Birds flying high, you know how I feel Sun in the sky, you know how I feel Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn It’s a new day It’s a new life for me, ooh And I’m feeling good
‘Feelin’ Good’ ~Nina Simone
Hello!! Hello!! How are you feeling my friends?! Like Nina Simone, I’m feelin’ good and can’t wait for summer to get here!!
Summertime is definitely one of my favorite seasons, partly due to my Birthday [Leo in the House!!], the weather is amazing, and the fact that there is so much happening on a day-to-day basis! Well I got something for you to add to your summertime fun! Dr. Kaniqua Robinson and I are linking back up for some summertime conversations. If you have tuned into our video podcast, Conversations with Beloved and Kindred then you already have a sneak peek into what is to come!!
For the month of June, Auburn Avenue Research Library will host the limited series Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy!! Inspired by Nina Simone’s 1965 classic song “Feelin’ Good”, Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good” is a freeform dialogue that foregrounds how people of African descent create communal agency and collective resilience via the cultivation of joy. Check out what is in store below:
June 16th-Juneteenth Why Our Day of Jubilation Matters: In recognition of Juneteenth (2021), this discussion will examine the history and contemporary relevance of the Juneteenth holiday as a curated expression of Black joy and agency. Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, which has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.
June 23rd-Sonic Curation of Happiness via Black Music: In recognition of Black Music Month (June), this discussion will explore the songs and singers/musicians that contribute to the communal expression of collective Black joy and happiness soundtrack.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your eardrums” ~Andre 3000, “Black Ice (Sky High)”
Let me hit you all with the last episode of the Spring Season for Conversations with Beloved and Kindred!! To close out the season, Dr. Robinson and I dived into the 1995 film, Vampire in Brooklyn. And what a time we had!! Don’t believe us, check it out below:
This was an awesome inaugural season and we hoped you enjoyed it as much as we loved having the conversations. Nothing like digging into those classic movies and tv shows and finding so many jewels. Each episode and film, definitely pushed our thinking, provided some entertainment, and on many occasions made us look beyond the surface!
Now although the Spring Season has come to a close, make sure you check us out for our Special Summertime Conversations later this month!!
Also, if you have any suggestions for the Fall season, make sure to hit us up!! And remember if you missed any previous episodes you can catch them all here!!
So as of last week Tuesday, I officially made it through my first year on the tenure-track at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA), [ALL GRADES ARE IN] and what a roller coaster ride!! As we all know this was an “interesting” time to be a student, parent, and teacher as it relates to the academic world. And this year was one I will never forget! For example, as noted above this was my first year on the tenure-track, which means not only did I start a new job in these unique circumstances, but I also moved to a whole new state and city in the middle of a pandemic! Many have asked, how have I coped and managed the move during these time? Well my answer to that is…I really did not have a choice, you kind of have to ride the wave or it will take you out. Needless to say, I have had a great deal of support professionally and personally, so that has made this transition a lot easier to navigate (Thank goodness for my many villages!!). Also, the fact that I am in a place that I am loving and doing what I love makes this roller coaster ride a fun one!
Now mind you, I have been teaching pretty much since I was in my doctoral program, so thankfully this academic year was not my first rodeo. However, it was my first experience with teaching full-time virtually. For many people like me, their places of sanctuary were quickly transformed into places of work and everything that came with it. I must admit, teaching virtually this academic year further confirmed that my preference for learning and teaching will ALWAYS be physically in the classroom. Not being in the classroom, physically, made me miss a lot things that I truly value. The presence of the students, literally seeing their faces, the interactions, the energy that permeates in a room, actually going into my office and seeing other faculty and staff, meeting other colleagues for coffee/tea, participating in on-campus activities, and so much more. During and after this school year, I would be more in tune with the long and short-term effects of teaching and learning in a virtual space. For some it worked, others not so much…This past year I witnessed not only students struggling, but faculty and staff as well. To be expected to essentially turn “water into fine wine” within days and weeks was quite the feat. Now in a way we accomplished what was asked of us, but that is not to say we did not come out without some bruises and wounds. I have come to realize that it is ok, and necessary, to acknowledge the stressful moments, but it is what you do to move past the stress that also counts. Lots of lessons learned! All in all, we survived and in many ways thrived!
