On last month, I had the opportunity to present a paper on “#BlackGamersMatter: Gaming and the Black Imaginary” at the Beyond the Page-“Present Encounters: Digital Humanities Meet Afrofuturism” at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA).
And if you are interested in checking out the full symposium see the following videos below:
Part 1: Welcome remarks by Joseph P. Lucia, dean of Temple University Libraries; Keynote Address by Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, associate professor of Africology and African American Studies: “Afrofuturism: The Second Race for Theory,” See here
Part 2: Discussion with curator, art director, illustrator Eric Battle, and illustrators Damali Beatty and Nilé Livingston for the Black Lives Always Mattered!: Hidden African American Philadelphia of the Twentieth Century original graphic novel, See here
Part 3: Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio project presentations in the Scholars Studio Innovation Lab, See here
Part 4: “Virtual Blockson” presentation with Jasmine Lelis Clark, See here
So we are almost half way through 2022, but the reading doesn’t stop. Before I get you ready for your summer reading, just want to finish out the spring with some breezy balcony and patio reading. This month’s list is all over the globe…literally, I figured I would share a few treats by giving you some historical references, a little bit of self-preservation and cultural identity, mixed with a dash of U.S. midwest and Caribbean roots, and topping you off with some sassy satire.
Jameela Green Ruins Everything ~Zarqa Nawaz
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations ~Mira Jacob
Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel ~Xochitl Gonzalez
The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family ~Bettye Kearse
American Street ~Ibi Zoboi
And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and past recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!
We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained. ~Nikki Giovanni
It’s that time of year where I always like to reflect on another academic year in the books! This time around I wanted to share my gratitude and appreciation in the form of a letter to my students.
You have done it again. You have figured out a way to pull at my heartstrings and fill me with emotion. Let me first start out by saying I am so proud of the work that you have done and will continue to do. Many of you started out with me when I arrived to VCU in the Summer of 2020, several of you became repeat student in my classes, and to see you walk across the stage with the biggest smiles is truly a proud moment.
This semester much like the previous ones was definitely a roller coaster ride, it just has a new name! I enjoyed coming to both classes with a new mindset and leaving with new energy. For Spring 2022, I got the opportunity to teach a special topics course, AFAM 491: Say Her Name-Humanizing the Black Female Voice in Television. From the onset, I was excited about teaching this course because we would be discussing three televisions shows that were changing the game (HBO Max’sA Black Lady Sketch Show, I May Destroy You, and STARZ’sP-Valley). The format of the course would be different and outside of my normal lecture-discussion style. For this class we would be doing regular deep dives (almost each class period). The excitement that each of you brought was mind-blowing, considering many had never watched the shows or even heard of them. And like most new classes you are never sure how it will play out, but this was definitely a win. The diverse perspectives that each of you brought to the discussions, along with implementing your critical thinking skills really made me wish we could add more time to each class. There was never a day when we did not run over, and in this case that was not a bad thing. Who knew that critical television analysis could be so fun and engaging?!! And then when we had the surprise guest (Cherokee Hall-‘Extra Extra’) from P-Valley come and talk with us you all really lit up! Thank you for doing the work and making it easy for me to come to campus and show-up 110%!!
I also got to teach one of my tried and true favorite courses, AFAM 111: Introduction to Africana Studies. Now this class had a different format as well, it was a one-day a week meeting for 2 hours and 40 mins. And let me tell you, I had no idea where I would even begin with this teaching in this format, but we made it work. Lecture for the first part and a film screening in the latter half. While this posed a challenge, your feedback about the class set-up was much appreciated and well received. Change can be difficult, with solid teamwork the possibilities were endless. With many of the students in this class were freshman and sophomores, my hope is that you got at least a little something that might add, change, reframe, and/or expand your thinking and engagement with the world going forward. Thank you for helping me to be more inclusive, push my creative lens, and nurture my heart, mind and soul.
Now for some of you the next step is graduate school in either a new city or even state. Take all the skills you have gained and build from them, create new memories, show the world whose next up! And others are going straight into the job market, putting that talent into action immediately. As the historian Keisha Blain said, in reference to the Black Nationalist Women fighting for global freedom, “set the world on fire.” “Set the world on fire” with innovative methods of change, “Set the world on fire” with your leadership, “Set the world on fire” with your unapologetic attitude, and “Set the world on fire” with your joy and determination. You got this!!
When people tell me, “I can see the passion that you have and the deep care for your students,” I get all emotional again because that statement is soooo true! I love what I do and would not change it for the world!
While I may not be your professor anymore, just know that I am always here to support in any way that I can. I’m just an email or call away!
Another semester in the books…Another set of grades submitted…Let the summer begin!!
Davis debuted the trailer for the film at this year’s CinemaCon in April.
Hook … Line … and Sinker … I’m sold!! To see Viola Davis in a “kick-ass” role (literally and figuratively), as well as see the history of a group of Black women warriors unfold on the Hollywood screen is music to my ears! Now that is “Representation Matters” in action!!
“The Woman King” was co-written by Dana Stevens and Gina Prince Bythewood who also serves as the director. The film is also produced under Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon’s company, JuVee Productions (along with . Not only is the film on point behind the camera but it also includes a dynamic cast, which includes Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega. According to Prince-Bythewood, “we were intentional of creating an ensemble of the dopest actors of this moment from all over the diaspora.” AND the musical score will be coming from the legendary Terence Blanchard. I’m already on the edge of my seat waiting for this one to hit theaters!!
