A Professor’s Thoughts

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Hispanic Heritage Month-Dr. G’s Bonus Book Recommendations

“We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.” ~National Hispanic Heritage Month/Library of Congress site

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th), I wanted to offer a bonus list of book recommendations particularly for youth!! Gotta make sure the kids get their list too!! You know Dr. G always has a special place for the youth!!

A phrase that always comes to mind and that will be forever ingrained is the notion that #RepresentationMatters!! Regardless of it is popular culture, school curriculums, hiring practices, and especially the materials that read, everyone should feel as though they can and are represented. As I have noted early on, reading has always been a powerful tool for change and great way to find peace and space/place to belong.

It is so necessary that Black and Brown children/youth are able to visually see their experiences drawn and written. Knowing that they can see themselves lets them know they have value within this world. What better way to do that than through a book!! Many of these stories, as well as others, pay tribute to the author’s cultural background, tell familial and community stories and also play a role in de-stigmatizing existing stereotypes and tropes. Additionally, this visual work can inspire, educate, and motivate the next generation!!

So here is a sample of great reads highlighting Afro/Hispanic/Latinx children to add to your literary collection/bookshelves:

Also, for more information about National Hispanic Heritage Month check out the following links:



~Dr. G

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s September Book Recommendations

Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

A new month…A new season…A new list of recommendations!!

As you prepare to get cozy with your comfy sweaters, hot apple cider, pumpkin spice latte, or my new fave cinnamon crunch latte make sure you get your next piece of reading material. I know I am looking forward to my next book so I can chill out on my balcony and take in that Fall breeze!!

And with that said check out this month’s recommendations below!! Add them to your cart, pre-order, and/or visit your local bookstore to get your copies!!

Remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Happy Tuesday!! You ready for some new trailers and to start scheduling your tv and film plans?? Check out these new ones blow:

Halloween Kills (In theaters October 15th)

The Wheel of Time (Streaming November 19th on Amazon Prime Video)

Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye (Streaming November 24th on Disney+)

Don’t Look Up (In select theaters December 10th and Streaming on Netflix December 24th)

Moonfall (In theaters February 4th, 2022)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Feature Spotlight, On The Radar

Inside Shang-Chi’s evolution from forgotten comic book character to big-screen superhero*

~Scottie Andrew, CNN Entertainment

Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings First Reactions

So a couple a weeks ago I had the opportunity to offer a few of my thoughts about Asian representation in comic books and its relationship with the latest Marvel film, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings for CNN Entertainment!! To view the complete article see here.

Check out some of the snippets below:

Shang-Chi’s early issues relied on some problematic stereotypes

Every iteration of Shang-Chi has a similar throughline: He’s always a spectacular martial artist, always playing tug-of-war with his former life as a fighter and always, always tormented by daddy issues. That blueprint was created by Englehart and Jim Starlin, the two-man team who brought the character to life (Englehart, perhaps best known for his dark, noir take on Batman, has also created characters like Star-Lord of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Starlin is responsible for MCU icons like its biggest villain, Thanos.)

In the early 1970s, Englehart and Starlin approached Detective Comics (DC) with an idea: a comic book take on the David Carradine series “Kung Fu.” (The series has been criticized for its use of “yellowface,” or casting White actors as Asian characters. Carradine is White but starred as a part-Chinese martial artist.)Starlin, an artist, loved the martial arts element of the story, while writer Englehart said he was interested in delving into Taoism and other philosophies to flesh out his protagonist. The two thought they’d found a match with “Kung Fu” — but DC thought the “kung fu craze was going to disappear,” Starlin said, and passed on the idea.

So the pair took it next to Marvel, whose executives agreed only after insisting that the pair inject some pre-existing intellectual property into their comic, both men told CNN.

In this case, the company had the rights to the character Fu Manchu, a racist caricature of a Chinese man created by British author Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century. The villain was then “grafted onto the series” as Shang-Chi’s father, Starlin told CNN in an August interview. (Racist depictions of Asian characters had appeared in comics before this, like the egg-shaped villain “Egg Fu” in a 1965 Wonder Woman issue and the 1940 character “Ebony White” in the early comic, “The Spirit,” said Grace Gipson, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies race and gender within comics.)

Gipson, a pop culture scholar who studies race and gender within comics, said hiring writers of color like Yang to helm series about characters of color is an improvement, but it “is really not a hard task.” She said while comics creators have made great strides in deconstructing norms of who a comic book reader is and what storylines they want to see, the hiring of creators of color needs to happen consistently.”It’s about making sure the voices of those being represented always have a seat at the table as well as a microphone to speak,” she told CNN.

Still, she said, as a fan of comics herself, she’s enjoyed seeing more representative stories being told in mainstream comics. 

*Repost from CNN

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

Dr. G’s Upcoming Events…

In the great words of creator and music producer Timbaland, “It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t of left you…”

Been off the grid for a little bit, finding balance with school, work, life and navigating everything in-between. The Fall season is upon us and exciting times are ahead. And I wanted to make sure I shared with you all some upcoming events that I will be taking part in, check them out below:

  • September 13th: “It’s the Microaggressions For Me: Let’s Talk Pop Culture, Inclusion, Unmasking Privilege, Navigating Inequities, and Taking Action”, Having Tough Conversations Series, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

A conversation about confronting privilege, addressing microaggressions, equity, inclusiveness, and what it really means to be an ally through the lens of popular culture. 

  • September 15th (2pm/ET): Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) Summer Fellows Presentation Series-“Telling HER-story and Continuing a Legacy: Chicago’s Black Girl Magic in Comics” [To attend send an email with “Fellows” in the subject line to bmrcrsvp@lib.uchicago.edu ]

A presentation recounting my summer research fellowship experience on the legacy of Black women in comics in Chicago, IL.

  • September 22nd (7:15pm/ET): Making Our Stories Visible- Humanizing the Black Experience Through Television, Freedom School 3.0 Lecture Series (Department of African American Studies at Georgia State University & Auburn Avenue Research Library), [Register Here]

2019 and 2020 served as a period filled with sadness and pain, protest, laughter and excitement, creativity, and truth-telling particularly from the Black perspective. During this time, several new series entered the television landscape, which have contributed to ensuring that various Black voices are more visible and not minimized or forgotten. More specifically, television series such as HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show and Lovecraft Country and Starz’s P-Valley are effectively providing spaces to humanize the Black experience while engaging with the past, present, and future. Through this talk I will specifically engage with the abovementioned television series and how they each center Black voices, while serving as visual outlets of re-telling, re-sharing and remembering Black stories and experiences. 