Part of moving forward for me was participating in my first commencement post-PhD graduation, and recognizing our students in the Department of African American Studies! Seeing the excitement as our students proudly wore their cap and gowns get recognized and cross the finish line was a moment I will never forget and always cherish (You can see a snap shot below)!!
So what’s next for Dr. G??!! Well for the first time in 5 years I will not be teaching in the summer. It took a minute to digest that I would not be teaching this summer, but I will say that I do have this sense of relief. In past years, it just became a part of my norm/routine, but as priorities change so does the routine. So, instead of teaching I will be in the archives full-time starting next month in Chicago! I was fortunate to receive a summer fellowship through the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC), where I will be able to dive into the crates and examine the presence and importance (past and present) of Black female creatives and characters in comics and cartoons specifically within Chicago. I am really excited to have this opportunity, as it will play a huge role in my upcoming book project.
And after spending some time in the Chi’ I will come back to Richmond and tackle the archives on my own campus (VCU) and dive into the Comic Arts Collection! Let’s just say it will definitely be a productive summer, and I am very excited to get to work!
In addition to the work, you gotta make sure you get a chance to leisurely play a little bit! And with certain places returning back to some sense of normalcy, I will definitely continue exploring my new city (and other cities) while also squeezing in some R&R. Some of that R&R will be me getting my read on!! And I already have a few books that I cannot wait to read (a few you can find on my monthly book recommendations list). My balcony is going to get a lot of attention!!
Plus, this summer is going to be all about discovery and re-discovery. As I quickly approach ’40’ in a few months, I am continuing to learn more and more about myself (professionally and personally). The summer is a perfect time to recharge, recalibrate, and rejuvenate!!
Now that the school year is finished, what is on your agenda? How will you spend your time this summer?
As I close out the Spring semester, I wanted to make sure I shared this upcoming event:
May 20th, 2021 (8pm/ET)– Art Design Chicago Now Program/Terra Foundation for American Art presents, “The Past and Future of Comics”
The future of comic books belongs to Black women. In many cases drawing on Afrofuturism to tell their own stories, Black women comic book artists and writers are redefining the genre and innovating new ways to think about identity, race, and gender. Join Black future feminist and pop culture scholar Dr.Grace D. Gipson and Chicago cartoonist Bianca Xunise (Say Her Name) for a conversation about the history and future of comic books in Chicago and the real superheroes of the genre: Black women authors and illustrators, and their protagonists.
This program is free to all with registration. Registered guests will receive the link to watch via email in advance of the premiere. The event will premiere on YouTube on May 20th at 7pm/CT (8 pm/ET).
Tune in as Dr. Robinson and I close out our conversation on the HBO series “Lovecraft Country” with episode 9 (“Rewind 1921”) and episode 10 (“Full Circle”)!!
In this episode, we take a deep dive exploring the closing of the series!! We went deep with this episode, discussing the Tulsa massacre, grief and loss, legacy of trauma, closure, and wisdom out the mouths of babes…So sad that the series has come to an end, but grateful for its existence!!!
Closing out this month on Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute, BFF intern Jaya dives back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an analysis and some commentary on the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier!!
With the ending of Wandavision, Marvel was set to release its latest series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a show following two characters that when all is said and done we do not really know. But as the episodes started coming out there became a clear divide between the praise Bucky Barnes was sent and the lack of praise and comments for Sam Wilson. Essentially Sam Wilson is being treated as an accessory within his own show.
As the show ratings progressed, it became known that Sam Wilson was not the reason why the Marvel fandom liked the show. This is nothing new, Black superheroes are constantly pushed behind their white counterparts, and are treated less than by a majority of the marvel fandom, (mostly from dudebros and uneducated fans). What most of the fandom lacks in seeing is what they deem Sam Wilson is worth. Within a week of the first two episodes Sam Wilson was at the bottom of polls conducted by various fan run sites and pop culture news outlets. For example, one had Sam polling at 11% while Zemo was at 20% (according to Fandom Wikipedia). This is a noticeable difference. It was not until the fourth episode that Sam Wilson started to gain traction as a result of John Walker, the government appointed Captain America bludgeoning an innocent person to death (episode 3). It’s almost as if Sam had to prove his worth in the eyes of the Marvel fandom in order for him to gain credibility.
