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
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)!!
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.
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.**