To get additional information and keep up with what’s going on in Dr. G’s world make sure to check out my Events page!!

Happy Sunday!!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

New Month!! New Week!! And of course New Trailers!! Go some good stuff for you all this week especially as it relates to Fall TV returning!! Check them out below:

The Wonder Years (Season Premiere September 22nd [Wednesdays] on ABC)

Season 3-Doom Patrol (Streaming on HBO Max September 23rd)

Queens (Season Premiere October 19th [Tuesdays] on ABC )

Marvel Studios’ Eternals (In theaters November 5th)

Red Notice (Streaming on Netflix November 12th)

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Another dose of television and movies to add to the calendar!! Got some good ones for you!!

Check them out below!!

Impeachment: American Crime Story (Premieres on FX September 7th)

Season Premiere-Y: The Last Man (Streaming on FX/Hulu September 13th)

Final Season-Dear White People, Vol. 4 (Streaming on Netflix September 22nd)

A Journal for Jordan (In theaters December 25th)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

Year 2!! The Journey Continues….New Semester, New Beginnings…

Well today is the day!! Year 2 as an Assistant Professor in African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)!!

Last year was one definitely to remember…I had just moved to Richmond in the middle of a pandemic, VCU had pretty much asked professors and instructors to change their formats for teaching, and my apartment became not a just a place of residence but also a work place. This year, while there is still a pandemic, people are getting vaccinated, students are returning to campus, and majority of the classes are in-person (with mask requirements). The in-person part is really exciting to me because I thrive off being able to see my students live and in living color, it just feeds the soul!!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So this semester, my teaching schedule has one new addition! I have the privilege of teaching the Capstone Seminar course for Africana Studies students and I will also teach the Theories and Foundations in Africana Studies course for the second year! The Capstone Seminar course is definitely going to be a new venture for me as I will be guiding students through a semester long research project. It’s more than just teaching but also serving as a guide for this major undertaking. I have always wanted the opportunity to serve as mentor and I feel like this will be great preparation. In addition to the teaching I have also been tasked with serving as the advisor for the “Black Excellence at VCU” organization for which I am pretty siked! All in all, I am very much looking forward to this Fall semester!!

Now as this new semester begins, I will be honest there are still butterflies in the stomach and a little nervousness, but it is to be expected. I strive to always give 110% to my work, my students, and myself so my daily prayer is that I find that balance with all three and just do my part in being the best person, scholar, and professor that I can be. My one main goal that I always have every semester is that my students leave my classes with at least one thing that they did not know prior to the course. It may seem simple and minimal, but major for me. That one new thing, idea, thought that a student leaves with can be a life-changer and to know that I may play a role in that is a huge accomplishment!

AUGUST 24th, 2021 the journey continues!!

And to all those who are starting today or have already started WELCOME BACK!! As the summer winds down and my favorite month comes to a close (SMILE), it is time to get back into the routine! Time to get those creative juices flowing again…Time to inspire, encourage, and motivate (teachers and students)…Time to make some new memories!!

So let’s blaze some trails and seek new horizons!!

Alright that’s enough for the first day, but make sure you stay tuned periodically for updates and check-ins, because trust me I GUARANTEE there will be some memorable moments shared!!

~Dr. G

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s-August Book Recommendations

It’s my BIRTHDAY month (August 16th to be exact!) so you know I gotta bring the heat with this month’s list!! Even added a book for the kids (cause of course you know Dr. G loves the kids!!)!! And the summer is not over yet, so you still got some time to hit the beach and get some good reading in while soaking in that good Vitamin D!!

Photo by Vincent Gerbouin on Pexels.com

So check out this month’s selection and make sure to pre-order, go to your local bookstore, or add to your wishlist!!

  • Maya and the Robot ~Eve L. Ewing
  • Island Queen: A Novel ~Vanessa Riley
  • The Son of Mr. Suleman ~Eric Jerome Dickey
  • Mexican Gothic ~Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Black Buck ~Mateo Askaripour
Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Dropping some new gems for you this week!! One might say an assorted mix of film and television! Check them out below:

Sweet Life: Los Angeles (Streaming on HBO Max August 19th)

The Loud House (Streaming on Netflix August 20th)

Dear Evan Hansen (In theaters September 24th)

La Brea (Season Premiere September 28th on NBC)

House of Gucci (In theaters November 24th)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

Happy Birthday to Me!! Reflecting on 40!!

Another year around the sun, for the 40th time!! Wow time truly does fly when you are having fun!! I have been looking forward to this birthday, and here it is!! Today is a big deal, because (in the age of COVID-19) many have not had the privilege to turn 40 let alone have another birthday!! I get the opportunity to breathe life, run through the ocean, hug my mama, mentor a student, and be a better person!!

Leading up to today I had many thoughts of fear, excitement, joy, curiosity, amazement,… In many ways turning 40 actually feels easier than turning 30. Turning thirty was strange, it was emotional, it was supposed to be exciting, and it was another year of life (that I am thankful for)!! This birthday is one where I am not asking for much, just to be on someone’s beach reading a good summer book. Thankfully I get to do this twice, one on my actual Birthday and again in a few months. Reflecting on my last years of 30s, I realized how much I really enjoy the simple things in life. Don’t get me wrong I like the pomp and circumstance, but I can take it in moderation (lol). The small wins, the little joys that really does work for me.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

40 is one of those milestone birthdays where you either feel like you are getting old or you are re-evaluating life, and it definitely is the latter for me. So much has happened all before this birthday…I lived on both coasts of the U.S., traveled extensively throughout the world, bought a house, got my PhD, in a career that I love, watched my mom retire after 30+ years of work, move to a city that I love, and so much more!! When I think back on all those memories I have truly been blessed and continue to see those blessings!! Going into 40, I felt like I had to check off all these boxes, and grant it I did, but as the weeks and days got closer to August 16th I began to have this sense of clarity and ask myself a few questions. Are you happy Grace? What do you want to achieve that you have not? Is there room for flexibility? What have you let go? And are you putting in the work to make sure you are healthy and happy? These are questions that get answered, but sometimes are asked again, and I’m good with that. Talk about maturing!!

So what’s next…In this new year, new chapter, new book I am taking some sage advice that I got from a good friend of mine…be intentional in not just one aspect of life but in ALL parts!! I have learned that I put 100% (sometimes even more) in my professional work, but when it comes to my personal I will short change myself, and that is not fair. If I can give my all into my work, I should be able to do the same and more for my personal aspects of life. Sometimes you need those reminders, because I know I deserve the best so why not give and treat myself to the best!