As a Bucky and Sam fan myself, I noticed how Bucky polled very high early on in the show, while Sam stayed low. Interestingly enough, in the first few episodes Bucky had more lines than he did in the MCU movies, but this does not mean he was better in any way than Sam. Time and time again this pattern repeats itself, Black superheroes whether they have their own movie, or show, constantly have to prove their worth or earn their credibility in the eyes of a majority of the Marvel fandom. An early example of this is James Rhodes and Tony Stark. Through the Iron Man franchise Rhodey is treated as a sidekick or an accessory to the playboy philanthropist. We get very little backstory about Rhodey and he’s treated almost like a filler character. This continues even in the Avengers movies where Rhodey is seen as the sidekick. Even now, decades later after the last Iron Man movie, the Marvel fandom still treats him as a sidekick and not his own character due to Marvel’s lack of character development.
After watching the finale it seems even more obvious that Sam had to prove himself as a character for people to like him more, whereas Bucky was already well liked. Additionally, the finale received the lowest ratings, which is interesting because this episode is the first time we see Sam really step into his role as Captain America. On Instagram only a DAY after Sam took up the mantle people were making their own edits of Sam in the suit, along with tweets of who should be the next Captain America after as if Sam did not just become Captain America. This further proves how much Sam Wilson is treated as a side character/ accessory in his own show. As stated earlier, the Marvel fandom has shown this pattern time and time again. This is an issue that Marvel writers must deal with moving forward. A step in the right direction would be to hire more diverse writers so we can stop this pattern, because as a Black Marvel fan this constant pattern is tiring and irritating.
So I definitely wanted to make sure I share this webinar/forum that is happening today and tomorrow!!
BlackPlanet, AOL chats, archive, #BeforeBlackTwitter, Black enclaves, digital divide, Black blog-sphere, digital spaces these and many other topics will be discussed in this 2-day event!!
Archiving the Black Web National Forum
April 29-30th, 2021
The forum is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and will focus on strategies for collecting and preserving Black history and culture online as well as developing a community of practice for Black cultural memory organizations and practitioners interested in web archiving. The culturally relevant yet highly ephemeral nature of web-published content by and about Black people is at risk of being lost forever and as part of this forum we plan to not only discuss preservation practices for Black web content but discuss the history and future of how Black people participate in online spaces.
The project is being led by the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, in partnership with Shift Collective, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Spelman College Archives, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, and the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.
Cue the music and push play on Tony! Toni! Toné! “Anniversary” and “Feels Good”… !!
On this day 18 years ago on the great campus of Clark Atlanta University, myself and 23 other amazing Black women became a part of the illustrious sisterhood that is Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Sigma Chapter!! What a glorious day!!
April 17th, 2003 was the day that the “24 Vibrant Visionaries of Virtue” made their debut into a lifelong sisterhood!!
And I could not ask for a better group of women to cross the burning sands with and enter into Delta land! Oh to be a Delta Girl!!
We getting up there Ladies!! 🙂 Cheers to many more Deltaversaries!!
Just in case you may have missed last week’s episode of Conversations with Beloved and Kindred, I got you covered!!
In this episode, Dr. Robinson and I break down episodes 7 and 8 of Lovecraft Country. Much like the previous episodes, these episodes were very much imaginative, personal and focused on a particular moment. However, what really sets these episodes a part from the earlier ones were their centering, specifically, on the Black woman and Black girl experiences. As two Black women who have experienced various perspectives of Black girlhood (southern and midwestern) to currently navigating Black womanhood both episodes are very relatable.
Being able to not only acknowledge and focus on the many layers of their experiences (trauma, resistance, joy, naming, anger, etc.) is essential because it allows for their stories to be seen as real made visible to a large audience.
To hear more about what we thought, check it out below:
On next time, we will discuss the 2018 supernatural/sci-fi/superhero/drama film Fast Colors from director Julia Hart and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, and Saniyya Sidney. Here in this film we get to see #BlackGirlMagic, Black Female Star Power and the Black Female Imaginary on full display!!
