Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Dr. G's Pop Culture Corner (PCC), On the Desk...

Dr. G’s Pop Culture Corner (PCC)

I just love when a new series effortlessly draws you so that you gotta come back for more! I know it’s early but I’m hooked! Check out below for more of my thoughts on The CW’s “Naomi”…

And don’t forget 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!!

Episode #2: “Unidentified Flying Object”* (directed by DeMane Davis)

*Friendly 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.

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Dr. G's Pop Culture Corner, On the Desk...

Dr. G’s Pop Culture Corner (PCC)

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.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com
Posted in Feature Spotlight, Monthly Book Recommendations, On the Desk...

Dr. G’s Monthly Book Recommendations-January 2022

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!!

Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

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!!

And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and my recommendations from 2021 in the “Resource” section of the website!!

~Dr. G

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

Closing Out Another Year…Saying Goodbye to 2021!!

Another day gone, Another month passed, Another year for the books. 2021 was meant to be a year of recovery and renewal, and in many ways it was just that and in others…well I have no words to describe it. For me personally 2021 was a year of celebrations, milestones, and eye-opening experiences. So much happened that I had to put it in a post, and even when I think about all that I do remember there is still so much more that happened that I probably missed.

Alright because there is no avoiding this topic COVID-19…In 2021 we finally got vaccines and boosters…A few variants named Delta and Omicron would rock the world and really shake things up…We would have a few celebrities who all of sudden became PhD’s and MD’s over night, overshared, or did foolish things under the umbrella of corona (yep talking about you Nicki Minaj, Gal Gadot, Antonio Brown, Aaron Rodgers)…CDC shortening the quarantine time

Through this recovery and renewal we did get to see our favorite sports games in full swing with the 2020 Summer Olympics happening in July…the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA Championship 50 years since their last one…that UCLA vs. Gonzaga NCAA Final Four match-up…and in true fashion the induction of Kobe Bryant into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 

We FINALLY got that Justice League: Snyder Cut (worth every bit of the 4 hours and 2 mins)…We were blessed with Nia DaCosta’s Candyman and the fineness that is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II…I will never look at Red-Light, Green-Light the same, Thank you “Squid Game”….As I said in a previous post we saw the end of an era with the series finale of Issa Rae’s “Insecure” (THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!) this show’s impact goes way beyond the screen…It felt good to be back in the movie theaters even if I was masked up…HBO Max’s “Succession” and “And Just Like That”…Lady Gaga and House of Gucci…The MCU came back strong on both television and film…and we also got Coming 2 America

In the music world we got some closure with Britney Spear conservatorship…a new album “Heaux Tales” from Jazmine Sullivan (we had been waiting since 2015), Thank you Jazmine!!…Questlove brought us “Summer of Soul” (a true gift that you can check out on Hulu)…Travis Scott & Astroworld… Verzuz gave us Chaka Khan/Stephanie Mills, Keith Sweat/Bobby Brown, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Three Six Mafia, Big Daddy Kane/KRS-One

As the title of this post reads, “Saying Goodbye to 2021” there are a few things that simply get a N’SYNC ‘Bye Bye’ and nothing more. We got to say #ByeBye to #45 and good riddance. #ByeBye to the Cuomo Brothers. #ByeBye to the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, VA, definitely glad I do not have to pass that anymore.

The Oh My Goodness Moments…January 6th-Capitol Attack (I remember that day so vividly)…that Meghan and Harry interview with Oprah…the partial collapse of a 12-story condominium in Surfside, Florida…Juneteenth became a federal holiday…Lil Nas X shoe saga…Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb”

Convictions were handed down to Derek Chauvin, Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan, Kim Potter, Ghislaine Maxwell and for a few moments the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Daunte Wright and the numerous girls and teens were given some sort of justice.

Oh and we can’t for get the random things that elevated our lives, changed the game, and even give the side-eye. Who would have thought the air fryer would make such a huge impact. Total Game Changer!! A few smh moments like the #MilkcrateChallenge, the coin shortage, Bernie Sanders mittens, The Weeknd’s performance at Super Bowl LV, Clubhouse came and made a splash and well…and the viral video of the white woman hiding a stuffed Lynx cat in her bosom…the petition to stop interviewing Will and Jada Pinkett Smith