On last week I posted a joke about how I was almost 40 but still felt like I’m 20, until I hang out with actual 20 year olds and then I realize, nope Grace you are not a spring chicken lol! But guess what I am totally fine with this realization. These days I treasure taking a nap, I listen to my body when it says it’s getting late time to turn in, I value sitting in my silence and clearing my thoughts, the simple things in life!

So as I walk, better yet stroll into this new year I continue to embrace this adage that my grandma always told me, “One Day at a Time!”

I am very much looking forward to what this year has in store!!

#Hello40 and Welcome to the Party!! Let’s have some fun!!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com
Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

New month and of course a new set of trailers. This week’s line-up is a nice mix of drama, comedy, biopics, and even one for the kids!! Enjoy!!

Check them out below:

Naked Singularity (In theaters August 6th)

The Kissing Booth 3 (Streaming on Netflix August 8th)

Annette (Streaming on Amazon Prime August 20th)

PAW Patrol: The Movie (In theaters August 20th)

King Richard (Streaming on HBO Max November 19th)

Posted in Feature Spotlight, On the Desk...

For all my Foodies!!

In continuing with our Summertime Conversations on ‘Feeling Good’, Kaniqua and I dive into the culinary world to talk about the importance of Black culinary traditions and their relationship to happiness and and joy!! Now I will forewarn you, you will probably want to have a snack on hand, or immediately afterwards, when catching this episode!!

Inspired by Nina Simone’s 1965 classic song “Feelin’ Good”, Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy, is a freeform dialogue that foregrounds how people of African descent create communal agency and collective resilience via the cultivation of joy.

During this episode, Kaniqua and I will discuss and explore traditional Black foodways and how they contribute to the communal expression of collective Black joy and happiness.

Check out the video below:

For more Summertime Conversations, you can go here !!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

This week’s trailer are definitely going to take you on a roller coaster ride! Check them out below:

Dr. Death: The Undoctored Story (Streaming July 29th on Peacock)

UFO (Streaming August 8th on Showtime)

Gone for Good (Streaming begins August 13th on Netflix)

Nine Perfect Strangers (Series begins August 18th on Hulu)

Malignant (In theaters and HBO Max on September 10th)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Feature Spotlight

Chicago Humanities Festival Feature Q&A: “Dr. Grace D. Gipson’s Favorite Comic Book Characters”*

So your girl got a chance to share a few of her comic book faves with the Chicago Humanities Festival! Always love the chance to geek out and share!! Check it out below!!

*Original Post Feature from the Chicago Humanities Festival

Chicago Humanities Festival - Nonprofit Giving Platform | GiveGab

In May 2021 Black future feminist and pop culture scholar Dr. Grace D. Gipson was joined at Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) by Bianca Xunise (Say Her Name) for a conversation about the past and future of comics.

After the program, we spoke to Dr. Gipson about some of her favorite comic book series, characters, and authors.

CHF: In your CHF program, you mentioned comic books and characters (like Dark Horse’s Martha Washington, who grew up in Chicago). Can you talk a little bit more about the history and significance of some of your favorite series, characters, and authors?

1) Storm (X-Men, Marvel Comics)

Gipson: When it comes to selecting my favorite comic book characters, I have a pretty solid line-up. While my introduction into comics was through the funny papers, there would be one character that truly drew me into the genre: Marvel Comics’s Storm from the X-Men.

As a Black woman who not only served as a leader of the X-Men, but also a goddess that controlled the weather elements, Storm as a fictional character provided an example of progressive representation and a fantastical escape.

Her presence in the comic book world made a significant impression on me as a young, Black girl from the Midwest. I was able to see myself, at the center and not on the fringes, within this popular medium that had been dominated primarily by white and male characters. Storm also opened the door for me to discover more Black female characters, as well as Black female comic book writers and artists.

2) Martha Washington (Dark Horse Comics)

Gipson: Another character who would have a significant impact on me personally and professionally is that of Dark Horse Comics’s Martha Washington. Created in the early 1990s, Martha Washington resonated with me in a very close way, considering her character was based in Chicago, IL. As a Champaign, IL native her story literally and figuratively felt close to home.

Martha Washington’s narrative as explored through The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century comic book series sought to showcase a “regular” relatable character that, despite her circumstances, becomes a heroine for her local community and ultimately the world.

Set in the urban space of the Cabrini-Green projects, Martha Washington’s beginnings (which are told in the first issue Give Me Liberty) explore, from a dystopian perspective, a current and relevant story of public housing, crime, poverty, Black youth, adulthood, womanhood, and even patriotism. Uniquely, her story offers a rare opportunity to explore American patriotism from a Black woman’s point of view. This is especially noteworthy considering the lack of Black female leads in comics, during the 1990s.

When it comes to comics, one can never underestimate the power of a diverse story and the impact it can have on all types of readers. These next two characters not only contribute diverse storylines but also have the impact of reaching a young audience. When looking at the landscape of comic book characters, most of them are adults, so it is refreshing to see a Black female youth presence.

3) Raquel “Rocket” Ervin (Milestone Comics)

Gipson: Raquel “Rocket” Ervin from Milestone Comics (a Black publishing company) is one of the earliest examples of a Black teen character that I have encountered. Also, Rocket’s storyline is one of the first comics to deal with complex and practical issues such as teen pregnancy, balancing motherhood, Black mentorship, and community access. And it was done in a way that avoided stereotypes, while providing hope.

As a character influenced by notable figures like Toni Morrison and W.E.B. Du Bois, Rocket provides an existing reality and a story of dedication and perseverance. Although she is deemed as a superhero, for Rocket her true superpower and strength is her ability to inspire.

4) RiRi “Ironheart” Williams (Marvel Comics)

Gipson: Another character that humanizes the Black girl experience is that of Marvel Comics RiRi “Ironheart” Williams. Through RiRi/Ironheart, as a fictional character, she personifies what it means to be a young, gifted, Black teen in today’s society. Her character also shares another look into the STEM world by encouraging Black girls to embrace one’s giftedness and intelligence.

This is a comic that I wish existed when I was a teenager, but nonetheless grateful that young Black girls and the world are able to appreciate it now. What is also significant about the Ironheart story is that it is written by a Black woman and Chicago-native, Eve L. Ewing, this is key as most stories in past comic book history have been written and drawn by white men (thankfully there is a growing landscape of representation).

To know that I am represented on the page and behind the panel inspires and further confirms that Black women and girls deserve to take up space in this popular medium. Ultimately, both Rocket and Ironheart are perfect examples of how comics can rewrite the script regarding Black girlhood and the importance of why “Representation Matters!!”