I am excited to share that I will be participating in The University of Oklahoma-Center for Literary Studies: African & African American Studies Scholar Series-Spring 2021 !! My talk will be on “Re-Writing the Script: Black Imaginings of Trauma, Politics, and Pop Culture”!
This event is free and open to the public! See details below:
Join me on April 12 at 3:00 pm/ET (2:00 pm/CST) ! Zoom Meeting Information or you can access the Zoom via Meeting ID: 935 5470 7128 and Passcode: 63714170
Let me start out by saying…Wow!! One thing is for sure, television and film has definitely bounced back even in the midst of a pandemic. These days streaming television shows and films is a whole new experience! And these new trailers are proof that there is definitely not going to be a shortage of content anytime soon!
See for yourself the new films and television series set to premiere in the coming weeks!
*Warner Bros. Mortal Kombat (Set to hit theaters and HBO Max on April 23rd)
*Netflix Yasuke: The Black Samurai (Streaming begins April 29th)
*Marvel Studios’ Black Widow (Set to hit theaters and Disney+ [Premier Access] on July 9th)
*Warner Bros. Space Jam: A New Legacy (Set to hit theaters and HBO Max on July 16th)
*Season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery (Streaming on Paramount + in late 2021)
Looks like we gonna have a great Spring and Summer!!
So a sista has been on the grind, making moves and progress, and feeling real good about life! And with being on the grind, I have a few exciting events to prepare for in the coming days!!
Check out some of my upcoming events below:
Friday, April 9th: “Alumni Art Talk” …Centennial High School (Champaign, IL) [My old high school :-)]
Sunday, April 11th: “‘I Am’: Black Feminist Futures and Possibilities in the Academy” (Invited Panelist)...AERA Presidential Sessions-2021 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Virtual Annual Meeting
“Name it, where do you want to be, who do you want to be? Name it, name it!”~ Beyond C’est
Using Misha Green’s story of Hippolyta Freeman from the “I Am” episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Country as a jumping point, this panel explores educational responsibility through a deeper understanding of Black womyn navigating the academy using afro-futurist, Black feminist, and critical race feminist lenses. Panelists grapple with themes from across their work (i.e., educational law, inquiry and methodology, the professoriate, and pop culture) to discuss possibilities where Black womyn not only survive, but thrive and craft spaces of liberation and freedom in and beyond neoliberal educational spaces happy to benefit from their myriad contributions while simultaneously devaluing their humanity.
[Session Participants: Chair: Natasha N. Croom (Clemson University); Participants: Venus E. Evans-Winters (Independent Scholar); Grace Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University); Treva Lindsey (The Ohio State University); Esther Oganda Ohito (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill); Lawanda Ward (The Pennsylvania State University)]
Monday, April 12th: “Re-Writing the Script: Black Imaginings of Trauma, Politics, and Pop Culture” (Series Speaker)…The Center for Literary Studies (CLS)-University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)
Let’s just say I am super siked about these upcoming events. Whether it is sharing the stage with scholars that you admire and respect, giving back to your community, or just simply geeking out, the above events will definitely be one’s to remember!! It’s always exciting to be in one’s element and engage in material that you are passionate about, especially in today’s society!
Before March ends I had to make sure you got your monthly feature from Black Future Feminist Intern Jaya!! Not only do we have a new feature, but it will be housed under a new name, Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute!!
This month Jaya is offering a commentary on the Amazon Studios film, One Night in Miami (2020). Check it out below:
Although One Night in Miami is based on various moments (with fictional dialogue) between singer Sam Cooke, civil rights activist Malcolm X, boxer Cassius Clay, and football star Jim Brown, during an actual event the film somehow balanced out these large historical figures so that audiences can visualize them as real people. Most times when discussing Malcom X we only see him as a huge pivotal figure, but rarely as confidant, friend, or father. In this movie, each figure is presented in a more digestible manner. Additionally, this movie has an inviting feel that draws you into this filmic story. Simply put, this movie gives new meaning to the bonds of friendship, and how one night together can open new wounds, while mending old ones. Through the many conversations, we see how each of these men bring us into their deep dialogue, while also exposing audiences to the struggles of that time. While each of the men saw themselves as brothers and friends, like family and friends they had their disagreements, mainly around civil rights, but managed to understand and ultimately respect their differences. Even though the film delivers a lighthearted feel, it also shows moments when you are snapped back into reality. In particular, we see this in Malcolm’s uneasiness and concern with being followed and the constant feeling that a wave of death is in the air.