Celebrating Life…A Memorial…Just when I think I get over one loss, then comes another and another…2021 is no different. Before January 2021 ended we lost a gentle soul of a woman Cicely Tyson. I had just picked up her memoir and was preparing to dive in, let’s just say her presence was definitely felt as I voraciously read through each page. Tyson would only be the beginning…We would also lose some heavy hitters in the acting world my DST soror Suzzane Douglas, Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Micheal K. Williams (This man was just hitting his prime!! You definitely have to check out his catalog of work), Melvin Van Peebles…some HUGE icons that really hit home for me Anne Rice, Beverly Clearly (need to go pull out my Ramona Quimby & Beezus and Ramona books), archbishop Desmond Tutu, bell hooks (her work will forever live through my research), Gloria Richardson (a civil right pioneer)…music legends Mary Wilson, Biz Markie and DMX…Sports legends Hank Aaron, John Madden (I just knew he would live forever), Tommy Lasorda, Elgin Baylor, Leon Spinks…the first African American Secretary of State Colin Powell…Prince Phillip…cultural personality Larry King…and a final tribute Men’s fashion style icon Virgil Abloh…

Let’s Talk Mental Health…Thank you Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for giving us a live and in living color definition of mental health preservation…

The Elements definitely had their way in 2021 with the tornadoes ripping through Kentucky and other parts of the Midwest and South…Hurricane Ida…Winter Storm in Texas…Wild fires in Colorado…Heatwave in Oregon

Can’t forget some #DropTheMic Moments Nikole Hannah-Jones being denied tenure at UNC-Chapel Hill but then making a boss move becoming the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s School of Communications…HBCU’s partnering with the tech world to address the diversity gap…Joy Reid becoming the first Black woman to host a primetime talk show on a major network (MSNBC)…Deion Sanders changing the football game via HBCU Jackson State University…

2021 also brought us a lot of Fashion Moments ranging from Michelle Obama and Amanda Gorman’s inauguration outfits…the Met Gala…Pyer Moss (Kerby Jean Raymond) became the first Black designer to present at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week (C’est Magnifique!!)

Now personally 2021 was the year I turned 40, I got to go on a few trips in and out of the U.S. (Oh I how I miss that Dominican coffee and beautiful sunshine)…I was back in-person in the classroom…I dealt with trauma, anxiety, and depression (always a work in progress)…I made it through my first year as a tenure-track professor…I got Vaxxed and Boosted…learned a lot more about myself…continued to navigate finding that ultimate balance…and one of my proudest moments, I launched Black Future Feminist!!

We will see what 2022 brings us…

~Dr. G

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

Dr. G’s ‘Top 21’ Books of 2021

Did I mention I love to read…Well I DO!! Ever since I was kid I always had a book to read. Even as I hit 40 this year, I made sure I had my share of reading done. Matter fact this year I even did a Reading Challenge (on Good Reads) where I had to read at one book a month. And as I type this post I managed to get in 15 books plus a few comic books and graphic novels. It felt good to turn the pages (old school reader) of each new book and then look up what my next read would be!!

With all that said, I figure I would keep up with my tradition from last year and compile my ‘Top 21’ books from this year, and as an extra bonus for me I even got to meet some of the authors!! Pretty cool!!

Nothing like sharing some of your faves!! As I always say, ‘sharing is caring.’

So in no particular order, here is my Top 21 List of Books for 2021!!

  1. Just As I Am ~Cicely Tyson
  2. Somebody’s Daughter ~Ashley C. Ford
  3. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre ~Carole Boston Weatherford
  4. Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America ~Keisha N. Blain
  5. Luster ~Raven Leilani
  6. Black Leopard, Red Wolf: The Dark Star Trilogy ~Marlon James
  7. Digital Black Feminism ~Catherine Knight Steele
  8. Maya and the Robot ~Eve L. Ewing
  9. The Black Flamingo ~Dean Atta
  10. Fast Pitch ~Nic Stone
  11. Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into The Life of My Dreams ~Yvonne Orji
  12. The Day the Klan Came to Town ~Bill Campbell
  13. Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood ~Edited by Kwame Mbalia
  14. Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South ~Regina N. Bradley
  15. The Book of Unknown Americans ~Cristina Henriquez
  16. The 1619 Project ~Nikole Hannah-Jones
  17. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water ~Nikole Hannah-Jones & Renée Watson
  18. Stella’s Stellar Hair ~Yesenia Moises
  19. How the Word Is Passed A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America ~Clint Smith
  20. Libertie ~Kaitlyn Greenidge
  21. Raybearer ~Jordan Ifueko

Happy Reading!!

~Dr. G

Posted in On the Desk...

Dr. G’s Holiday Movie Favorites!!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Christmas cookies (CHECK), Egg Nog or Mulled Wine (CHECK & CHECK), Firestick plugged in (CHECK), and plenty of Blankets (CHECK)!! Just a few items needed as we prepare to dive into some Holiday movies!! I figured I would share a few of my holiday favorites with you to get you in the holiday mood!! Now some of these are classics and some are just simply for a good laugh, but nonetheless channeling the holiday season!! Check them out below:

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989): This is one of my all-time favorite movies ever!! It never gets old!! And an extra bonus it takes place in my home state (Chicago, IL)!!
  • Four Christmases (2008)
  • The Best Man Holiday (2013): Nothing like hearing and seeing a rendition of New Edition perform during the Holidays!!
  • The Holiday (2006)
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020): A fantastical/STEM holiday adventure infused with some #BlackGirlMagic … works for me!!
  • The Preacher’s Wife (2002): What more could you ask for with a cast that includes the late Whitney Houston, Denzel Washington, the hilarious Jenifer Lewis, and Courtney B. Vance and the amazing music…chef’s kiss!!
  • A Christmas Story (1983): Classic Christmas Tell!!
  • Prancer (1989)
  • Frosty the Snowman (1969):Classic Holiday Canon!!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966): Classic Holiday Canon!!
  • The Night Before (2015): Nothing like searching for the ultimate holiday party!!
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): The perfect way to introduce your kids to the classic Christmas tale!
  • The Family Stone (2005)
  • Jingle All the Way (1996): Who doesn’t love a Holiday fight for Christmas toys?!!
  • The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
  • Die Hard (1988): Yep this counts!!
  • Home Alone (1990): No ‘Wet Bandits’ for me!!
  • Elf (2003): Will Ferrell in elf suit…priceless!!
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): Classic Holiday Canon!!

Now I know there may be some flicks that didn’t make the list, that maybe you think should, but if that was the case this list would never end!!

In addition to curling up on the couch to watch your favorite holiday movies, I will also escape to the theaters (safely of course, masked and ready). So if you are anything like my family we always have a tradition of going to see a movie on Christmas Day, just another way to get our movie fix in!! And as that day quickly approaches we still gotta figure out what it will be, but trust me we are definitely looking forward to it!!

Now you are ready to rock and ‘Holiday’ roll!

So what’s your favorite Holiday movies??

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com
Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., On the Desk...

It’s #WinterGraduation Time!!

Ahhhhh it’s that time of the year again! It’s a Saturday morning 8:30 am in Richmond, VA on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. The fall/winter season of graduation is upon us!! One thing I do like about VCU is that we have graduation twice a year, for those who finish in May and those that finish in December. December graduation this year was my first time participating in the entire school celebration at the Siegel Center here on the VCU campus. And this year was extra special as I had the awesome opportunity of hooding my former student and sister friend Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan!! Participating in this joyous moment is one that I will treasure for a lifetime. I remember when she asked me to take part in this incredible moment I had to make sure I was not dreaming, causing this is a serious thing. And what really got me was that morning as all the graduates are preparing for the big moment, Lisa walks in and sees me and she immediately begins to tear up and I had to fight back tears. That was the beginning of what would be one of the most rewarding days in my professorial career.

Just a few captured moments with my sister-friend Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan!!

Graduation is ALWAYS one of my favorite times of the year here at VCU and I get to celebrate it twice once in the spring and also in the fall. This momentous occasion is one that with each year will become more and more special. This is what happens when you become invested in your craft and the students who play a role in its shaping.

This semester has been about self-determination and perseverance for not just myself, but especially for my students. Each one of them in their own unique way has charted a path to success on their own terms. I say this every semester, but it warrants being mentioned being a professor/teacher is way more than providing weekly/daily lessons and educating the future…it’s about being a listening ear, parting growing wisdom/advice, showing support in-person and via Zoom, creating platforms for stories to be told, and as my Soror and the first president of National Association of Colored Women (NACW) Mary Church Terrell once said “lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go.” Graduation is the culmination of all the hard work that students take part in during their academic matriculation, and we as professors get to see the fruits of their labor flourish. I am always grateful that I get to change lives regardless of how big or small.

This change was specifically seen in my Capstone Senior Seminar course! I had the opportunity to mentor 7 AFAM seniors as they completed their senior thesis research projects. The topics ranged from the importance of Black motorcycle clubs in the Hampton Roads, to the issue of colorism for Black men, to the need for academic safe spaces, to better representation in comic books, to healing and processing Black mental health in Black matriarchal figures. And if their oral presentations were just an appetizer to their research papers….I cannot wait till the main course!! I am so proud of each of them and the work that they have done. Overcoming fears, sharing their personal stories, being vulnerable, and taking risks that will make them better scholars and people!!

A few of my students from my AFAM 499 course, “Capstone Seminar in Africana Studies” [Bottom picture l-r Angelica Williams, Alexa McNeil, Dr. Gipson, Nylah Kelly, and Winfred Walker]

Look out world, there’s a new set scholars entering and they have something to say!!

~Dr. G

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

Thank You Issa Rae!!

The new season of Insecure has started and we are 2 episodes!! Let me tell you as someone who has been watching the show since DAY ONE, Issa rae and the show never ceases to amaze me!! So much so that I had to write down a few notes in the form of a ‘thank you’ note post expressing my appreciation!! I remember actually hearing about the show in 2016 while vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard and attending the annual MVAAFF. If nothing else I had planned to watched the series off the strength of Issa Rae’s previous web series “Awkward Black Girl” and the fact that it was a series about young Black professionals. With little to no expectations, like many others we just dived in. In the words of R&B singer Vivian Green, we were always riding an “emotional rollercoaster” 30 mins at a time when it came to this show.

It is not often that you find a show that tells so many stories and is so relatable that you have to step back and say “damn that’s really close to my life” or “I totally know that feeling!” Every season has created an on-going dialogue, surrounding everything from entrepreneurship to family planning (birth and death) to complex relationships/dating to self-preservation to job security to simply just believing in one’s self, all topics that will surely continue linger in the atmosphere even after the last and final episode. For me, Insecure is the Living Single of its time! As a professional, awkward, funny, driven Black woman seeing the various experiences of Black womanhood play out on-screen via the vision of a Black woman always gave me a sense of hope and promise.

And so I have to thank you for showing the many complex layers of relationships and friendship and that they are not perfect nor should we strive for them to be. To be honest in each of the four main Black female characters (Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany) I found a piece of myself in each character. That’s what makes being a Black woman so great!! Life truly is a learning process. You provided us another outlet that permits us to stumble, fail, get back up, find joy, be angry, and persevere!!

Black women friendships as personified in HBO’s Insecure

Thank you for normalizing therapy, particularly for Black women…The familiarity of each session was so very refreshing….this is so needed and necessary. The way therapy is showcased on this show is a great example of how it can be utilized in fiction but translate into reality.

Molly in a therapy session on ‘Insecure’ Season 2-Episode 2 “Hella Questions”

The fashion and hair…So versatile..Daring…Forward-thinking…Inspiring…I definitely picked up a few things and added them to my closet.

How about all the cameos….Syd, Sterling K. Brown, Lil Rel Howery, Kyla Pratt, Luke James, Kofi Siriboe, Jidenna, Hayley Kiyoko, Dawn Richard, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and many more…

I will always look at couches, Best Buy shirts, and Coachella very differently and I’m good with that!

New and improved vocabulary…words/concepts/phrases like ‘zaddy’, ‘ho-tation’, ‘Go for it, go for it, go! Ho for it, ho for it, ho!’, ‘work in progress’, ‘thug yoda’, and ‘we got y’all’ will always have a special place in the Black community.

Thank you for the location…location…location!!

Oh and I cannot forget the amazing soundtracks, my music game continues to level up thanks to this show!!

Official ‘Insecure’ Playlist from Spotify

Watching this show this show for me personally allowed me to have those moments of thinking about how to evaluate my life and actions. Lots of growth and self-reflection!! I definitely increased my intake of daily affirmations and learned to truly be honest with myself and others. About five years ago, Issa Rae made a statement to NPR that definitely resonated then and even more so now, “We don’t get to just have a show about regular Black people being basic.” Who would have thought basic, regular, and awkwardness were just the things we needed in life.

Once again my Sunday nights will never be the same after Insecure comes to a final close. Insecure will join such shows as Lovecraft Country, Power, and The Wire, as premium channels shows that were well worth the extra purchasing cost.

So when it is all said and done…Issa you switched up the tv landscape around how we CAN center Black people and culture in a variety of ways….And I thank you Issa Rae for making this contribution to the pop culture landscape!!

Flyer from Insecure-Season 1
Flyer from Insecure-Season 2
Flyer from Insecure-Season 3
Flyer from Insecure-Season 4
Flyer from Insecure-Season 5

Just a few of my thoughts…

~Dr. G

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

Celebrating Jackie Ormes!!

Join WinC International (via their WinC Media Channel) and Hello Barkada on TODAY at 7 pm/ET as they celebrate cartoonist icon Jackie Ormes!!

“Cartoonists and history-makers Barbara Brandon-Croft (“Where I’m Coming From”), Bianca Xunise (“Six Chix”), and Steenz (“Heart of the City”) join Hello Barkada founder Christine Pasalo Norland to discuss the impact of the late cartoonist Jackie Ormes!”

Totally siked to see this event taking place!! As a huge fan of Jackie Ormes, there was no question that I needed to make sure I tune into this discussion!

This event is FREE and will be live-streamed!!

Here is an event you do not want to miss!!

You can RSVP for the event here!!

And if you want to get a head start on who Jackie Ormes check out the following site!

~Dr. G

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

Just in case you missed it!!-“The Portrayal of Women in Media & Entertainment”

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to sit on an AMAZING panel with a great group of women to discuss women in media and entertainment as part of the Meliora 2021 celebration at the University of Rochester!!

So I wanted to make sure I shared the video with you just in case you may have missed the LIVE presentation, or you just want to re-cap!!

Check it out below: