginia Commonwealth University Crystal Eddins, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Note:The goal is to have an in-person conference but this is subject to change given the current pandemic. Hybrid options may be available as we are an organization that does take seriously inclusivity of all interested in participating in this timely event. Masks will be required and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test (24 hours before attending) must be provided to the organization before attending.
In a show of solidarity and support, I wanted to make sure I shared this statement from my department chair regarding the most recent events in Buffalo, NY…
The Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University is founded on the will and self-determination of the Black community. Our principles reflect a commitment to justice everywhere, to the liberation of people of African descent and to fostering the unabating excellence evident in Black communities across this nation and around the globe.
The VCU Department of African American Studies thus denounces all forms of terror and violence against Black bodies and Black communities. We stand in solidarity with the collective efforts of our local community and nationwide grassroots movements that continue the fight against acts of domestic terrorism fueled by white supremacy that now includes attacks on 13 people — citizens of our broader community — that occurred in Buffalo, New York on May 14, 2022. We stand in solidarity with the families and loved ones of three victims who were injured and the 10 victims whose lives were taken in this act of anti-Black violence and hate. We stand in solidarity with the far too many other Black people who have been slain since the inception of this country.
The humanity of all Black people and the dignity of life itself must be held as a paragon and a universal fact. We are united in lifting our voices, using our power and leveraging our privilege to eradicate racial inequity in this country. We call on our colleagues, students, and allies across the nation to stand courageously with us. To all of those who have already made public statements, we thank you.
We demand justice for the victims of the Buffalo massacre, their loved ones, and their community.
We demand justice in the name of our ancestors who have been here before.
Davis debuted the trailer for the film at this year’s CinemaCon in April.
Hook … Line … and Sinker … I’m sold!! To see Viola Davis in a “kick-ass” role (literally and figuratively), as well as see the history of a group of Black women warriors unfold on the Hollywood screen is music to my ears! Now that is “Representation Matters” in action!!
“The Woman King” was co-written by Dana Stevens and Gina Prince Bythewood who also serves as the director. The film is also produced under Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon’s company, JuVee Productions (along with . Not only is the film on point behind the camera but it also includes a dynamic cast, which includes Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega. According to Prince-Bythewood, “we were intentional of creating an ensemble of the dopest actors of this moment from all over the diaspora.” AND the musical score will be coming from the legendary Terence Blanchard. I’m already on the edge of my seat waiting for this one to hit theaters!!
“The Woman King” is set to be exclusively in theaters on September 16, 2022.