“The Woman King” is set to be exclusively in theaters on September 16, 2022.
This discussion explores the 1997 film Eve’s Bayou. Actress Kasi Lemmons made an auspicious debut as a writer and director with this delicately handled, wrenchingly emotional drama, hailed by critic Roger Ebert as one of the best films of 1997. Eve’s Bayou begins with ominous narration: “The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old.” From that point the story moves backward in time and memory to Louisiana in 1962, when a young girl named Eve (Jurnee Smollett) witnesses a shocking act on the part of her womanizing father (Samuel L. Jackson). But what really happened? And can Eve be certain about what she saw when there is more than one interpretation of the facts? Less a mystery than a study of deeply rooted emotions rising to the surface to affect an entire family, the film has the quality of classic Southern literature, with layers of memory unfolding to reveal a carefully guarded truth.
Just in case you want to refresh your memory of the movie, check out the trailer below:
So this past weekend I had the pleasure of being featured in two news outlets VCU News and USA Today!!
For VCU News, I was interviewed about one of my Spring courses, “Say Her Name: Humanizing the Black Female Voice in Television.” I got a chance to surprise my students with one of the actress [Cherokee Hall who plays “Extra Extra”] from the STARZ television series “P-Valley”.
Check out some of the story here:
It’s important to Gipson that the course engages with what’s happening in the world. The representation of Black female actors and the characters they take on has always been essential to the success of television as a medium,” she said.
However, Hollywood is not quick to showcase, celebrate, and even hire them. Television has made strides, but it has been inconsistent and slow moving,” she said, adding that many of the women whose work the course studies are breaking barriers and re-setting television culture. I want students to see how television and film are a way to tackle issues and problems.
Joan Tupponce-VCU News
Now for the USA Today article, I switch gears and offer some social commentary on the Dave Chappelle incident and whether America can still handle a joke!!
Here are a few of my thoughts below:
But the combustible cultural moment we are living in — one roiled by political discord and pandemic restrictions — certainly is testing that joke and let joke philosophy, says Grace Gipson, assistant professor in the department of African American studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.
I feel like in his day Richard Pryor took things to an extreme maybe even greater than what we see today, but no one was bum rushing the stage, says Gipson. Today, it seems like people are free to show their anger beyond heckling.
On this past Tuesday morning, I got to sit down again and talk with my friends over at Let It Be Known w/Stacy Brown and Black Press USA TV discussing the topics of “Black Women’s hair,” “Respectability Politics vs. Defending Black Women,” and the recent #TheSlap incident!!
Lot’s of great commentary and perspectives were shared!
Tune in below:
And let me make sure I give a shout out to my fellow panelist Carrington York (a School of Journalism graduating senior at Howard University)!!
To close out Women’s History Month, Dr. Robinson and I sat down to chat about the latest horror film on Prime Video, “Master” starring Regina Hall (directed by Mariama Diallo). This film hits very close to home for both of as we can identify with both main protagonists!! To see what we have to say (cause trust me, we got ALOT) check out our latest episode on this Thursday March 31st at 3 pm/ET on Auburn Avenue Research LibraryFacebook Live and YouTube!!
Got another list of goodies waiting for you to push play!! A good mix of film and television to make you laugh, have you on the edge of your seat, and even make you go hmmmm. And as an extra bonus I dropped a few potential summer hits for you too!! Check them out below:
Season 3-A Black Lady Sketch Show (Streaming on HBO Max April 8th)
Roar (Streaming on Apple TV+ April 15th)
Limited Series-The Offer (Streaming on Paramount + April 28th)
The Takedown (Streaming on Netflix May 6th)
Candy (Streaming on Hulu May 9th)
The Terminal List (Streaming on Prime Video July 1st)
Last week was a busy and fun week for me! Dr. Robinson and I got to go in deep on The Candyman series in episode 2 of “Conversations with Beloved & Kindred” and then I closed out the week talking with three dynamic authors for the Virginia Festival of the Book!! And if you did not get a chance to see them LIVE, fear not I got you covered!!
You can check out both videos below:
Season 2-Episode 2: Conversations with Beloved & Kindred...”All About Candyman”
Virginia Festival of the Book– “To Reimagine Time: Historical Fantasy” A conversation with authors Shelley Parker-Chan, Natashia Deón, and Nicole Glover!
Keeping it short and sweet for you all this month, I want to let the books shine!! This month is in honor of Women’s History Month!! Seven books that will capture a wide range of experiences all written by women!
Check them out below:
Black Cake ~Charmaine Wilkerson
Carolina Built ~Kianna Alexander
The School for Good Mothers ~Jessamine Chan
Julián is a Mermaid~Jessica Love
We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World ~Malala Yousafzai
Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time ~Tanya Lee Stone
Memphis ~Tara M. Stringfellow
And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and past recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!
“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
The coming Friday I have the great opportunity to interview three amazing female authors during the annual VA Festival of the Book!! Don’t you just love how this ties in with Women’s Herstory Month!!
Under the theme, “To Reimagine Time: Historical Fantasy“, I will be in conversation with Natashia Deón (The Perishing), Nicole Glover (The Undertakers), and Shelley Parker-Chan (She Who Became the Sun) as we discuss their historical fantasy novels, each of which incorporate the magical or fantastic as a means for their strong female protagonists to explore questions of what it means to be human, the importance of family and traditions, and how to fulfill their destinies.