5) Torchy Brown (created by Jackie Ormes)

Gipson: Lastly, I felt it was important to not just recognize the importance of some of my favorite characters, but also one of my favorite writers/artists. Before there was even a Storm, Martha Washington, Rocket, or Ironheart there was a Black female lead named Torchy Brown created by cartoonist and writer Jackie Ormes. Similar to the Martha Washington character, Jackie Ormes legacy and work would find a home in Chicago.

As the first Black female cartoonist, Ormes was instrumental in resetting the standard in cartooning and comic strips. She did this by creating her own lane of telling stories that primarily featured Black voices, while also challenging the stereotypes and caricatures often presented in mainstream press. With readers from coast-to-coast, Ormes used her comic strip series and panels to discuss unapologetic commentary on such issues as racism, labor and taxes, U.S. Foreign policy, violence against women, unfair housing, segregated schools, and environmental injustice. She was able to use her talents to not only inform but also showcase (while entertain), in full color, the existence of intelligent, stylish and fashionable Black characters (particularly Black women). With Chicago as an honorary character, much of Ormes cartoon and comic strip work mirrored her real life as she was a community advocate and mentor, fundraiser, and trendsetter.

(Snapshot of a few of my faves!! Image Credit: Grace D. Gipson)

To check out the full feature, see here!!

Posted in On the Desk..., On The Radar

Marvel Studios Television and Film Line-up 2021-203

Who is still on a high from that Loki season finale and the Black Widow movie?!! I know I am and definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next!!

Well I got a little info on what is coming up next out of Marvel Studios (film and television), check it out below:

TV Series

  • What If…? [Disney+] (August 11, 2021)
  • Hawkeye [Disney+] (Late 2021)
  • Ms. Marvel [Disney+] (Late 2021)
  • Moon Knight [Disney+] (2022)
  • She-Hulk [Disney+] (2022)
  • Secret Invasion [Disney+] (2022)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special [Disney+] (Holiday 2022)
  • I Am Groot [Disney+]
  • Ironheart [Disney+]
  • Armor Wars [Disney+]
  • Untitled Wakanda Series [Disney+]
  • Okoye Spinoff [Disney+]
  • Echo Spinoff [Disney+]

Movies

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd, 2021)
  • Eternals (In theaters November 5th, 2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (In theaters December 17th, 2021)
  • Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (In theaters March 25th, 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (In theaters May 6th, 2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (In theaters July 8th, 2022)
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (In theaters November 11th, 2022)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (In theaters February 17th, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (In theaters May 5th, 2023)

Looks like there is going to be a lot of interweaving of the MCU films and television shows, which should make things very interesting!! Definitely no shortage of engaging content for the next couple of years!!

Mark your calendars!!

Posted in On The Radar

Calling All Comic Book Creatives and Fans!! “2021 WinC Creative Conference”

Check out this great professional networking opportunity, put on by the Women in Comics Collective International (WinC), to connect with like-minded folks in the comic book community.

The event will take place Thursday July 22nd, 2021 at 12:00 PM/ET!! See more about the event below:

“WinC Creative”, aka WCC, is our new virtual professional event experience! The conference serves to support the professional comic book community with programming directly addressing their needs via professional, educational & wellness workshops!

This one day conference will serve to support the professional comic book community with programming directly addressing their needs via:
  • Professional development panel(s)
  • An industry symposium
  • Wellness workshops

WCC will also have vendors, courtesy of our new “Artist Alley 365” (Debuting in July!) Admission will be Free for WinC members and $3-$6 for non-members.

For more information on Women in Comics Collective International (WinC) and to purchase tickets* see here!!

*All Attendees will receive a Virtual Swag Bag to download Books, Discount Services and More!

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s-July Book Recommendations

This month we are reflecting and celebrating Black girl and woman experiences!! We got a nice mix of novels, memoirs, and Black literature to keep you engaged and entertained!

Check out this month’s selections and pre-order and/or head on over to your nearest bookstore!!

  • Luster A Novel ~Raven Leilani
  • Carefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Pop Culture ~Zeba Blay
  • On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library ~Glory Edim
  • Leaving Breezy Street: A Memoir ~Brenda Myers-Powell w/April Reynolds
  • The Poison Heart ~Kalynn Bayron

Remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in On The Radar

Re-Opening of Broadway with a Fresh New Line-up!!

The curtains will rise again, this Fall, as Broadway theaters will be opening its doors after being shutdown for a year and half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A select new group of plays have been scheduled to premiere through the rest of this year!! But there is more….all seven plays on the fall line-up are by Black playwriters!! Theaters biggest stage will highlight a wide variety of stories including family comedy, drama, hope, survival, and much more! Check out the full line-up below:

  • Pass Over: Setting the tone and beginning the season is playwright Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s three-person play Pass Over directed by Danya Taymor.

A riff on Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ following two black men killing time on a street corner when a white man enters their space.

  • Chicken & Biscuits: Hitting the Broadway stage for the time, Douglas Lyons new play will also feature the youngest Black director in Broadway’s 250+ year history, 27-year-old Zhailon Levingston

The Jenkins family is coming together to celebrate the life of their father — hopefully without killing each other. But any hopes for a peaceful reunion unravel when a family secret shows up at the funeral.

  • Lackawanna Blues: Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson writes, directs, and performs his solo play in which he “embodies more than 20 vibrant characters, creating a richly textured reminiscence that’s inspiring, uplifting and right at home on Broadway.”

Time: 1956. Place: Lackawanna, NY. Would-be philosophers, petty hustlers, lost souls, and abandoned lovers all find refuge, comfort and nourishment at 32 Wasson Avenue, a boarding house where the landlady, Miss Rachel – “Nanny” – rules with the embracing spirit of both earth mother and drill sergeant.

  • Thoughts of a Colored Man: With an ALL-STAR cast ensemble (Dyllón Burnside, Bryan Terrell Clark, Da’vinchi, Luke James, Forrest Mcclendon, Tristan “Mack” Wilds and Keith David), playwright Keenan Scott II and director Steve H. Broadnax III brings to the stage “a mosaic of the inner lives of Black men and heralds the arrival of an essential new voice to the American theater.”

Over the course of a single day in the pulsing heart of Brooklyn, the hopes, sorrows, fears, and joys of seven men reverberate far beyond the barbershops and basketball courts of their community. Vulnerable and vibrant, raw and alive — these are the Thoughts of a Color Man.

  • Trouble in Mind: Originally produced off-Broadway in 1955, a Broadway transfer of the play was announced in 1957, but the production never happened. The acclaimed play from Alice Childress makes its Broadway debut with director Charles Wright-Randolph at the helm.

