Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s September Book Recommendations

Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

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

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

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

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

Marvel Studios’ Eternals (In theaters November 5th)

Red Notice (Streaming on Netflix November 12th)

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

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

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

*Original Post Feature from the Chicago Humanities Festival

Chicago Humanities Festival - Nonprofit Giving Platform | GiveGab

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

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

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

1) Storm (X-Men, Marvel Comics)

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

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

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

2) Martha Washington (Dark Horse Comics)

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

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

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

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

3) Raquel “Rocket” Ervin (Milestone Comics)

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

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

4) RiRi “Ironheart” Williams (Marvel Comics)

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

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

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

5) Torchy Brown (created by Jackie Ormes)

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

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

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

To check out the full feature, see here!!

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s-July Book Recommendations

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

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

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

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

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, Resources

Dr. G’s June 2021-Book Recommendations

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

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

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

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

Till next month!!

~Dr. G

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On The Radar

New Summer Series!!

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, ooh
And I’m feeling good

‘Feelin’ Good’ ~Nina Simone

Hello!! Hello!! How are you feeling my friends?! Like Nina Simone, I’m feelin’ good and can’t wait for summer to get here!!

Summertime is definitely one of my favorite seasons, partly due to my Birthday [Leo in the House!!], the weather is amazing, and the fact that there is so much happening on a day-to-day basis! Well I got something for you to add to your summertime fun! Dr. Kaniqua Robinson and I are linking back up for some summertime conversations. If you have tuned into our video podcast, Conversations with Beloved and Kindred then you already have a sneak peek into what is to come!!

For the month of June, Auburn Avenue Research Library will host the limited series Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy!! Inspired by Nina Simone’s 1965 classic song “Feelin’ Good”, Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good” is a freeform dialogue that foregrounds how people of African descent create communal agency and collective resilience via the cultivation of joy. Check out what is in store below:

  • June 16th-Juneteenth Why Our Day of Jubilation Matters: In recognition of Juneteenth (2021), this discussion will examine the history and contemporary relevance of the Juneteenth holiday as a curated expression of Black joy and agency. Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, which has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.
  • June 23rd-Sonic Curation of Happiness via Black Music: In recognition of Black Music Month (June), this discussion will explore the songs and singers/musicians that contribute to the communal expression of collective Black joy and happiness soundtrack.

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

Look forward to you all tuning in!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!

New Trailer Alerts!!

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

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

Infinite (Premieres June 10th on Paramount+)

Physical (Premieres June 18th on Apple TV+)

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

Old (In theaters July 23rd)

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

Conversations with Beloved & Kindred-Episode #8

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

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

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

Posted in On The Radar

New Trailer Alerts!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!!