March 17th, 2022 6-7 pm/ET … For additional details see here!
As part of the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book, this event is FREE to attend and open to the public. THIS IS A VIRTUAL EVENT.
On yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of serving as a guest commentator with my friends over at Let It Be Known w/Stacy Brown and Black Press USA TV discussing the topic of “Smokey Robinson Loves Being Black”!!
“Considering the past, living in the present, preparing for the future…” ~Dr. G
This above thought has been something that I am always thinking about, but especially during Black History Month. So much of what I and my ancestors experienced plays a huge role in who I am, what I do, and my next steps. With all of the recent discussions about critical race theory, book bans and changing curriculums (just to name a few) normalizing the conversations about Black History Month are needed now more than ever.
Sadly, there are still those who continue to say and believe that Black History Month is not needed or even feel that they should have the choice to have their children opt out of Black History Month lessons…yet many Black and Brown students experience mental trauma and abuse in and outside of their classrooms on a daily basis (that’s another post). But I digress and say to those naysayers once again my response is it is very much needed especially now!! And let me further back up this statement from the father of Black History himself Carter G. Woodson as he states that the legacy of Black History Month (originally named ‘Negro History Week”) was never meant to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.” In other words, it was always meant to evolve from a week to a month, to everyday dialogue!!
Reflecting on that pushback, I am reminded of why Black History is necessary every time I step foot in my class and a student tells me “I’m their first Black professor…” or when they learn about Black icons like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Ella Baker, or Essex Hemphill and they leave my class amazed and yearning for more because this is the first time that they have even heard their names mentioned. In an almost perfect place, I would love to live in a society where Black history, culture, experiences, literature, music, and more are part of the curriculum, particularly K-12, sadly this is still a struggle. However, the journey continues!!
For some, Black History Month serves as a time to face the past, but at the same can be a time of celebration and joy. And while the past has its dark moments, we are not permanently fixed during that time! As I often tell my students, sometimes we have to sit in the discomfort and process it…sometimes we have to sit in the discomfort and ask the hard questions and also listen to the responses that follow…sometimes we have to sit in the discomfort and think about the ways in which we can grow from it…We have to move from seeing Black History Month as an item that we can check off of our to-do list, or as some form of punishment (can’t see how that would be the case, unfortunately some do feel this way) and see it as a time to expand on our existing knowledge, while learning to build community.
This year, I came into celebrating Black History with a little more optimism partly due to this year’s theme, “Black Health and Wellness”!! (To know more about how each theme is selected see here .) The amazing thing about health and wellness is that it comes in many forms, whether it is scheduling time with a therapist, implementing an exercise regimen, taking time out for self-care, walking your dog, spending time with family and friends, taking a cultural excursion, and so much more! For African Americans, highlighting our health and wellness is essential to the mind, body, and soul! As noted by the Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at USC School of Dramatic Arts, “Black joy is the heartbeat and pulse of our survival, our resiliency, our perseverance, our health and wellbeing.” Despite the struggles that African Americans have and continue to face when it comes to healthcare and wellness, we still persevere!! We are resilient!! So, with that said I charge you with the task of finding that joy through health and wellness!! And while you are at it, take some time to discover the many ways in which African Americans have contributed to the world of health and wellness.
Now you know I cannot let you go without sharing some goodies!! Just in case you need some additional reading (or you want to update your list) materials check out these reading and viewing lists to help keep the spirit of Black History going even after February has ended!
As another February comes to a close, remember Black History Month is another opportunity to continuously learn and grow! Even amidst all that is happening, knowing that I can reflect on the many experiences and achievements of Black folks always gives me a sense of joy and pride!
This panel discussion is part of a series that focuses on the effect that race and gender representation have on the comic book industry. It also serves as a platform where multimedia professionals can talk about their backgrounds, work, and thoughts related to the ever-changing spectrum that is comics.
**Take a journey to the world of Afrofuturism—an ever-expansive aesthetic and practice—where music, visual arts, science fiction, and technology intersect to imagine alternate realities and a liberated future viewed through the lens of Black cultures. Immerse yourself in Afrofuturism, Carnegie Hall’s 2022 citywide festival.**
To All My Chefs & Mixologists (novice and professional) out there, this is for you!
Who doesn’t love a mouth-watering, soulful meal or a delightful spirit to cap off the night?!! Well I wanted to add to your “must-see and must-try” lists by highlighting the spirit and culinary world with a few cookbooks, wineries, breweries, creators and organizations that are making Black History!!
Not surprisingly, Black Americans have contributed significantly (and still do) to the culinary world and cocktail/wine/brewery culture. We have been tastemakers and drink-makers since the beginning of time :-). Cooking and feeding the soul is in the DNA of African Americans (check out Netflix’s High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America if you don’t believe me)!
As it relates to the spirit world, I recently learned that there was a Black Mixology Club that was founded in 1898 by R. R. Bowie and J. Burke Edelin that was a “marquee professional association,” and a gathering place for African Americans who were trying to move up the ladder of social mobility within professional bartending [Check out these pioneers as well: Cato Alexander, John Dabney, Tom Bullock, and Dick “Uncle Dick” Francis].
Now let me say this…. the following below is by no means the only folks that have been and are in the game just a few to wet your palette (literally and figuratively), because I know there are tons of Black folks making history!!
So get ready to pop some bottles, plan your next couple or friends getaway, pull out those pots and pans, turn on your ovens, and make some magical memories!!