Overall, this movie shined a fresh new light and a more human side to these important, complex historical figures. Even the performances from the actors were spot on from their dialect to small details, which only enhanced the movie. The conflicts between characters are perfectly done. Additionally, the cinematography adds another layer of greatness from the bird’s eye view of the boxing match, to seeing Sam pull you in with his melodic voice, and Jim Brown in the viewfinder.
For a directorial debut, from Regina King, this is an amazing movie! Moreover, the idea of seeing these figures act normal and interact with each other during their last days is something that will leave your heart hurting. In the end, each actor’s performance will leave you breathless and wanting more!!
You will be able to find Jaya’s monthly features as well as other engaging and fun content in the “Resources” section of the site!!
Just in case you missed yesterday’s episode, you can catch Dr. Robinson and I in our newest episode of Conversations with Beloved and Kindred !! Here is a film that takes horror and social thrillers to a whole new level!!
Check it out below:
On next time, we will discuss episode 7 (“I Am.”) and 8 (“Jig-a-Bobo”) of Lovecraft Country!! These next two episodes will embody a great deal including such topics as Black women’s empowerment, Black girl experiences, self-discovery, historical legacies, and confronting the past to protect the future.
I wanted to share this “Playtesting Opportunity” from Amebous Labs! Do you have an interest in learning about playtesting or becoming a playtester? If so, Amebous Labs might have a great opportunity for you!! Take their survey and see if you qualify to be a playtester for their new VR game LOAM (headsets are not required to participate).
Amebous Labs is fueled by a team of creators and innovators. Much like an amoeba, we transform and evolve to produce the latest that immersive technology has to offer. By combining sight, sound, and movement in virtual reality, we create games that thrill the senses. We transport our players to a world of adventure and wonder, unlike anything they’ve experienced before.
For more information on being a Loam Playtester, click on the SURVEY link!!
Alright now folks!! We switching it up on you with this next episode!! Taking you across the pond with the 2020 Horror/Social Thriller film from Netflix, His House.
In this conversation, Dr. Robinson and I will explore how a refugee couple (Rial and Bol) make a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but also how they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.
I can personally co-sign on this great opportunity, as I served as Summer Editorial Intern while in my doctoral program. After participating in this program, I would quickly move up in the ranks becoming an Editorial Assistant, then to Assistant Editor for Black Perspectives and currently serving as secretary for the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).
So for those that may be interested, here is some more information about the internship program.
About the Internship
Interns will work closely with the blog editors on a part-time basis during the summer months and receive practical experience in academic blogging. Each intern will contribute to the publication of the blog in a variety of aspects including research, copy-editing, fact checking, formatting and publicity (via social media). Interns will receive a stipend and a complimentary one-year membership in AAIHS. The internship is virtual, which means that interns only need access to a computer and internet.
The 3-month internship also offers young scholars an opportunity to sharpen their writing skills and receive personalized feedback on their writing. It provides interns with access to a diverse network of early career bloggers (and professors), and the opportunity to publish their pieces on a popular academic blog.
Currently enrolled in an accredited academic institution; graduate students (PhD and MA students) and advanced undergraduate students (rising seniors only).
Preference will be given to candidates who major/specialize in History and/or African American Studies. However, we welcome applications from candidates in a variety of fields including English, Journalism, Political Science, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies, International Relations and America Studies.
Must be motivated, detailed-oriented, and possess strong writing skills.
Must have a strong knowledge base and keen interest in Black thought, history and culture.
Must have an interest in public writing and social media.
Must be interested in working with a diverse group of scholars who are passionate about Black thought, history, and culture.
Must be willing to devote approximately 5 hours per week to assisting with the blog; and be willing to attend mandatory training sessions online (scheduled to take place in mid-to-late May).