Wiletta Mayer, an African American actress of a certain age, has spent her career playing stereotypes, trapped on a merry-go-round of mammies, maids, and other menials. The curtain rises on the first day of rehearsal for Chaos in Belleville, a Broadway-bound play that tackles the harsh truths of racism in America. But when those truths spill out of the play and into the rehearsal hall, will Wiletta’s insistence on her dignity cost her the work she desperately needs?

  • Clyde’s: A new play from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey that explores second-chances, reclamation, and what it means to dream.

A truck stop sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at redemption. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them under her thumb, the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream by their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich.

  • Skeleton Crew: Written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Skeleton Crew navigates power dynamics and the power of decision-making.

A makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift and they are pushed to the limits of survival. The final play of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy.

Nothing like seeing Black voices and stories take center stage. As noted by Broadway Black founder Drew Shade,

Seven Black shows coming to Broadway — it’s unprecedented. It’s what we would like to see, especially after the racial reckoning we’ve had in this society over the past year, and more specifically in the theater industry. But we also have to be realistic about the placement of the shows. We have to be realistic about what this may mean for Black artists going forward.

This fall theater season is going to be FIRE!! And I look forward to catching a few of these shows in the coming months!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Got a nice little mix of drama and comedy for you this week with a splash of animation and action!! Take a look and see below:

Turner & Hooch (Streaming on Disney+ July 21st)

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 (Streaming on Netflix July 23rd)

Marvel Studios’ What If…? (Series streaming on Disney+ August 11th)

Season 1-The Chair (Series streaming on Netflix August 20th)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

The South really does have something to say folks…

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse “is an immersive multimedia art exhibition that traces 100 years of African American cultural influence and artistic expression.” This statement really does sum up so eloquently what visitors will see and hear when visiting this exhibition at the VMFA.

So upon walking through the doors, I am greeted with smiles and hello’s by a few VMFA workers, I pick up a brochure and I immediately see a thing of beauty… SLAB, 2021 (1990 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance with custom accessories) [see below]…before you even walk into the actual exhibition one has to take a drive-by (rather walk-by lol) this classic vehicle, which in many ways sets the tone.

(“SLAB, 2021”-By: Richard FIEND Jones [aka International Jones] at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, VA, Picture Courtesy of Grace D. Gipson)

This clean ride brings some joy into my heart and definitely made me smile. But what would come next stops me in my tracks. In the distance, I hear this faint but “chill up your spine” sound reminiscent of “Strange Fruit” sung by Billie Holiday. And as i get closer of course my ears do not deceive me at all, it’s this one lyric “Black bodies swingin’ in the southern breeze” on loop… One moment you hear and see Billie Holiday and then the next you hear and see Jill Scott, while simultaneously you see this video of a little Black girl on a swing enjoying the simple pleasures in life! I was like WOW, I’m just getting started and they GOT me!!

The Dirty South in so many ways is about identity, preservation, labor, expression, pain, joy, faith, tradition, and so much more. There were many moments when I would either get goosebumps or this tingle of my spine ( a couple of times I felt both) after hearing a jarring sonic sound, or gazing at an image that left me speechless. With each room I never knew what to expect, which made the exhibition like this exploratory adventure. But it was also like a Southern scavenger hunt, where I had this internal list of artists and themes that I knew I would have to find. Some of these artists/creatives that I would find included Bisa Butler, Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Nick Cave, Clementine Hunter, Fahamu Pecou, Sun Ra, Deborah Roberts, among many others!!

(A collage of various works [Fahamu Pecou, Kara Walker, Renee Stout, Clementine Hunter and Bisa Butler] that are part of “The Dirty South…” exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, VA, Picture Courtesy of Grace D. Gipson)

The Southern Black experience and culture was truly present so much so that I definitely had a few out of body moments where my spirit momentarily left, eventually making its way back to my body. So often the south gets placed into a singular box, but this exhibition made it very clear that is definitely not the case. As I always say #RepresentationMatters and that message was loud and clearly (literally and figuratively)!! Your thinking of the South will definitely be transformed. Blackness is unapologetically centered, but is enhanced by a spiritual conjuring, the regional inclusions, the Black queer voice, the labor, the children, the sonic vibrations, and the persistence of Black folks from the past all the way to the future!! So many stories, so many voices, so many points of view, just so much to take in…this was a time where I welcomed the feeling of being overwhelmed….My cup runneth over!!

Another moment worth mentioning that really made a huge impact was the way in which children were represented. I appreciated that not only did I see the pain and trauma, but also the way in which many of the images of the children were so innocent, simple and carefree. Some of the photographs like the one below took me back to my childhood days of going to church with mama and grandma and dozing off into a brief slumber on their lap, or flipping through the hymnals and singing along with the choir….ohhhh the memories.

(Top-“Ali and Quentin in Church” [1988]; Bottom l-r- “Ali” and “Ali and Quentin on Avenue S” [1988] By: Marilyn Nance at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, VA, Picture Courtesy of Grace D. Gipson)

Nothing was off limits in The Dirty South, trust you will get it all and some!! Valerie Cassel Oliver, who serves as the exhibition curator creates a playing field that hits several home runs!! You will leave having many definitions of what the south represents. And without spoiling the last feature of the exhibition, I will say this just make sure you are prepared for every emotion to seep out of your body, just make sure to release and let it go…

Mississippi, Georgia (Atlanta), Alabama, Tennessee (Memphis), Texas (Houston), Louisiana (New Orleans), Florida (Miami) even parts of Africa and the galaxy have space in the The Dirty South exhibition. So if you have a chance, or you will be in the Richmond area it would be worth your while to stop by and check out this amazing aesthetic, cultural, and sonic experience!!

(“Strange Fruit” [1989] By: David Hammons at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA, Picture Courtesy of Grace D. Gipson)
(“DJ Screw in Heaven 2 [2016] By: El Franco Lee II at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond, VA, Picture Courtesy of Grace D. Gipson)

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse will be at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through September 6th, 2021.

#VMFADirtySouth

~Dr. G “An Honorary Southerner”

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

A fresh new line-up for you, so make sure to mark your calendars!! Check out the new trailers below:

The White Lotus (Series Premiere July 11th on HBO)

Power Book III: Raising Kanan (Series begins July 18th on STARZ)

The Suicide Squad (In theaters and on HBO MAX August 6th)

CANDYMAN (In theaters August 27th)

The Harder They Fall (Streaming on Netflix in 2021)

Posted in On the Desk...

Celebrating #BlackMusicMonth!!

In honor of #BlackMusicMonth, Dr. Robinson and I wanted to make sure we brought you all another episode of Summertime Conversations on “Feeling Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy!! Our latest episode is a dialogue on Black Music Month as well as a ‘Sonic Curation of Happiness via Black Music’!!

Check it out below…

And if you wanna check out our “Black Joy & Happiness” Soundtrack that was discussed on this episode, check it out below!!

“It’s an artist duty to reflect the times in which we live.”

~Nina Simone

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Summer is here!! And what better way to enjoy it than to catch a flick or two! See below what is coming to your streaming channels or a theater near you!!

Ice Road (Streaming on Netflix June 25th)

Gunpowder Milkshake (Streaming on Netflix July 14th)

Joe Bell (In theaters July 23rd)

The Protege (In theaters August 20th)

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (In theaters September 17th)

The Shrink Next Door (Streaming on Apple+ TV November 12th)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., On the Desk...

Happy Juneteenth 2021!!

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ~Toni Morrison

Today marks the 156th year since the message of freedom was delivered to those enslaved in Texas, also known as Juneteenth (portmanteau of June and nineteenth)!! A celebration of emancipation, liberation, and Black Joy!!

And what is Juneteenth? Juneteenth refers to June 19th, 1865 the day when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to inform the 250,000 enslaved Black people that they were free. Keep in mind the Emancipation Proclamation (which ended slavery) had went into effect January 1st, 1863 (also the start of watch night services), so Texas would not get this memo for almost two and half years later. And people wonder why Black people cannot wait for change! Why we are persistent about consistent upward and forward movement! Why are Black people not quick to trust, because of past failures and screw ups like what happened in Galveston, TX. Nevertheless, the chains are breaking and the truth is being revealed.

In a way there has been this sudden awakening regarding the Juneteenth holiday. Much like how the message of freedom was delayed in its delivery to those enslaved in Texas, one could say there is a delayed recognition (on a larger scale) of the Juneteenth holiday. With all of the the national protests, police violence, and continuous murder of Black and Brown bodies of last year the U.S. would be reminded of past moments of resistance and endurance. This acknowledgement rebirth is what I like to think of as a memory survival. As Isabel Wilkerson writes in her amazing book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, “The people from Texas took Juneteenth Day to Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and other places they went.” And thank goodness the memory of Juneteenth will always be present, because we cannot afford to have any more delays, these are moments that we need right now and always!

So when did I learn about Juneteenth, I remember it being brought up during one of my summer classes as an Upward Bound student, and in passing from one of my aunts who lives in Texas. But I would really learn about Juneteenth while attending Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA) and while out grocery shopping and a young man handed me a flyer for a Juneteenth celebration that was set to take place. Outside of the above-mentioned instances, I did not have any previous knowledge. Now I am not surprised by this, nor am I surprised that many other Black folks are only just now aware of what Juneteenth is and its significance. Even though I may not be from Texas, I take Juneteenth as my Independence Day/Emancipation Day, because clearly July 4th is not!!

Juneteenth is not only a day to celebrate, but also another day to inform the masses, continue speaking out on injustices, and always a day to remember! It’s also another excuse for me to celebrate my Blackness and create more ways to express Black joy and agency. This holiday is also an opportunity to instill values of self-improvement, racial uplift, and reclamation of the family unit. These values were personified through religious sermons and the singing of negro spirituals, reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, rodeos, and the preservation of slave food traditions and delicacies (ex. BBQ and soul food). Juneteenth is another holiday that allows Black folks to commune and fellowship and just be free with ourselves!! This freedom has been further expressed with the creation of various websites and the Juneteenth flag:

Created in 1997 by activist and founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF) Ben Haith, the flag consists of a star, burst, arc, and the colors red, white, and blue. According to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) the star is a nod to the Lone Star State (where Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1865), but also stands for the freedom of every Black American in all 50 states, the burst represents an outline surrounding the star meant to reflect a nova— or new star—this represents a new beginning for all, and the arc represents a new horizon, fresh opportunities and promising futures for Black Americans. The colors are also reminiscent of the United States flag, this was intentional to show that the enslaved African Americans and their descendants are also free Americans. Even in our symbols there is always a deep, layered meaning attached.

In 2021, Juneteenth has become more than just a holiday, but in many ways a movement!! Not only are school curriculums slowly changing, but we are also becoming more informed about the holiday through popular media. A few examples include:

  • High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America [Netflix]: Episode 4, ‘Freedom’
  • Atlanta (FX Network): Season 1, Episode 9, ‘Juneteenth’ [Television]
  • Black-ish (ABC): Season 4, Episode 1, ‘Juneteenth’ [Television]
  • Miss Juneteenth (2020) [Film]
  • Juneteenth Jamboree [Austin PBS]

And as of 2020, according to the Congressional Research Service all states, except Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota, recognize/celebrate Juneteenth in some sort of fashion. This personally became significant for me because upon moving to Virginia on last year Juneteenth became a permanent statewide holiday (following in the footsteps of Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania). The fact that Virginia made this a statewide holiday is truly significant considering the states past history and the fact that the state is known as being the capital of the Confederacy…Interesting how tides are beginning to change!!

In the end when I think about Juneteenth I am optimistic…I am hopeful…I am excited. Optimistic that one day it will become a national holiday, and that it will truly get the recognition that it deserves. Juneteenth is a holiday even worthy of being acknowledged internationally. Hopeful that the celebration of this holiday is not just for a moment or season, but for an infinity of lifetimes. Excited because with each passing day more and more people are learning about the importance and significance of Juneteenth!! Even if this is your first year, make sure it is not your last!!

And just in case you need a few references for later reading and viewing check out the following link!!

Happy Juneteenth!!

~Dr. G

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

A Professor’s Thoughts…

“Outkast and the Rise of the Hip-Hop South” (Book Review)*

“The South got something to say!” This call to arms from Outkast member André Benjamin (better known as André 3000) best summarizes the frustration, the need to self-validate, and the opportunity to make Outkast’s presence known within the hip-hop landscape and the South. These words also resonate as a proclamation of resilience as well as another approach to how we understand the southern narrative. 

In Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South, African American literature and southern hip-hop scholar Regina N. Bradley offers an intersectional examination of the contemporary southern Black and hip-hop identity via the Atlanta hip-hop rap duo Outkast. Bradley centers the musical and cultural work of Outkast (an acronym for “Operating under the Krooked American System Too Long”)** and highlights their relevance to hip-hop and Southern (specifically Atlanta) culture. Coming from a post-Civil Rights lens, Bradley provides a multi-layered approach to the various southern experiences of obtaining the American Dream while Black.

Big Boi and André 3000 perform as OutKast, October 18, 2014 (Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com)

As a southern text, Chronicling Stankonia blends music, literature, film, and southern history while simultaneously giving voice to the Black American South and a musical culture that has often been ignored and sidelined by Northern/East Coast contemporaries. Additionally, Bradley makes southern Black musical storytelling very legible by weaving in her own personal narratives as well as using Outkast as a focal point. 

Bradley’s introduction, “The Mountaintop Ain’t Flat,” is a personal introduction to her background as a product of the American South. More specifically, her entry point to southern hip-hop via Outkast suggests another entry point for how we examine American southern hip hop beyond just being culture producers. Influenced by such post-Civil Rights Black cultural texts as Nelson George’s Post-Soul Nation, Mark Anthony Neal’s Soul Babies, and Zandria Robinson’s This Ain’t Chicago, Bradley inserts a specific southern experience, which had not been done previously. Also, through her personal interests and professional engagement with Outkast, Bradley acknowledges how they function as architects of the Atlanta hip-hop scene by using rap as a tool of “signifying their existence as young Black men” along with how they push against the dominant hip-hop scripts (p. 7). As Black southerners, Outkast redefine what it means to be Black and southern.  

In the first chapter, “The Demo Tape Ain’t Nobody Wanna,” Bradley further argues why Outkast should be taken seriously academically, socially, musically, culturally, and globally. As contemporary post-Civil Rights icons, Bradley engages with Outkast’s unapologetic nature to contribute regular sonic commentary on the South, the nation, Black manhood, class, socioeconomic status, and racial displacement. Through Black futuristic imaginings of the hip-hop South, Outkast’s earlier semi-autobiographical work Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994) followed by ATLiens (1996), Bradley examines their ability to be metaphorical wordsmiths and lyricists who resituate the gaze on how the Black south is perceived and acknowledged. Furthermore, their lyrics create a space to make certain communities (local and regional) that have been marginalized feel visible and seen.

In the second and third chapters, Bradley incorporates the blending of literature, film, and television with hip-hop to discuss storytelling, hip-hop aesthetics, and the preservation of southern culture and traditions. Chapter 2, “Spelling Out the Work,” reflects on Kiese Laymon’s book, Long Division (2013), and the complexity of southern Black culture. Both Outkast’s and Laymon’s ability to not sanitize trauma and southern Black culture and how they exist in the past, present, and future speaks to how they both use hip-hop aesthetics as a form of storytelling to connect readers to universal truths about ourselves that transcend generations. Drawing on Mississippi’s history of trauma and racial terror, Bradley brings Laymon’s work into the discussion of southern Black culture and how he also features Outkast’s 1998 track “Aquemini” in the context of the Mississippi Freedom Summer and Hurricane Katrina. Through Laymon’s text, Bradley also examines the legitimacy of hip-hop masculinity, acknowledging the multiple southern Black experiences and even tapping into the need to center southern Black women’s and girl’s experiences. Chapter 3, “Reimagining Slavery in the Hip Hop Imagination,” takes a similar approach to explore storytelling with alternate realities through the relationship of hip-hop aesthetics, the American South, collective memory, and slavery. This reimagining of slavery in hip-hop imagination troubles the idea of what slavery looks like in popular culture. Here, Bradley explores the blending of sonic hip-hop sounds with southern slave narrative visuals such as Kanye West in the opening scene of the WGN series Underground and Tupac Shakur and Rick Ross in the 2012 film Django Unchained. From these relational interpretations, Bradley argues that each of the above sonically and visually reclaim a southern Black identity while remaking the plantation and slave narrative.

The final chapter, “Still Ain’t Forgave Myself,” questions the southern hip-hop space via the lens of “the trap” through the sonic sounds of Clifford “T.I.” Harris and Mississippi author Jesmyn Ward’s books, Where the Line Bleeds and Men We ReapedT.I.’s lyrics and complicated personal and rap life coupled with Ward’s narration of socioeconomic disparities speak to the pressures of hypervisibility and the consequences attached. Like Laymon, Bradley points out the way Ward weaves the experiences of Black men and boys and southern hip hop as a “unifying thread.”  Ultimately, both works as described by Bradley, also situate “the trap” as a space for southern Black men to grieve, to mourn, and to be legible. 

Bradley argues that the South, much like Blackness, is not monolithic and it should be read the same way. Chronicling Stankonia serves as a successful investigation on how and why we should expand our thoughts about how southern Blackness and hip-hop operate. She not only takes a deep dive into Outkast and southern hip-hop but manages to celebrate their longevity and create larger conversations surrounding Black masculinity, regional legacies, and identity formations/politics. Bradley’s ability to go back and forth between her own personal/social encounters and intellectual experiences provides a captivating example of what it means to be a fan-scholar. 

Moreover, Chronicling Stankonia contributes to the growing legacy of southern hip-hop studies, which includes Darren Grem’s essay, “The South Got Something” (2006), Ali Colleen Neff’s book, Let the World Listen Right (2009), Maco Faniel’s book, Hip Hop in Houston (2013), and the upcoming edited volume, An Outkast Reader: Essays on Race, Gender, and Postmodern South. Bradley’s ability to bring more attention to the dearth of academic representation on southern hip hop (particularly in Atlanta) speaks to how André 3000’s earlier statement continues to reign supreme: “the South still got something to say.” 

  • *Previously posted in Black Perspectives
  • **This moniker also operated initially as a way to address their (initial) displacement in the hip hop landscape (based on the dominant northeastern aesthetics).

~Dr. G

Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute

Let’s Talk About Invincible!!

Invincible is the new Amazon Prime video animated television series based on the comics written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tyan Ottely. This first season took the internet by storm and with season two and three being shortly announced after the release of the first season. The bigger question I want to tackle is, why is it so good? What drew people to this seemingly regular animated show about superheroes?

The latter question is definitely answered in the first episode. After seeing “Omni Man” who we think is the regular good guy type, we see him brutally kill the “Guardians of the Globe,” or this universe’s version of the “Avengers/Justice League.”

With that huge scene being in the first episode it draws the viewer into the show even more. This is not your typical superhero animated show. The hero being the villain all along and revealed in the first episode gives the viewer a sense of something new that has not been done before. I know for me I always find the “superhero being the villain” trope very interesting. Something about things being not as they seem are very unpredictable and that’s what makes this show so unique and interesting. 

Along with an intriguing plot, the series also includes a star studded cast with Steven Yeun voicing “Mark”, Sandra Oh voicing “Debbie”, and J.K. Simmons voicing “Omni Man.” When it is all said and done, it’s really hard not to enjoy the show! If the first season taught us anything it is that anything can happen and I’m excited to see where they take Mark’s character in the future. I’m also excited to see what happens when Omni Man comes back.

Invincible character (voiced by Steven Yuen) Credit: Amazon Prime Studios
Lead character “Invincible” (voiced by Steven Yuen) from the animated series of the same name;
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Studios

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s June 2021-Book Recommendations

Summer is right around the corner, and what better time than now to get your summer reading list in order! A few of these are on my list and purchased, patiently awaiting for the pages to be flipped! So go ahead, get your lawn chair, sunglasses, SPF, beach towel, drink of choice, or whatever you need to get into the mood!!

Check out this month’s recommendations!! Maybe you will pick one, two, three, or all of them!!

  • A Chorus Rises ~Bethany C. Morrow
  • Ace of Spades: How Do You Stop An Unknown Enemy? ~Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
  • When Life Gives You Mangoes ~Kereen Getten
  • Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of My Dreams ~Yvonne Orji
  • Punch Me Up To The Gods: A Memoir ~Brian Broome

Remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

New Trailer Alerts

Got another line-up of HOT trailers ready for you to watch!! Getting you ready for your summer binging or movie theater experience!!

Check them out below:

Bosch (Streaming on Amazon Prime June 25th)

No Sudden Move (Streaming on HBO Max July 1st)

Series Reboot Gossip Girl (Streaming on HBO Max July 8th)

Free Guy (In theaters August 13th)

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On The Radar

New Summer Series!!

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.

Both episodes will take place at 5 pm via Auburn Avenue Research Library Facebook Live and YouTube Channel (for Live and later viewing).

Look forward to you all tuning in!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

New Trailer Alerts!!

Got some new season premieres, a documentary, a taste of mystery, and a film that will inspire! Check them all out below:

Season 2-Flack (Streaming on Amazon Prime June 11th)

Sisters on Track (Streaming on Netflix June 24th)

Roadrunner (In theaters July 16th)

Reminiscence (Streaming on HBO Max and in theaters August 20th)

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred

Conversations with Beloved & Kindred-Spring Season Finale

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!!

Till the next time!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

New Trailer Alerts!!

It’s the first of the month, it’s a new week, and I got new films and television trailers ready for you to watch! Check them out below:

A Luv Tail: The Series (Series Premieres June 3rd on BET+)

Infinite (Premieres June 10th on Paramount+)

Physical (Premieres June 18th on Apple TV+)

Season 2-Evil (Series Premieres June 20th on Paramount+)

Old (In theaters July 23rd)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

A Professor’s Thoughts: “I Made It! First Year Down…A lifetime to go!!”

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)!!

(Top image- 2021 VCU African American Studies undergraduates; Bottom images-Dr. G reading/recognizing our AFAM students during the commencement ceremony for VCU College of Humanities)

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.

Evening Chicago Skyline

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!

Giant Size X-Men #1 (1975) Photo courtesy of VCU Libraries

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?

~Dr. G

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

New Trailer Alerts

Got another round of trailers ready for your viewing. So looking forward to getting back to the movie theater!! How about you?? Check out some new trailers below:

Lupin-Season 2 (Streaming on Netflix June 11)

Bosch (Streaming on Amazon Prime June 25th)

Respect (In theaters August 13th, 2021)

Eternals (In theaters November 5th, 2021)

Posted in On The Radar

On The Radar-Upcoming Event

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”

Art by Bianca Xunise

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).

To register click here!!

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s May 2021-Book Recommendations

They say April showers bring May flowers, well in this case the flowers are books!! 😉 See what’s blooming this month, and check out the recommendations below:

  • Summer on the Bluffs ~Sunny Hostin
  • Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump ~Ben Philipe
  • Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir ~Ashley C. Ford
  • When Stars Rain Down ~Angela Jackson-Brown
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf ~Marlon James

Remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred

Conversations with Beloved & Kindred-New Episode Alert!!

New Episode Dropping TODAY!!

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!!!

You can tune into the conversation on today May 13th at 7 pm/ET on Facebook Live via Auburn Avenue Research Library!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

New Trailer Alerts!!

Family and Friends!! I got another weekly dose of television and film trailers ready for you to hit play!! So get your calendars ready, and check them out below:

Black Love (Season Premiere on OWN May 14th)

Master of None: Moments in Love [Season 3] (Streaming on Netflix May 23rd)

In the Heights (Streaming on HBO Max and in theaters June 11th)

Vivo (Streaming on Netflix TBD)

And #MayTheFourthBeWithYou !!

Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute!- “Let’s Talk About The Marvel Fandom”

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.

Sebastian Stan as James ‘Bucky’ Barnes/the Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Posted in On the Desk...

On the Desk…

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.

To register and get the full schedule see here!!

Here’s an event that you do not want to miss!! Gonna be lots of jewels dropping!!

~Dr. G

Posted in On The Radar

New Trailer Alerts!!

Got some new show and film trailers for you, see what’s set to hit screens and theaters below:

The Upshaws (Season 1 streaming May 12th on Netflix)

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (In theaters May 14th)

Army of The Dead (Streaming May 21st on Netflix)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (In theaters November 11th)

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On the Desk...

Conversations with Beloved & Kindred-Episode #8

Missed last week’s episode of Conversations with Beloved and Kindred? No problem, I got you covered!!

Check out our latest conversation on the film Fast Color below:

On next time, we will be closing out the Lovecraft Country series with episodes 9 and 10!! And as always you do not want to miss out!! Can’t wait for you to join us in May!!

Posted in On The Radar

New Trailer Alerts!!

Let me just say there is no shortage of content when it comes to new television series and movies, and what I got for you this week proves that point!!

Check out some of that “new-new” set to hit your screens, see below:

*A Black Lady Sketch Show (Season 2 Begins on April 23rd on HBO)

*The Underground Railroad (Series set to be released on May 14th on Amazon Prime)

*Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Set to be released on June 16th)

*Fast and Furious 9 (Set to be released on July 9th)

Enjoy!!

Posted in Feature Spotlight

Celebration Time!!

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!!

~Dr. G aka “Love Jones” #20

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Getting you ready for the Fall Season with some new television shows and films!! Don’t forget to mark your calendars!! Check them out below:

Only Murders in the Building (Streaming on Hulu August 31st)

Worth (Streaming on Netflix September 3rd)

Season 6: Queen Sugar (Series Premiere September 7th on OWN)

Cry Macho (In theaters September 17th)

Season 3: Doom Patrol (Streaming on HBO Max September 23rd)