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
Can we just say Marvel is not playing any games!! Wasting no time pulling the fans into theaters and updating their streaming services!! This week’s trailer alerts are dedicated to all the upcoming Marvel television series and films!! Check them out below:
Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (Streaming on the Disney Channel February 10th) [Now I’m super siked about this one!!]
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (In theaters February 17th)
Season 2-What If…? (Streaming on Disney+ Early 2023)
Secret Invasion (Streaming Spring 2023 on Disney+)
Guardians of the Galaxy-Vol. 3 (In theaters May 5th)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (In theaters June 2nd)
The Marvels (In theaters July 28th)
Season 2-Loki (Streaming on Disney+ Summer 2023)
Kraven the Hunter (In theaters October 6th)
X-Men ’97 (Streaming on Disney + Fall 2023)
While there are no trailers just yet for these next few we do have a time period for when to be on the lookout!!
Another week of hot topics hot off the press!! Lots of goodies to get your week started!! Check them out below:
A Black Twitter docu-series is headed to Hulu!! Inspired by Jason Parham’s detailed oral history, A People’s History of Black Twitter, comes the story of “the rise, the movements, the voices and the memes that made Black Twitter an influential and dominant force in nearly every aspect of American political and cultural life.” The three-part docu-series is led by showrunner and executive producer Prentice Penny (Insecure) and will be his first project under Onyx Collective . As tweeted by Penny, “For those who know me you know how much love, respect, fear, and admiration I have for #BlackTwitter so I can’t be more excited and scared to a doc about the culture – just remember im doing this in love.”
According to Crayola Executive James Wells, “creativity is currency” for young children!! And starting on January 23 through January 29th, teachers, children, their families can celebrate “Crayola’s Creativity Week!!” As part of the week-long celebration there will be free-virtual events, resources, and opportunities for kids to earn lots of prizes! Youth will be able to tap into their creative side whether in the classroom or in the comfort of their home.
As we prepare for the Mardi Gras season you gotta make sure you have your King Cake!! Well you are in luck I have a few places where you can order your own special “Fat Tuesday” treat online:
What do Nikki Giovanni and Sundance have in common…well a documentary titled Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project made its debut in Park City on January 20th. Directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson “craft a vision fit for the radical imagination of Nikki Giovanni.” The synopsis reads, through intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators.
And lastly, if you plan to be out in the Bay Area, you should check out the new exhibit at the ICA San Francisco!! Two Black women California artists Tahirah Rasheed and Autumn Breon “are celebrating Black beauty and relaxation ” in the exhibition Resting Our Eyes. As a new institution, the ICA San Francisco will celebrate the work of Rasheed and Breon along with work from Carrie Mae Weems, Derrick Adams, Sadie Barnette, Genevieve Gaignard, and Simone Leigh. “Focusing on the liberation and celebration of Black women through the lens of leisure and physical adornment, Resting Our Eyes features new and existing works from 20 multi-generational Black artists working across sculpture, photography, video, mixed media, painting, and textile.” Resting Our Eyes will be on display from January 21-June 25!
[The images above include Ja’Tovia Gary, Citational Ethics (Saidiya Hartman, 2017), 2020; Curators Tahirah Rasheed and Autumn Breon at “Resting Our Eyes” at the ICA San Francisco (Photo by Vikram Valluri for BFA); and the ICA-SF]
With all the conversations and reactions surrounding the teaser trailer of the upcoming spring film “The Little Mermaid” myself and another colleague of mine Bethan Jones decided to put digital pen to paper and share some of our thoughts. The piece is titled, “Part of Your World”: Fairy Tales, Race, #BlackGirlMagic, and The Little Mermaid.”
Here are a few excerpts…
In 2016 Disney announced a live-action adaptation of its 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale, the animation earned critical acclaim, took $84 million at the domestic box office during its initial release, and won two Academy Awards (for Best Original Score and Best Original Song). Given Disney’s recent foray into creating live-action adaptations of some of its most successful animated films, it’s no surprise that The Little Mermaid was added to the list. Yet controversy rose when Black actress Halle Bailey was announced as Ariel in July 2019. Among the critiques was the argument that the adaptation should be as close to the original as possible, and the original featured a white mermaid; that if a Black character was re-cast as white in a remake there would be uproar; and while representation in all forms is important it shouldn’t override the history of the characters…
We even provided some history and background into the significance and importance of Black mermaids.
While the original fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen does describe Ariel’s character as “her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea” this does not mean that there were no mermaids who were of color. In fact, water spirits and Black mermaids existed even before Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale. It is important to note the global history of mermaids and water spirits due to the fact that the existence of Black characters in fantasy, magical realism, and science-fiction is often non-existent. If we think about this from an Afrofuturistic lens, these early Western tales did not see Black characters as even being a part of these narratives. The waters have always been seen as a sacred space literally and figuratively within African folklore. Housed within many African traditions, the water serves as a bridge between otherworlds, life and the afterlife. And the sea deity Mami Wata or La Sirene (which translates as Mother Water or Mother of Water) serves as the beginnings of many African mythical tales.
Time is truly flying by! I feel like we just started the month of January, and here we are half way through the month! But with each day and week that passes more trailers are being released! Check out some new ones below:
Season 2-Harlem (Streaming February 3 on Amazon Prime Video)
Not Dead Yet (Streaming February 8 on ABC)
Somebody I Used To Know (Streaming February 10 on Amazon Prime Video)
Your Place Or Mine (Streaming February 10 on Netflix)
Another week, another set of HOT TOPICS!! Let’s see what I got for you this week. Check it out below:
Fresh off of a huge night, Abbott Elementary fans can breathe a sigh of relief know that there WILL be a Season 3!! This news comes after the show and several actors winning big, Tyler James Williams (Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy), Quinta Brunson (Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy), and the show winning Best Television Series-Musical or Comedy.
Looking to change up your meal plan or simply add a little flavor and spice you are in luck! Tabitha Brown has a new limited-edition collection that just launched at Target on January 8th. This is her third collection which includes cookware and vegan/plant-based food options. Brown’s food items feature vegan cream cheese spreads, pastas and plant-based patties and the cookware includes cast iron skillets, utensils and towels.
#BlackWomenMakingMoves … Angela Bassett made history at this year’s Golden Globes!! Bassett won “Best Supporting Actress-Motion Picture” for her as ‘Queen Ramonda’ in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever making her the first to win a Golden Globe for a Marvel movie. If this is in preparation for Bassett winning a long-overdue Oscar, I’m all in!! See her acceptance speech below:
There’s a new “American Girl”-2023 Girl of the Year doll in town and her name is Kavika “Kavi” Sharma. The first South Asian American Girl Doll. As noted by the AG company, “Kavi joins the company’s long line of contemporary characters, introduced more than 20 years ago, that represent a wide range of backgrounds to reflect what it means to be an American girl today.” Here is a tangible product that represents progression and hope!! In addition to the doll to purchasing the doll, various accessories can be purchased alongside the doll: the “Song & Dance Bundle,” that includes a red, blue, and gold lehenga (a traditional form of South Asian clothing), matching South Asian jewelry including a tikka (head piece), necklace, and a pair of bangles. Other accessories also include backstage wardrobe essentials and various sparkly outfits. The doll is available for purchase now!
For all my MCU fans, Phase 5 is going to be a pretty exciting time!! I know I am looking forward to the upcoming line-up!! And just in case you have not seen the latest news, check out what is coming in 2023:
It’s the last day of 2022, we are almost there folks!! So the pandemic is still real, but somehow we are managing it. Let’s just say this was another unforgettable year!!
Definitely had some moments that shook the nation with such things as abortion no longer being a constitutional right, the ongoing war in Ukraine, the tragedy in Uvalde (TX), banned books, the retirement of a tennis legend Serena Williams, we got the slap of the century when Will Smith cold clocked slapped Chris Rock, and jaw-dropping seasons of Euphoria and Bridgerton.