Application Materials Needed
A cover letter (please introduce yourself; explain why you’re interested in this opportunity; and highlight relevant skills and experience that make you an ideal candidate for the internship).
5-10 page writing sample
One recommendation letter from a professor/mentor. Applicants must arrange to have one recommendation letter submitted via email (email@example.com) no later than April 1, 2021.
The application deadline is April 1, 2021 (11:59PM EST)
For additional information and where to apply, go here !! And please feel free to share with your networks!!
As I continue to dive into my new city, I am super excited to share this CFC (Call For Contributions) on “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” in which I am serving as the lead editor!! It is open to all and you do not have to reside in Richmond to contribute! See below for more information!
VCU Publishing seeking contributions to ‘Imagining Black Futures in Richmond’* The online anthology aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
VCU Publishing — which amplifies VCU scholarly and research findings and provides publishing opportunities for students and faculty — is seeking contributions for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond,” a curated open access anthology that will imagine and explore futures for Richmond through an Afrofuturist lens.
VCU Publishing, part of VCU Libraries, is hoping to receive Afrofuturist works from diverse authors — both academic and community members — as well as diverse disciplines and perspectives. These contributions could include any discipline and in many forms, whether they be scholarly essays, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual media (for example, photo essays or comic or graphic art), or interviews.
Authors do not have to reside in the Richmond area, but the work in some way must address the city, which continues to grapple with past and present racism and inequality. And since VCU is woven into the fabric of Richmond, VCU Publishing is also interested in works that embrace or challenge the university’s position in the community. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, the project aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
“I am excited to take part in this multidisciplinary anthology project with VCU Publishing,” said Gipson, whose research interests include Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. “As a new resident to Richmond and to VCU, I look forward to learning more about the city of Richmond and the many ways that it explores the Black imaginary space.”
Afrofuturism has been defined by journalist and filmmaker Ytasha Womack as “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation” that “redefines culture and notions of blackness for today and the future” while combining “elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.”
Building on the aspirations and explorations of W.E.B. Du Bois’ scholarly work as well as his speculative fiction, and moving forward to encompass popular culture in its broadest sense, Afrofuturism offers a conceptual springboard for an imagined future for the greater Richmond area that can be expressed through essays, scholarly studies and creative works. A future where, in the words of Du Bois, all are judged “by their souls and not by their skins.”
The idea for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” arose out of discussions on future directions for VCU Publishing following the publication of “The Politics of Annexation” alongside renewed calls for racial justice in summer 2020.
Jimmy Ghaphery, associate dean for scholarly communications and publishing at VCU Libraries, said he is excited to see how “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” “can reflect a rich history of community activism in the city, and establish Richmond as a nexus for imagining and creating a new and more just future for the South and the United States.”
The project, he added, is expected to include a hands-on paid publishing experience for a VCU student.
Sam Byrd, scholarly publishing librarian at VCU Libraries, said the team is hoping to receive an array of materials that “amaze us, that we hadn’t dreamed of.”
“Richmond is a changing city,” he said. “The monuments starting to come down may be the most visible sign of that, but there has been so much more work going on before, during and after, from so many different voices. I hope this project can amplify that diversity and energy and give us some creative paths to move forward on.”
The deadline to contribute to “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” is July 1. Authors will retain copyright for their work and must be willing to have the work shared and preserved by VCU Publishing.
Authors can contribute their work online (Gmail account required). Alternatively, they can attach their file in email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including their name and the title of their contribution. The book is projected to publish in late spring 2022. For more details or further inquiries, VCU Publishing can be contacted at email@example.com.
Like clockwork, I’m ready for ya!! Just in case you missed it on yesterday, you can catch Thursday’s episode of Conversations with Beloved and Kindred here! And as I said to you before, these two episode definitely hit deep to the core! There is much to process and this is ONLY the beginning!!
The remaining episodes are sure to take us on even deeper dives through Lovecraft Country!!
Check it out below:
And on next time we will travel across the pond over to London to discuss the 2020 Netflix horror, thriller film His House, directed by Remi Weekes.