So recently I have had many people ask what would I recommend as an introduction into Afrofuturism. This is something that I am always talking about, teaching, and or even consuming for myself, so why not have a list for beginners! And voila…I compiled various books, short stories, comic books, graphic novels, children and YA fiction, and movies that offer a unique look into Afrofuturism.
Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture ~Ytasha Womack
Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness ~Edited by Reynaldo Anderson & Charles E. Jones
Beloved ~Toni Morrison
Kindred ~Octavia Butler
Wild Seed ~Octavia Butler
Brown Girl in the Ring ~Nalo Hopkinson
The Conductors ~Nicole Glover
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? ~N.K. Jemisin
Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora ~Edited by Sheree Thomas
Dark Matter: Reading the Bones ~Edited by Sheree Thomas
Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Working of Science in the Land of the Free ~George Schuyler
Lion’s Blood ~Steven Barnes
Zulu Heart ~Steven Barnes
Black Leopard, Red Wolf ~Marlon James
Minions: A Vampire Huntress Legend ~L.A. Banks
Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements ~Edited by Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown
Black Kirby: In Search of the MotherBoxx Connection ~John Jennings & Stacey Robinson
Mothership Tales: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond ~Edited by Bill Campbell & Edward Austin Hall
“The Princess Steel” & “The Comet” ~W.E.B. Du Bois
“Caramelle 1864” ~Jewelle Gomez
“I Left My Heart in Skaftafell” ~Victor LaValle
“Don’t Go There” ~Tracy Cross
“Ain’t I a Woman” ~Sojourner Truth
Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Matty’s Rocket and Infinitude: An Afrofuturist Tale ~Tim Fielder
“We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings.” – Maya Angelou
Every month I always look forward to feature books for my followers, family, and friends to read. I am always on the lookout for books to add to my monthly lists, so much so that I had to create a file just for “Book Features”. Well this month is no different!! I found some goodies that I hope you will like and feel free to share with others!!
Gotta love when you get to see history played out on the screen!! Considering what is and is not being taught in schools today and the resistance with CRT, it is refreshing to to see other outlets of learning! Which makes me happy to see what HBO is doing this year for Black History month!! This February, HBO documentary presents Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches where it will bring to life the words of one of our country’s most famous anti-slavery activists. It will feature the great talent of Nicole Beharie (Scenes from a Marriage), Colman Domingo (Euphoria), Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), Denzel Whitaker (The Great Debaters) and Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) as they each draw from five of Douglass’ legendary speeches. The documentary will also feature narration of Douglass’ autobiographies by André Holland.
Additional contextualization of Douglass’ writings will come from scholars David Blight, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Sarah Lewis and Keidrick Roy, artist Bisa Butler, poet Nzadi Keita, as well as Douglass descendant Ken Morris who offer perspective on Douglass’ modern relevance and the unprecedented level of fame and influence to which he rose.
The five featured speeches are:
“I Have Come To Tell You Something About Slavery” (1841) performed by Denzel Whitaker. At an anti-slavery convention, Douglass recounts his story of being raised as a slave publicly for the first time.
“Country, Conscience, And The Anti-Slavery Cause” (1847) performed by Jonathan Majors. Douglass addresses the American Anti-Slavery Society on his return from the British Isles which he found to be more accepting and equitable than his own country.
“What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July?” (1852) performed by Nicole Beharie. Douglass reminds his audience of the continuing enslavement of his people, 76 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
“The Proclamation And A Negro Army” (1863) performed by Colman Domingo. Douglass responds to the Emancipation Proclamation and calls for the Black man to be allowed to fight in the war.
“Lessons Of The Hour” (1894) performed by Jeffrey Wright. Douglass urges America to eliminate prejudice and look to its founding principles.
Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches premieres on February 23rd at 9 pm/ET on HBO and HBO Max!!
Black Future Feminist fans, we got a special treat for you from our resident intern Jaya Robinson! On this past January, Jaya had the opportunity to attend this year’s Sundance Film Festival which was held in a virtual format!! Check out below her commentary and spoiler-free reviews of some of the festival’s feature films!!
This year I was fortunate enough to attend the Sundance film festival last month, so I thought I would give you guys a spoiler-free review of the four movies I saw!
‘After Yang’ (Directed by Kogonada)
After Yang was the first movie I saw at the virtual festival and it is definitely one of my favorites from the ones I saw. It is a movie set in a very technologically advanced society in the future and it follows one family in particular when their daughter’s android (Yang) breaks down and her father Jake played by Colin Farrell looks for a way to repair him. It is a beautiful movie that deals with loss and human connection. The acting is really a key part of the movie too, along with an excellent cast. The cinematography is also something that I really think of when I hear about this movie, just because it was so beautiful. After Yang is set to be released in theaters on March 4th.
‘Master’ (Directed by Mariama Diallo)
Switching gears almost drastically, the next movie I watched was a horror/commentary on the black experience in academia. The movie follows two characters, Gail Bishop the new “master” at a prestigious New England university, and a student Jasmine Moore that is being terrorized by this “Salem Witch Trials” era legend on the campus. Each navigate different sides of the university’s haunted past and even more terrifying present. This movie was definitely my favorite of all the movies I watched at the festival, the horror aspect and the commentary really made me think of how black women are treated at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). I really loved how the movie was divided into specific chapters that were referenced in the dialogue. Not only was the writing amazing but Regina Hall’s performance really stood out to me, especially seeing her in a much more serious role. This movie will also be available to stream on Amazon Prime on March 18th.
‘892’ (Directed by Abi Damaris Corbin)
892 is another hard hitting movie that is based on a real story. The movie follows Brian Brown Easley who once his disability check fails to deliver from Veterans Affairs is close to becoming homeless. As a result, with no other options in place he decides to hold up a Wells Fargo bank by saying “I’ve got a bomb.” Rather than being a fictional tale this movie is all too real, this movie showcases what some forgotten veterans face. This is usually not the type of genre of movie I gravitate towards, but this movie draws you in completely. Even all the way to the end you are invested into this movie and what will happen next. With stellar performances from John Boyega, who showcases his amazing acting range and Nicole Beharie, these performances really bring the movie together. This movie also features Michael K. Williams’ final role on the big screen.
‘Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul’ (Directed by Admamma Ebo)
Where do I begin with this well done dark comedy? There is a lot to say about it, but first let us begin with what the movie is about. It follows Trinity Childs played by Regina Hall and her husband Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs played by Sterling K. Brown in the aftermath of a big scandal, trying to rebuild their once prominent church. The writing, in particular, nails the sometimes ridiculous nature of mega churches. It is filmed like an episode of The Office, following the mock documentary format that often lands with the audience. Although it is advertised as a comedy it does do well with juggling two genres of a more serious drama and outright comedy. This is another example of how Regina Hall steals a movie, she puts on another show stopping performance that really makes you invested in the movie. You don’t usually see a mock documentary in a movie format and I think that’s what makes it work, especially for a directorial debut film.
All in all, even though some of the movies that I watched were not some of my favorites, I am really glad I was able to attend and be a part of the Sundance community for the first time. When it is all said and done, I look forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to the movies once they officially release!
Going into Black History Month every year I’m always mixed with emotions. On one hand it’s an exciting time to highlight the experiences of Black people, but then I am suddenly on edge seeing what things are specifically set to come out in February because its Black History Month. As I have said many times before this celebratory effort is one that happens 365-24/7, especially considering I am a professor in an African American Studies department.
Nevertheless, I must say things are getting better and the efforts made from various organizations/corporations are evolving (despite ones who still miss the mark). And because “sharing is caring” I wanted to make sure I highlighted a few businesses that are putting in the work and who really get me!! Check them out below:
Target: One of my favorite brands and a place where I do not mind spending my coins is Target. They have been consistently spotlighting black talent and not just in February!! In its eighth year, Target presents “Black Beyond Measure,” which includes a limited-time assortment of apparel, accessories and home goods designed by Black creators along with highlighting Black-owned brands sold at the retailer.
Old Navy: The clothing brand has partnered with three talented Black artists — Temi Coker, Lo Harris and Destiny Darcel — to create Project WE t-shirts centered around their love for the Black community and culture. Project WE is a collaboration between diverse artists and includes a donation of $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in support of youth arts programs. They are also donating $50,000 to support the 15% Pledge, a growing platform that calls on major retailers to commit a minimum of 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Amazon Launchpad: This program is celebrating Black innovators and the stories behind their businesses throughout Black History Month by highlighting an array of brands on its various platforms.
Nordstrom: For 2022, Nordstrom is celebrating Black History Month through a variety of initiatives everything from spotlighting Black-founded brands to celebrating culture through personal stories. They will also honor Black food culture by featuring recipes by Spice Suite founder Angel Gregorio at the store’s specialty coffee bars. Additionally, the retailer has committed to increasing Black and Latino representation among its managers by at least 50%, delivering $500 million in retail sales from Black and/or Latino-owned brands and increasing charitable donations to organizations that promote anti-racism to $1 million every year by 2025.
Peloton: Through uplift, celebration and empowerment Peloton is highlighting the “magnetic energy of the Black diaspora that breaks boundaries and moves us forward.” This is done through themed classes, special artist series, and for a third year they launched a special apparel line featuring the work of designer Erwin Hines. Peloton will also mark Black History Month with a charitable contribution of $100,000 – to support the development of a community wellness center in Chicago’s South Side. They are partnering with Claretian Associates, an organization with deep ties to the neighborhood.
Victoria’s Secret PINK: The beauty and fashion brand has partnered with We The Urban founder Willie Greene to release an exclusive “Pink x We The Urban” gender-free one-size tee (this has been an annual effort). In addition, PINK is donating $50,000 to the Black and Pink organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of system-impacted LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Apple: The tech giant is spotlighting Black business and innovation while also amplifying Black voices through a multitude of its platforms and specially curated collections. Some of these include, Apple Maps where users can learn about Black history or discover Black-owned businesses through curated Guides; their Shot on iPhone campaign, “Our Stories,” features portraits and video of four pioneers who are at the nexus of Black history The company also launched a special edition Apple Watch “Black Unity Braided Solo Loop” watch that features matching unity lights on the face of the watch. It gets its inspiration from the “Afrofuturism,” framework, which explores the Black and African diasporic experience through a narrative of science, technology and self-empowerment.
These businesses get me!!
What I can also really appreciate about these businesses is that many if not all have year-round efforts, and are making sure Black creatives and talents are getting their shine!! It’s really important that you do more than just sign a check (no complaints here), but that you make a full on investment of the talent!!
So earlier this week I gave a workshop presentation on celebrating Black History Month in the workplace, nothing like finding new ways to incorporate new experiences in your daily routine. And I just wanted to make sure I shared some resources from that talk just in case it may be useful for my followers!!