In sports news, Argentina wins the World Cup, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl (along with an AMAZING halftime show-Hip Hop and R&B reigning supreme), the Houston Astros win their second World Series title…then you got the suspension of Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka (and his split from Nia Long), Tom Brady retired…back in the game and then divorced, Brittney Griner is released from a Russia prison and returns home to the U.S….and one of my fave moments the Golden State Warriors reclaimed the NBA Title throne!!
Lena Horne became the first Black woman to have a Broadway theater named after her…Two Literary Pioneers were honored with USPS stamps, Toni Morrison and Ernest J. Gaines!
In politics, for the first time in history the four largest U.S. cities New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston will all have Black mayors after this year’s midterm elections…Karen Bass sealed the deal with her historic win! And THANK GOD Georgia did not elect Herschel Walker into the U.S. Senate, we can all breathe a sigh of relief!
The elements are still having their way whether its the frigid winter storm in Buffalo, Hurricane Ian and Fiona, and heat waves coming in July, August and October!!
The Little Mermaid teaser trailer…Just wow!! I’m so ready!!…Also, definitely gotta shout out some good friends for putting me on to Billions and Yellowstone, talk about some good tv!!
Speaking of good tv let me just drop a few more nuggets:
Riches (Amazon Prime Video)
Reasonable Doubt (Hulu)
Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Blood & Water (Netflix)
Dahmer: Monster-The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Netflix)
Raising Kanan: Power Book III (STARZ)
Final season of OWN Network Queen Sugar and FX Atlanta
Cherish the Day (OWN)
The Bear (Hulu)
Let’s Go To The Movies… I was so glad that the theaters have opened back up again, feels good to sit back and relax at my local AMC!!
The Woman King: Finally these stories are being told!!
Everything Everywhere All at Once: Brilliant movie that definitely did not get the pub it should have…such a good movie!!
Top Gun: Maverick: Now that was a fun ride!!
Descendant (Netflix): Gotta love history, especially when they speak the truth!
Confess, Fletch: Pure laughs!!
Bullet Train: Who knew you could enjoy a movie that is set on a bullet train…
Nope: Layered and complex!!
Prey (Hulu definitely knows how to drop those gems!!)
Devotion: A piece of history that I didn’t know about but glad I do now!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Not a dry eye!! Ryan Coogler & Ruth E. Carter you did it again!! Angela Bassett proved once again why she is that one!!
Remembering those we lost in 2022…Folks that definitely made some sort of impact on my 41 years of life!!
Sidney Poitier (January 6th): The epitome of elegance and stage presence!
Lani Guinier (January 7th)
Bob Saget (January 9th)
André Leon Talley (January 18th)
Charles McGee (January 23rd): One of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen!
Cheslie Kyrst (January 30th): Mental Health is real!!
Ivan Reitman (February 13th): Ghostbusters!!
Johnny Brown (March 2nd): Ohhhhh “Good Times”
Traci Braxton (March 12th)
William Hurt (March 13th)
Madeleine Albright (March 23rd)
Gilbert Gottfried (April 12th)
DJ Kay Slay (April 18th): Ahhhh takes me back to my undergrad days
Naomi Judd (April 30th)
Bob Lanier (May 10th)
Ray Liotta (May 26th)
Sam Gilliam (June 25th)
Paul Sorvino (July 25th)
Nichelle Nichols (July 30th): SO Grateful and Thankful for the barriers she broke and the history made!
Bill Russell (July 31st): A legend in every sense of the word!!
Roger E. Mosely (August 7th): I will always remember those days of watching Magnum, P.I. (the original)
Olivia Newton-John (August 8th): Such a sweet soul taken from this earth!
Hanae Mori (August 11th): Haute Couture at its finest!!
Denise Dowse (August 13th)
Mikhail Gorbachev (August 30th)
Queen Elizabeth II (September 8th)
Ramsey Lewis (September 12th)
Pharoah Sanders (September 24th)
Coolio (September 28th): One more “Fantastic Voyage”
Charles Fuller (October 3rd)
Loretta Lynn (October 4th)
Angela Lansbury (October 11th): Murder Mysteries will never be the same!!
Leslie Jordan (October 24th)
Rev. Calvin O. Butts III (October 28th)
Takeoff (November 1st)
John Aniston (November 14th): Soap opera’s will never be the same!
Irene Cara (November 26th): I just wanna dance forever!!
Dorothy Pitman Hughes (December 1st): Co-founder of the prominent feminist publication Ms. Magazine
Kirstie Alley (December 5th)
Paul Silas (December 11th)
Stephen “tWitch” Boss (December 14th)
Franco Harris (December 21st): There will never be another “Immaculate Reception” … One for the books!!
Pelé and Vivienne Westwood (December 29th)
Barbara Walters (December 30th)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (December 31st): The longest-living pope, having surpassed Pope Leo XIII in September 2020, known as “God’s Rottweiler”.
Beyoncé gave us her 7th studio album, Renaissance...Afrobeats continues to rise and I’m here for all of it! Usher’s Las Vegas show makes huge waves…Ari Lennox brought us Age/Sex/Location…And another bomb soundtrack from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!!
The housing market was a win for sellers, but it looks like that is taking turn back for buyers (I hope so, cause your girls will definitely be looking in 2023). Twitter was bought by Elon Musk…We witnessed our first Black woman Supreme Court Justice, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson (RBG is definitely smiling)…and soooooo much more!!
For me 2022, was all about roller coaster rides of life. I had many valley lows and just as many high moments. Sold my house in ATL (the end of an era)…I dealt with with anxiety, some depression, some trauma, and deep loss. Losing my Uncle Oscar hit me deep in my core! And if I am being honest, I am still grieving and probably will for some time. He meant so much to me, he will never be forgotten. There is not a day that doesn’t go by where I just want to shoot him a ring and ask for him to pray with and for me. But when it is all said and done I know he is watching over me, smiling, and having a good laugh with my Grandma!! I definitely got a chance to travel and collect some more passport stamps. I went to New Mexico for the first time, tried real Belgium waffles IN Belgium (Twice)!! Presented at Wonder-Con (Anaheim, CA), gave a keynote lecture at Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium). Got to celebrate Black History Month twice once in the US and in London!! Went to the Roots Picnic in Philly…Celebrated many of my friends 40th Birthday’s….that was fun!
Even got me a new ride…a Christmas gift to myself!!
This year I got to spend a lot of time on several beaches and oh was that therapeutic (Thank you Turks and Caicos and Playa del Carmen)…Lord knows I love the water!!
…It was good to be back in the classroom for another semester with some AMAZING students!! I am truly grateful to have this job/career. I look forward to completing 2023 as I will (I’m claiming) get through my Third-Year Review and become another step closer towards Tenure!! Oh and I got boosted again! I launched a new project, Black Girl Magic in Media (BGMM) and let me tell you I am very excited about what is in store! Be on the lookout for what is in store!
I continue to learn more about myself…grow…find balance…navigate all the moving parts of my life…and taking one day at a time!
Let me just say I am also very thankful for my BFF family and friends!! I look forward to bringing you more good news and culture in 2023!!
Keeping up with my tradition from 2020 and 2021 I have compiled my ‘Top 22’ books from this year!! I feel like I always have an endless supply of books, you can never have too many! Plus I love seeing my library grow!!
This year I added a few graphic novels that caught my attention during one of my many travels this year!!
All in all, I love sharing some of my top reading faves!! As I always say, ‘sharing is caring.’
So in no particular order, here is my Top 22 List of Books for 2022!!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever the Courage to Dream ~Frederick Joseph
The Keeper ~Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes
Take My Hand ~Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough ~Candice Marie Benbow
The Silent Twins ~Marjorie Wallace
The Light We Carry ~Michelle Obama
Black Disability Politics ~Sami Schalk
Riding Jane Crow:African American Women on the American Railroad ~Miriam Thaggert
Finding Me ~Viola Davis
Walking in My Joy In These Streets ~Jenifer Lewis
Surviving Southampton: African American Women and Resistance in Nat Turner’s Community ~Vanessa M. Holden