Hope you guys are still hanging in there with us as we continue our conversation on the HBO series, Lovecraft Country!! Our next conversation dives into Episode 5: “Strange Case” and Episode 6: “Meet Me in Daegu”!!
The journey continues with Lovecraft Country and as always we are excited to dive into another episodic adventure this time with Tic, Leti, Montrose, and Ruby!!
Remember you can watch it here on Thursday March 11th at 7 pm/ET!! For more information on the event, see here!
So I have some exciting news to share…Black Future Feminist now has a logo!! Thanks to ATL’s own “West End Print Shop” and logo designer Kweku Vassall I have a vibrant and “eye-catching” (lol) logo!!
In addition to the amazing work, the customer service was also top notch!! When I tell you Kweku captured everything I was thinking in this logo, he truly made this Black Future Feminist vision a reality!! read my mind!!
As always, I got the goods for you!! As you move you into the weekend, tune into our latest episode of Conversations with Beloved & Kindred as we discuss and celebrate the 1989 film, Harlem Nights!! So sit back, relax, chill, get your snacks and favorite beverage, and enjoy the ride!!
Check it out below:
Next time, we will discuss episode 5 (“Strange Case”) and 6 (“Meet Me in Daegu”) of Lovecraft Country!! At this point in the series, we are definitely at a turning point…to where you will have to tune in to see!! These next two episodes are definitely going to hit you in your core…real deep!
In the spirit of Black History Month, I wanted to make sure I shared with my BFF family a great article in the “Washington Post” from a colleague/mentor Dr. Keisha Blain on the “Five Myths about Black History.”
Each February since 1976, Americans have celebrated Black History Month. Established by historian Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week in 1926, the commemoration developed over 50 years until it became Black History Month to mark the contributions of Black people. Despite the significance of Black history, far too many Americans don’t grasp its centrality to U.S. history. This lack of knowledge helps spread myths about the Black past.
Dr. Keisha N. Blain is an associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is a co-editor of Made by History, The Washington Post’s daily section for historical analysis. She is a co-editor of “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.“
“True beauty is skin deep!!”….“Loving the skin that I’m in!”
As part of my regular routine, every morning I scroll through my Apple News app to see what is going on in the world. And yesterday I got wind of some exciting news!! Now as someone who is a collector of children’s books (particularly ones that feature Black children), so as you can imagine I was excited to know and get Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o’s 2019 book, “Sulwe”. This is a visually, captivating book that speaks to the Black girl experience, as it tells the story of a young, dark-skinned Black girl who wants to be accepted and seen as beautiful. And even before reading the first page of the book I was immediately drawn in based off of the cover!! All the varying blues and purple colors, the stars twinkling in the background, and then right front and center and image of a precocious Black girl reaching out! Here is a book that is literally talking to my 7-year old self!!
As noted by Nyong’o, “The story of Sulwe is one that is very close to my heart…It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love. Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy.”
That excitement would continue as I would learn that Netflix has plans to unveil “Sulwe” (a New York Times bestselling children’s book) as an animated musical feature with Nyong’o as producer!!
This is definitely something to celebrate as the animated musical feature will continue to highlight and showcase what the book has already established by providing another platform for Black girls to embrace the idea of #selflove; while also addressing issues of colorism and re-writing the beauty standard narrative. Having this message personified through various mediums of popular culture is crucial and can and is life-changing! For little Black girls to see themselves presented in a book and on the television screen that is shown in an empowering light, is quite powerful!!
Folks!! Oooooooo man, I’m excited about this next episode of “Conversations with Beloved and Kindred”!! Think the imaginary…Harlem…Black Excellence…Black wealth… For episode 4, Dr. Robinson and I dive into the 1989 “blassic” (‘Black Classic’ tune in to hear how we came up with the term lol) Harlem Nights!
Remember you can watch it here on Thursday February 25th at 7 pm/ET!! For more information on the event, see here!
Wow!! February is truly flying by, but it is definitely one for the books.
As we get ready to close out Black History Month, I wanted to make sure I shared with you all some upcoming events in which you can see me in action”!!
February 23rd, 2021
VCU Unlocking Health Equity Panel-“Are Cultural Images Fueling our Bias?” [Watch the Event Here!] Event begins at 12 pm/ET!
Chesterfield Public Library-Black History Month Program, “Black Women in American Pop Culture:”A discussion on the various portrayals of Black women in American pop culture. [Register for the event here!] Event begins at 7 pm/ET!
February 24th, 2021
The New Commons Project-University of Maine Farmington-“What’s Your RPG Fantasy?: Let’s Talk Blackness, Politics, and Gaming” (Virtual Lecture)…(Farmington, ME)…[Watch Here]
Richmond Public Library System Black History Month Discussion- “The Black Family and its Representations, Identity, and Complexities” (Panelist)…(Richmond, VA)…[Register for the event here] Event begins at 6 pm/ET
February 25th, 2021
VCU Activities Programming Board- “Education, Covid-19, and Classroom Learning”: A open dialogue on the current state of education, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact on today’s learning, (Panelist)…(Richmond, VA)…Event begins at 6 pm/ET!
Conversations with Beloved and Kindred–Episode 4: “Harlem Nights”…Auburn Avenue Research Library…[Live Streaming Here]… Event begins at 7 pm/ET!
Berkeley Center for New Media- “Fandom+Piracy Keynote w/Rebecca Wanzo: “How Should We Theorize Injury in Fan Studies?” (Panelist/Interlocuter)…(Berkeley, CA)…[Register Here]…Event begins at 8 pm/ET!
Peep Game Comix and The Comic Book Shopping Experience present the 2021 ‘Black Comix Universe’ Virtual Comic Con
Two of my favorite things Black History and comics…And what better way to close out Black History Month than with a virtual comic con!! So as part of Black History Month, Peep Game Comix and The Comic Book Shopping Experience will be closing out with a 2-day virtual comic con, Black Comix Universe; the virtual comic con event will take place on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28!
The purpose of the event is to educate comic book fans about the amazing work and impact Black creators are having in the comic book industry. The 16 hour event will stream live on several platforms including: Youtube, Facebook, Twitch and others. ~Peep Game Comix
During these two eventful days there will be a host of panel presentations along with featured guests like Afua Richardson (Illustrator, Indie Publisher,Musician), John Jennings (Illustrator, Publisher), Tim Fielder (Illustrator, Author), Joseph Illidge (Editor, Writer), and more!!
This is a con you do not want to miss…I know I won’t!!
For more information about the Virtual Con and Peep Game Comix see here!!
Sometimes you just gotta go back and reflect on what made you who you are today!! Receiving one of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2021 has really taken me down memory lane! Ahhh the good ol’ days!!
Here is a peek into some of my experiences growing up in Champaign, IL!!
When I tell you I love to read that is really an understatement! Outside of traveling and going to the movies, I have always loved picking up a book and getting my reading fix. I remember as a kid participating in reading challenges in school and at the local library, going to the Scholastic Book fair, and Now my fondest memory when it comes to reading was the Pizza Hut Book-It program, collecting those 5 golden stars was the key to many dinners that included a personal pan pizza. (All Cheese for me!!) What a cool way to encourage reading! And for many of my friends it “low-key” became a competition to not only see who could read the most, but also who could collect the most pizza coupons. One thing was for sure, my mama and grandma did not have to worry about whether I was into reading!
The importance of reading has always and continues to be a regular topic of conversation and discussion, especially in the K-12 school system. We are at a point, where you can literally access a book or magazine via your phone, tablet, iPad, laptop, and of course old school physical book. And even though there are many avenues for reading books these days (Kindle, Audible, AudioBooks Now, Downpour, Apple Audio Books, Scribd, Libro.fm, and many more) it is nothing like having the hard, physical copy. For me it’s all about being able to turn the page, fold the corners, write in the date/year when I got it, and using a creative, colorful bookmark.
But I could go on and on about my love of books and reading!! As a result of this bibliophilia, I wanted to make sure that I shared with you on a monthly basis some book recommendations. Each month I will share my top 5 books to read and/or add to your library. These books will range from memoirs, to academic research books, to graphic novels, and much more. Each month will be a new surprise!! So without further ado here is my February 2021 Book Recommendations: