February 6th, 2023– “Expanding the Archive & Classroom: Channeling Blackness, Comics and the Speculative”, UVA Wise-Black History Month Lecture Series (Register to Watch Here)
February 7th, 2023- Suffolk Discovers + Black and Super Live Talks: Afrofuturism with Dr. Grace Gipson [IN-PERSON + LIVE] (Register Here for Zoom)
*March 17-18, 2023-The Past Into The Future: Afrofuturism & Ancient Egypt [Featured Speaker], Berkeley Center for New Media [BCNM]-UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), Free to Attend, For More Info
March 25th, 2023- “Imagining a World of Possibilities Through Comics and Graphic Novels” [Keynote Speaker], Friends of the Library Presents-CulpeperCon 2023– Culpeper County Library (Culpeper, VA), Free to Attend
For my ATL peeps!! This might be something of interest for you!! As part of the HBCU Exhibition Tour, Our Friend Jean is a one-week Pop up Exhibition Featuring 20+ of Jean-Michel Basquiat “Early Works“.
Our Friend, Jean is a sampling of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s earliest works on loan from several collectors who knew him intimately, as friends, collaborators, and lovers. Featuring 20+ artworks including drawings, writings, apparel, mixed media collages, and ephemera. The group of collectors consists of Jane Diaz, Hilary Jaeger, Katie Taylor, Lucy Sante, Al Diaz, and photographer Alexis Adler who also served as a co-curator with Erwin John and Stevenson Dunn, Jr.. Through this exhibition each collector shares uniquely intimate stories of their friend Jean.
The exhibition lends a voice to the unsung collectors of the world, those who offer an artist critical early support out of genuine friendship. It is precisely this type of support that can spring board an artist’s career to unimaginable heights. Friendship is what distinguishes the group of collectors who are lending their works to the “Our Friend, Jean” exhibition.
This exhibition was curated by The Bishop Gallery and supported by the Hennessey, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and The Black Group.
The exhibition is free and will be housed at the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum from October 28-November 4.
For more information and to register to attend, see here!!
And we are back with some new hot features!! A lot is happening in the world, and I’m all for sharing with you!! Check out this week’s new hot topics!!
History Being Made!! An E-Sports degree is coming to a South Carolina HBCU!! With the popularity of gaming and e-sports on the rise, as a billion dollar industry, it is only fitting that HBCU’s pick up the baton and make their mark in this arena. Two years in the making Benedict College is offering a major in E-Sports (to go along with their already existing esports gaming room), making it the first HBCU to do so.
Looking for a southern-inspired meal on your next Delta flight, starting September 1st Delta Airlines travelers leaving out of Atlanta will be able to enjoy a variety of dishes curated by a Black Woman Chef, Mashama Bailey. Chef Bailey is a James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and also serves as the co-founder and Executive Chef of The Grey in Savannah, Georgia.
Making your way to DC anytime soon?? Well make sure you visit the 15 new murals that are part of DC’s 15th anniversary celebration of MuralsDC art program. The first mural (seen below) can be found on the parking lot of the Chik-fil-A on Maryland Ave. in NE DC. More of the installations will be housed in the “Art Allery” an art gallery in an alley on H Street.
Gospel singer and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson now has a dedicated public plaza named in here honor. Mahalia Jackson Court is an 8,500-square foot space housed on 1 E. 79th St. in Chatham, IL that will feature daily food trucks, music, curated art and a playscape for children. Visitors will also be able to check out a history display, which will feature various artifacts.
This past week it was announced that a prequel series revolving around the high profile Netflix show Bridgerton will showcase the glamorous and fierce Queen Charlotte just wrapped up production!! The show’s director Tom Verica announced it on his Twitter…
Imagining a Utopian Future for Queer Nigerians is a new idea being portrayed in Nigerian photographer Daniel Obasi’s latest book “Beautiful Resistance” an artistic collaboration with Louis Vuitton, which chronicles the LGBTQ+ experience in Lagos.
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
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.**
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
Almost let this one slip pass me, but wanted to make sure I shared this exciting event happening this week!! The 10th Annual Black Comic Book Festival starts on this Thursday January 13th and its VIRTUAL!!
The2022 Black Comic Book Festival marks a decade of bringing together animators, Blerds, bloggers, cosplay lovers, fans, families, illustrators, independent publishers, and writers to celebrate Black comic books and graphic novels and provides a platform to get the works directly to readers. This annual event features panel discussions, workshops, cosplay showcases, and highlights the work of creators from across the country.
And guess what all the events are Free.99!! Gotta love that!!
Check out the schedule of events here:
Thursday, January 13
Lifting as We Climb: A Black Comic Book Festival Story | 12 PM: Black Comic Book Festival cofounders: John Jennings, Jonathan Gayles, Deirdre Hollman. Moderated by Kadiatou Tubman (Schomburg Education).
Graphic History: Telling Our Histories through Comics and the Archives | 2 PM: Guests: Dr. Rebecca Hall (Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts; Scholars-in-Residence program) and David Walker (The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History). Moderated by Bridgett Pride, Reference Librarian, Schomburg Center.
S.T.E.M in Comics – Bridging the Gap of Current and Future Technologies in Art and Comics | 4 PM: Guests: Newton Lilavois (Motor City Comic Con), Naseed Gifted (PBS Media, LLC), Dedren Snead (SUBSUME), Ryan Benjamin (DC Comics/Sony), and Emeka Chiedu. Moderated by TJ Sterling (Rae Comics).
Friday, January 14
Afrofuturism: The Past, Present, and Beyond | 12 PM: Guests: John Jennings (Black Comic Book Festival cofounder), Tim Fielder (Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale, DieselFunk Studios), Ytasha Womack (Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture), Reynaldo Anderson (Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness). Moderated by Julian Chambliss (Cofounder of Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research).
Black in Anime: Creators Coloring Outside the Lines | 2 PM: Guests: Arthell Isom (dartshtajio anime studio), Johnny O’Bryant (Noir Caesar), Shanice Penn (Freelance anime illustrator), Sozo Maika (Digital illustrator). Moderated by TJ Sterling (Rae Comics).
The Future of Black Comics Inside and Outside of the Academy | 4PM: Guests: Qiana Whitted, Rebecca Wanzo, and JoAnna Davis-McElligatt. Moderated by Dr. Jonathan Gray.
Saturday, January 15
How to Draw Black Superheroes & Comics | 11 AM: Guest: Tim Fielder (Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale, DieselFunk Studios)
Creating Powerful Women in Comics | 1 PM: Guests: Robyn Smith, Jamila Rowser, Shawnelle Gibbs, Shawnee Gibbs
The Comic Book Spectrum: Curating Safe and Brave Spaces | 3 PM: Guests: Cindy Cortez (Sonic Boombox), Robyn Warren (Geek Girl Strong), Clairesa Clay (Blerd City Comic Con), and Chauna C. Lawson (HBCU Con). Moderated by Regine Sawyer (Lockett Down Productions).
Comic Books & Big Screens: How Comic Creators Are Making Their Way Through Film and TV | 5 PM: Guests: Prentice Penny (Insecure), David Crownson (Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer), Sebastian Jones (Stranger Comics), and URAEUS (Museum of UnCut Funk). Moderated by TJ Sterling (Rae Comics).
For more information regarding registrations, the panels, workshops, and cosplay show click here!!
Also for those that are in the Harlem, NY area you may want to also check out the new exhibition, Boundless: 10 Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures, which will be on display at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture beginning January 14th!!
Boundless: 10 Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures, will document the festival’s evolution through photographs, memorabilia, creator highlights, comic book reading stations, and clips from past festival programs. The Schomburg Center’s collection of comic books and graphic novels dating back to the golden age of comic books will be deployed to illuminate the long history of Black comics and sequential art creators, and the ongoing motivations to render humor, struggle, irony, and futurism steeped in a Black aesthetic.
As I continue to dive into my new city, I am super excited to share this CFC (Call For Contributions) on “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” in which I am serving as the lead editor!! It is open to all and you do not have to reside in Richmond to contribute! See below for more information!
VCU Publishing seeking contributions to ‘Imagining Black Futures in Richmond’* The online anthology aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
VCU Publishing — which amplifies VCU scholarly and research findings and provides publishing opportunities for students and faculty — is seeking contributions for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond,” a curated open access anthology that will imagine and explore futures for Richmond through an Afrofuturist lens.
VCU Publishing, part of VCU Libraries, is hoping to receive Afrofuturist works from diverse authors — both academic and community members — as well as diverse disciplines and perspectives. These contributions could include any discipline and in many forms, whether they be scholarly essays, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual media (for example, photo essays or comic or graphic art), or interviews.
Authors do not have to reside in the Richmond area, but the work in some way must address the city, which continues to grapple with past and present racism and inequality. And since VCU is woven into the fabric of Richmond, VCU Publishing is also interested in works that embrace or challenge the university’s position in the community. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, the project aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
“I am excited to take part in this multidisciplinary anthology project with VCU Publishing,” said Gipson, whose research interests include Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. “As a new resident to Richmond and to VCU, I look forward to learning more about the city of Richmond and the many ways that it explores the Black imaginary space.”
Afrofuturism has been defined by journalist and filmmaker Ytasha Womack as “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation” that “redefines culture and notions of blackness for today and the future” while combining “elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.”
Building on the aspirations and explorations of W.E.B. Du Bois’ scholarly work as well as his speculative fiction, and moving forward to encompass popular culture in its broadest sense, Afrofuturism offers a conceptual springboard for an imagined future for the greater Richmond area that can be expressed through essays, scholarly studies and creative works. A future where, in the words of Du Bois, all are judged “by their souls and not by their skins.”
The idea for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” arose out of discussions on future directions for VCU Publishing following the publication of “The Politics of Annexation” alongside renewed calls for racial justice in summer 2020.
Jimmy Ghaphery, associate dean for scholarly communications and publishing at VCU Libraries, said he is excited to see how “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” “can reflect a rich history of community activism in the city, and establish Richmond as a nexus for imagining and creating a new and more just future for the South and the United States.”
The project, he added, is expected to include a hands-on paid publishing experience for a VCU student.
Sam Byrd, scholarly publishing librarian at VCU Libraries, said the team is hoping to receive an array of materials that “amaze us, that we hadn’t dreamed of.”
“Richmond is a changing city,” he said. “The monuments starting to come down may be the most visible sign of that, but there has been so much more work going on before, during and after, from so many different voices. I hope this project can amplify that diversity and energy and give us some creative paths to move forward on.”
The deadline to contribute to “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” is July 1. Authors will retain copyright for their work and must be willing to have the work shared and preserved by VCU Publishing.
Authors can contribute their work online (Gmail account required). Alternatively, they can attach their file in email to email@example.com, including their name and the title of their contribution. The book is projected to publish in late spring 2022. For more details or further inquiries, VCU Publishing can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.