Why BHM is Important in The Workplace? “Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger.”
Race can be complicated, but we have to engage and talk about the comforts and discomforts
Reimagine the possibilities
Normalize what has been often made invisible
Opportunity for active learning
Another way to regularly incorporate inclusivity, equity, and work towards eliminating bias
Black History is American History even World History!!
A continued engagement with history and the Black experience and helps to give context for the present and future
February can be the starting pointto year-round efforts
#BlackHistory365 ideas that can be implemented in the workplace…
Bring in speakers (This is a chance to learn and gain new perspectives from others outside of your office.)
Organize a thematic book club (Monthly or Quarterly….You can also carry this out in February as well as other months such as Women’s History and Hispanic Heritage Month)
Virtual cooking session (Swap recipes, select a region and do a virtual potluck, create a “Culinary Journey Passport”)
Create a digital board for continuous learning and growth (Slack has become a popular tool that can be used here!)
Community Service/Volunteer (You can never have enough community service, and now there are multiple ways to carry out this endeavor!)
Promote Inclusion via Reflection-Collaboration-Recognition
Organize/create a Black History Internet Scavenger Hunt that uses questions that pertain to African American people and moments
Next Steps to #BlackHistory365…
In addition to the collective effort, think about what YOU can do. … What is your contribution?
What role can you play? Invest in your efforts!!
Pay it forward.
Create safe spaces…The energy and creativity will flow when people feel as though it is welcomed and appreciated!
Think before you post and act..Make sure your efforts are genuine. Learn and grow because you want to, not just to check off a box. Do your research…Remember why you are celebrating
Don’t play the buzzword and pandering game (Avoid situations like Bath and Body )
Ask the hard questions…that’s how you get answers and learn at the same time.
Play the long game…How can Black History Month transform and evolve into #BlackHistory365 in your place of work??
And for the road…Some additional resources, recommendations, and guides…
Podcasts (Here are just a few: The Read, Seizing Freedom, Noire Histoir, Code Switch, Still Processing, Girl Trek’s-Black History Bootcamp, Driving The Green Book, Jemele Hill is Unbothered, Diary of An Africana, Still Processing, Black History Year, Seizing Freedom)
The great thing about all of this is that it can many things in one FUN, INFORMATIVE, ENGAGING and UPLIFTING!
For additional information and resources, check out the full guide here!!
You know me I love an opportunity to spotlight actions, programs, and moments of significance, especially those of the Black experience. So I wanted to share something that came across my “virtual” desk on yesterday, Disney Parks celebrating Black History Month with a new campaign…Reimagine Tomorrow !
Reimagine Tomorrow is meant to showcase Disney Black cast members and other workers for their role in making the parks run. First up is Lanny Smoot, Research Fellow at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) Research & Development who helped bring “The Haunted Mansion” attraction to life. Throughout his career he has obtained more than 100 patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office associated with his work (which is the most of anyone in the Walt Disney Company). Talk about a wealth of innovation!!
Check him out below as he talks about his experiences:
According to Smoot he explains, “My mindset is to create things that are fun, entertaining, often surprising and, hopefully, a bit ahead of their time.” He further notes, “At Disney, I can work on cutting edge technologies that are designed to make people happy. What’s not to like?!”
Another thing that really stuck out for me was how he continues to think about the future. Smoot shares, “We need to give young students – especially Black students and people of color – experience in these fields. The Walt Disney Company is digging deeply into this by making sure that we mentor diverse young people, and I’ve done that many times myself.”
Nothing like seeing one’s imagination play out LIVE and in LIVING COLOR!!
It is that time of the year!! And while I personally see Black History Month as an everyday conversation, I understand that for some this is not the case. With that being said, Happy Black History Month to you all!!
The celebration of Black History Month is a great time for the nation and the world to expand on the many contributions of the Black/African American experience. Established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as “Negro History” week , Woodson wanted to make sure people understood not only the experiences but also provide an opportunity to focus on particular themes. The legacy of Negro History week, according to Woodson, was never meant “to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.” Thus, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) an organization created by Woodson would begin to explore Black History through a yearly theme. The first theme came about in 1928 and it centered around the idea of “Civilization: A World Achievement.” This year’s theme is the importance of “Black Health and Wellness”!
This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.
With this year’s theme centered on “Black Health and Wellness” (For more information about this click here!) I wanted to provide some tips and resources on making sure you are taking care of the best YOU!!
Be Kind To Yourself
Exercise…Get an accountability partner or even join a group
Keep your body hydrated
Incorporate smoothies into your diet
Take in nature…It is a great remedy for alleviating stress
Start a gratitude journal
Make sure to plenty of sleep…To go back to those naps that we took during kindergarten
Meditate…whether its 5 minutes or 30 minutes, make sure to give your brain a break
Nothing like keeping busy and enjoying it all at the same time!! And why not share with you!! Check out some of my upcoming events!! Mark your calendars!!
*February 7th, 2022 (1 pm/ET)- “Black History Month in the Workplace”, Having Tough Conversation Series-Monthly Series (Virtual Lecture) [OCOO-Office of The Chief Operating Officer]…(Washington, DC/Richmond, VA)
*February 15th, 2022 (4 pm/ET)-“The Art of Storytelling: Black Imagining of Politics and Pop Culture”, [Featured Series Speaker], Berglund Seminar Series-Virginia Commonwealth University-Honors College (Richmond, VA)…Registration TBA
*February 19th, 2022 (12:30-2 pm/ET)-“Black Women and Theories of the Future” (virtual) [Invited Panelist], Schomburg Center-Black Feminist Future series, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture-The New York Public Library (Harlem, NY)…Register Here
Join us for Black Woman and Theories of the Future, a virtual conversation detailing and discussing Black women’s cultural and academic contributions to Afrofuturism past, present, and future. The program features Dr. Susana Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology), Dr. Kinitra Brooks (Michigan State University), Dr. Esther Jones (Clark University), Dr. Tiffany Barber (University of Delaware), and Dr. Grace Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University).
*February 23-26, 2022-
“The Future is in Her Hands: Rewriting Black Girlhood Narratives and Experiences in Comics,” 43rd Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference, [Conference Presenter], (Albuquerque, NM)
“Teaching & Research with Critical Race Theory” 43rd Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference [Invited Panelist], (Albuquerque, NM)
Despite the fact that Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been around for over 40 years, it appears that a lot of folks – especially those who have little understanding of what it is, its history, and how it is used (and not used) – have recently discovered it exists and have formed ill-informed opinions as to its appropriateness in education. CRT originated among diverse legal scholars and led to the development of other “branches” of CRT such as LatCrit, TribalCrit, and Asian CRT. According to the American Bar Association, “CRT challenges white privilege and exposes deficit-informed research that ignores, and often omits, the scholarship of people of color.” Parents and politicians in the United States have come out in force, disrupting school board meetings, proposing legislation, and even calling for a ban on the teaching of CRT at all levels of education, calling it “indoctrination” and divisive. This roundtable attempts to do a number of things: provide historical background regarding the development of CRT, provide context for the recent public outcry regarding its supposed use in the classroom, share ideas and resources regarding CRT in the classroom and research, and discuss attempts to impose bans or legislation that misunderstand and seek to limit the use of CRT in education and how one can respond. Participants also welcome additional experiences, ideas, resources, and strategies from folks in the audience.
“Sit back and wait to hear a slammin track…Rockin jams by popular demand, I’m back” ~Rakim, ‘Guess Who’s Back’
WE ARE BACK for another season of “Conversations with Beloved and Kindred!” And we are hyped and excited to get back to it!! Did you miss us?!! Well we missed you!!
Kicking off Black History Month, in this second season Dr. Robinson and I are looking forward to bringing you more intellectual commentary as we dive into the Horror and Thriller film genre!
In the past five years since Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out debut on Hollywood screens the genre horror has really picked up steam and garnered new audiences. But what about Black horror and thrillers specifically?? Although not a new genre it has not received the same amount of attention as other horror films. So Dr. Robinson and I want to shed light on some seminal, classic Black horror and thriller films as well as some newcomers that are worthy of your viewing!!
As noted by horror writer and educator Tananarive Due “We’ve always loved horror, it’s just that, unfortunately, horror has not always loved us”. Well we hope that with each episode we can bring to you this season we share some love and appreciation to the Blackness in horror!!
And just in case you need a little refresher or you are new to the series, Conversations with Beloved & Kindred is a web series in collaboration with the Program & Outreach Division at Auburn Avenue Research Library (Atlanta, GA) hosted by two Black feminist creatives myself Dr. Grace D. Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Dr. Kaniqua Robinson (Furman University). Through each episode, we talk about creative works (i.e. literature, film, television, and art) that are grounded in the Black experience. Following in the footsteps of two legendary women Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler, Gipson and Robinson seek to fill in the gaps of Black history by reimagining a supernatural Black past and present, while giving voice to the silenced narratives.
So stay tuned!! Mark your calendars and save the date, February 10th will be here before you know it!!
So as I was going through my emails this weekend (the neverending saga lol), I came across one from my colleague about a new Black-owned bookstore opening up here in Richmond. I immediately clicked on the message to get more info on this discovery!!
For all my Richmond folks, or folks who will be coming through the area there is a new bookstore coming to the Shockoe Slip area in February 5th, 2022 (right around the corner) called“The Book Bar”!!
For me this is essential as well, considering I am always trying to find safe spaces to chill and relax as well as support. [The Book Bar has also be added to my list of Black owned bookstores, which you can find in the “Resource Guide” section.] And as an added bonus a potential new hang out spot!!
In addition to this being a bookstore customers will also be able to support and purchase from other vendors and Black-owned businesses. And if you want a little something extra you can take part in the quarterly subscription box, which includes a book and a range of products (i.e. wine, bath bombs, socks and snacks). And as you shop, customers will be able to enjoy a lounge style setting with relaxing R&B and neo soul vibes as their soundtrack to keep you in the mood.
Let me just say I look very much to visiting The Book Bar and making some regular purchases!!
And when it is all said and done, mark your calendars, get your coins ready, and if you are out of town (prepare for a visit)!! Now while you wait for the physical grand opening (Feb. 5th) make sure to check out The Book Bar online at rvabookbar.com as well their corresponding social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram= @rvabookbar , and YouTube!!
Family and Friends!! I got something new for you!! So I wanted to try something different in video form. Dr. G’s Pop Culture Corner (PCC) is a opportunity for me to blerd out about a new tv show, film, commercial, and/or significant moment in pop culture. Thus, I figure why not try this out with the new CW television series “Naomi”! Now before we get to the video let me give you a little background on the show from The CW site:
This DC drama follows the journey of a cool, confident, comic book-loving teenager as she pursues her hidden destiny. When a supernatural event shakes her hometown of Port Oswego to the core, Naomi sets out to uncover its origins.
The series is created by Ava Duvernay & Jill Blankenship; it is also based on the comic book of the same name co-written by Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker and illustrated by Jamal Campbell.
Each episode will range from 10-15 minutes, enough to wet the palette.
So without further ado… Episode #1: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think” (directed by Amanda Marsalis)
Trust me when I say, this series is worth the watch!!
And if you have something in mind that you would like for me to “share my 2 cents” make sure to sound off in the comments!!
Also, as a reminder the new episodes of “Naomi” debut Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET on The CW and if you miss it you can catch it the next day via The CW app.
It’s a new year, a new month, and I got a new set of books for you to put in your shopping cart, which will eventually make it to your bookshelf or e-reader device!! As always I am excited to share with you some literary jewels!!
This month I got a nice selection of books ranging from historical fiction, YA psychological thrillers, LGBTQ+, urban fiction, coming of age and stories from the African diaspora.
So make sure you pre-order, add to your cart, support your local bookstores and remember sharing is caring!!
Wow I cannot believe this time last year I launched my website Black Future Feminist!! A place that brings some culture, keeps you in the loop on television and film, adds to your book collection, and shares some good ol’ pop culture commentary. Each day I feel like I’m still growing, but I embrace that 100%!!
Ahhhhh…It feels like yesterday that I broke out of my shell and shared a little bit of me with you!
So stay tuned for more commentary, book recommendations, reviews, trailers, professional and personal stuff, and so much more!!
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.
The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)’s Eighth Annual Conference*
Conference Theme: “We Can’t Breathe”: Crisis, Catastrophe and Sustaining Community in (Un)livable Spaces
Hosted by University of North Carolina, Charlotte– March 9-11, 2023
Black people can’t breathe. This is because these are crisis ridden times. Crisis and catastrophe wrought by mass incarceration, inadequate housing, climate change, environmental degradation, police brutality, war and the stress upon our everyday lives. Historically, Black communities globally have been made subject to horrific circumstances from involuntary migration, to enforced servitude, Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration, police brutality and now coupled with a pandemic and climate change. This is as juxtaposed with a multiplicity of environmental conditions including inadequate access to healthy food, toxic waste, unclean water and pollution. Black communities have disproportionately experienced the impact of environmental waste, pollution, climate change and lack of access to healthy food resources and equitable healthcare services. This has also more recently meant involuntary migration illustrated with the rise of Black climate refugees worldwide. Statistics indicate that Black people in the U.S. are 75 percent more likely to live close to oil and gas refineries, have disproportionately high rates of asthma, due to environmental factors, and are more frequently made subject to pollution and toxic waste. Our conference this year specifically focuses on the theme of crisis, catastrophe and sustaining community. We are particularly interested here in the ways that the Black community has responded to these circumstances over time in thought and action.
This conference seeks to bring together scholars, activists, public intellectuals and community stakeholders interested in presenting on the theme of crisis, catastrophe and sustaining community in relation to the history and culture of African Diaspora communities.
Papers related to (but not limited to) these topics might be ideal:
Abolitionism (then and now)
Enslavement and Everyday Resistance
Education Pedagogies and Resistance
Housing and Homelessness
Rent Exploitation and the Housing Crisis
Health disparities over time and space
Healthy Food Cooperatives and Programs
Food deserts and Black Mobilization
Clean Water Actions
Police Brutality and Black Resistance
Black Women and the Global Green Movement
Black Children and Environmentalism
Black Women and Eco-feminist Praxis
For more information and submission guidelines, please click here !!
Deadline for submissions is August 1st, 2022
Co-Chairs: LaShawn Harris, Michigan State University and Oscar de la Torre, UNC-Charlotte
Tyler Parry, University of Nevada, Los Vegas Adam McNeil, Rutgers University Grace D. Gipson, Virginia Commonwealth University Crystal Eddins, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Note:The goal is to have an in-person conference but this is subject to change given the current pandemic. Hybrid options may be available as we are an organization that does take seriously inclusivity of all interested in participating in this timely event. Masks will be required and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test (24 hours before attending) must be provided to the organization before attending.
In a show of solidarity and support, I wanted to make sure I shared this statement from my department chair regarding the most recent events in Buffalo, NY…
The Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University is founded on the will and self-determination of the Black community. Our principles reflect a commitment to justice everywhere, to the liberation of people of African descent and to fostering the unabating excellence evident in Black communities across this nation and around the globe.
The VCU Department of African American Studies thus denounces all forms of terror and violence against Black bodies and Black communities. We stand in solidarity with the collective efforts of our local community and nationwide grassroots movements that continue the fight against acts of domestic terrorism fueled by white supremacy that now includes attacks on 13 people — citizens of our broader community — that occurred in Buffalo, New York on May 14, 2022. We stand in solidarity with the families and loved ones of three victims who were injured and the 10 victims whose lives were taken in this act of anti-Black violence and hate. We stand in solidarity with the far too many other Black people who have been slain since the inception of this country.
The humanity of all Black people and the dignity of life itself must be held as a paragon and a universal fact. We are united in lifting our voices, using our power and leveraging our privilege to eradicate racial inequity in this country. We call on our colleagues, students, and allies across the nation to stand courageously with us. To all of those who have already made public statements, we thank you.
We demand justice for the victims of the Buffalo massacre, their loved ones, and their community.
We demand justice in the name of our ancestors who have been here before.