Posted in Celebration, On the Desk..., Resources

#30DaysofBlackJoy…Day 5-Culinary Blackness

Before I begin, let me first apologize for what is to follow (#sorrynotsorry lol)…last night I went out with some friends and had this AMAZING shrimp basket with sweet potato fries and LORD HAVE MERCY it was sooooo good!! And the lightbulb went off…Grace your post for Monday should be all about food and drinks!! The Black culinary experience is definitely a space where we exude a great deal of Black Joy!!

There is such a rich history as it relates to the culinary world that you cannot talk about food and drink without bringing in the Black/African diaspora! So here we are!! As a budding foodie, wine lover, and restaurant experimenter, I knew one of these 30 days had to focus on the greatness of the Black culinary world. I have so many memories about my grandma’s cooking, trying fresh seafood in Australia, going to the vineyards in South Africa, my cousin Terry getting me my first drink on the Queen Mary, and being in second heaven while dining on some delicious steamed mussels and frites in Brussels.

Today’s Black Joy Moment is all about highlighting Black chefs, restaurants, mixologists, cookbooks, and anything to make your culinary senses go haywire!!

Notable Black Chefs/Bakers/Mixologists

  • Tiffany-Anne Parkes- Pastry Chef/Creative and owner of Pienanny and A Seat Above The Table (Instagram: @pi.naan.ee)
  • Arley Arrington- Baker and owner of Arley Cakes (Instagram: @arley.cakes)
  • Nina Compton- Chef and owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans (Instagram: @ninacompton)
  • Tanya Holland- Chef, author, and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen (Instagram: @mstanyaholland )
  • Lazarus Lynch- Chef, author, and founder of the culinary brand Son of a Southern Chef (Instagram: @lazaruslynch)
  • Ramona Jackson- Mixologist and founder of Bourbon Bohemian (Instagram: @thebourbonbohemian)
  •  Jermey Elliott- Mixologist/Bartender and co-owner of Double D’s Bar (Instagram: @jermeygelliott)

Black Culinary Documentaries/TV Series

Featured Black Cookbooks

  • Southern Cooking, Global Flavors ~Kenny Gilbert & Nan Kavanaugh
  • Ghetto Gastro Presents… Black Power Kitchen ~Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker with Osayi Endolyn
  • Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health ~Gregory Gourdet with JJ Goode
  • Caribbean Vegan: Plant-Based, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion ~Taymer Mason
  • Vibration Cooking Or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl ~Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor

Additional Information

Stay hungry and thirsty my friends!!

See You Tomorrow!!

Posted in Celebration, Feature Spotlight, On the Desk...

#30DaysofBlackJoy…Day 2-Black Music Appreciation Month

Not only am I celebrating 30 Days of Black Joy this June, but it is also Black Music Appreciation Month!!

Created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, this month celebrates the Black/African American musical influences that comprise an essential part of our nation’s treasured cultural heritage. In a 2019 official proclamation from the White House they note,

“Throughout American history, African American music has reflected our Nation’s challenges and triumphs and has always enriched our Nation’s culture.  During African American Music Appreciation Month, we pay tribute to the talented and inspiring African American artists who have given sound and voice to the full range of human emotions through the blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, rap, hip hop, and other genres. This month, we celebrate the countless contributions of African American singers, composers, and musicians, who have influenced and shaped every genre and style of music.  They have turned universally shared emotions and experiences of suffering, joy, passion, pain, faith, injustice, and love into art that speaks to the heart and spirit of any American.  African American music has the power to encourage, inspire, and affect social change.  It transcends time, compelling generation after generation to sing, dance, think, and feel, and it endures in our culture, our history, our spirit, and our collective national soul.”

For me, music has multiple uses. It’s relaxing…it’s therapeutic…I’m always tuned into something to get me through my day!! In the words of President Biden, “We celebrate Black artists who have used their songs to stand up to injustice, fight for equality, and reflect a mirror on society — reminding us all of our enduring obligation to deliver the promise of America for all Americans.” In many ways this is definitely also a reflection of my thoughts!!

Myself enjoying some soul-soothing sounds at the Roots Picnic in Philly…Reppin’ A Tribe Called Quest!!

Today’s #BlackJoy moment, and for each Friday in June, I will share a curated playlist celebrating some of my favorite Black songs and artists! Check out this week’s playlist below:

What are some of your favorite songs and artists?! Feel free to share some of your favorite Black songs and artists, in the comments, and maybe one of your faves might make the list :-)!!

See you tomorrow!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On the Desk..., On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

It’s almost officially Summer Time!! Time to hit up the movies and see what’s coming to the streaming networks!! Check out the new trailers below:

Season 6-Black Mirror (Streaming on Netflix June 15th)

Season 3-The Righteous Gemstones (Streaming on Max June 18th)

World’s Best (Streaming on Disney+ June 23rd)

Season 4-Jack Ryan (Streaming on Prime Video June 30th)

Full Circle (Streaming on Max July 17th)

Justified: City Primeval– (Streaming on FX July 18th)

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Celebration

Coming Soon…”30 Days of Black Joy!!”

What is Black Joy? Black joy is a celebratory term that has been used to acknowledge and highlight the experiences of happiness, pleasure, and contentment within the Black community. As a powerful and affirming concept, Black Joy incorporates resilience, creativity, and the strength of Black individuals and communities locally, nationally, and globally. In simple terms It’s Happiness…It’s Resistance…It’s Freedom!! Ultimately, Black joy is a counter-narrative to many existing dominant narratives of pain, oppression, and struggle that often define the representation of Black people in media and society.

Every year around this time I am led to share, promote, and celebrate the many ways in which Black Joy is personified and expressed. Over the next 30 days, there will be daily posts (via the BFF website, Instagram, and Facebook) celebrating the various forms and expressions of Black Joy. This is seen through art, music, dance, local/national/global community engagement, personal achievements, storytelling, and soooo much more!!

Now before we dive into our celebration, check out some of these articles to get your mind ready!!

So over these next few weeks and days, I hope that you are able to celebrate the wins, challenge the stereotypes, find fulfillment, and embrace joy!!

Day 1 begins on June 1st, so stay tuned each day for your daily dose of JOY!!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Celebration

Dr. G’s Reflections…”Another School Year in the Books!!”

2022-2023 another school has come and made its mark in the universe. You know I have to say it every time I write these reflections, I LOVE WHAT I DO!! However, this year is the beginning of what is going to be a continuous cycle of the floodgate of tears! This year’s class of 2023 is really special as this is the first class of students that I have seen since they were freshmen entering VCU!! Many of these students have been in at least two of my classes…I have watched them grow and mature…I have seen their struggles and their wins…I’ve met their parents, relatives and children…And seeing them walk across the stage and become graduates…It is truly a blessing to see the impact one can make in a matter of a few short years. Just take a look and see below….

Memories from VCU AFAM Graduation-Spring 2023

Not only is this year been special because of the new graduates, but also because I made it through a major career milestone. I made it through the half-way point of my tenure-track process…the third-year review!! Gathering documents, writing professional statements, obtaining references from students, updating my CV, experiencing teaching evaluations, and so much more…talk about an intense process…But I made it!! I will admit not only was this an experience of strength and dedication, but one of reflection. Going back and looking at all the work that I have done in these three years just blows my mind. I know I’m a hard worker, but just looking back and seeing it all documented on paper (physically and digitally) takes it to another level. This review process also showed me how wide and vast my community of support is and the impact they make on me. Shout out to all those who looked over my essays, shared their past experiences with the process, gave insight, gave an encouraging word, served as cheerleaders, calmed my nerves, took me out for a drink, or were just a listening ear. I think some folks do not realize the role they have in either bringing someone down, or elevating them to the highest heights! All in all, and in all honesty I am thankful for both because I know who to continue to take with me on my journey and who to let go.

In addition to my own research endeavors, I was super excited to mentor and advise several of my Capstone students as they presented at the 2023 VCU Undergraduate Research Symposium!! I was thoroughly impressed with their research projects and super proud to see them share it with the VCU community!!

AFAM Capstone Students presenting at the 2023 VCU Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity

2022-2023 as noted in the title has definitely been one for the books! I had three chapters come out in edited collections, a solo article on the role of Black girl storytelling in comic books, served as a keynote for VCU Dentistry school and Culpeper, VA’s first “CulpeperCon”, and to culminate everything I received my universities inaugural “Faculty Champion Award”.

In addition, to witnessing the success of my VCU students and my own, I also got a chance to celebrate one of my mentees and BFF intern Jaya Robinson as she graduated from high school and is headed to Spelman College (AUC Love!!)!

I will say this at the end of every semester and school year, I am always hyped and re-energized. Whatever feelings I had, depending on the type, were further magnified or lessened to make room for the good. So as I prepare for another productive summer, I can’t help but reflect on the highs, stress, joys, and wins!

Till the next season…

~Dr. G

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On the Desk..., On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Check out this week’s new set of trailers!! Getting you ready for the Spring and Summer !!

Polite Society (In theaters April 28th)

Queen Cleopatra (Streaming on Netflix May 10th)

Class of ’09 (Streaming on FX May 10th)

High Desert (Streaming on Apple TV+ May 17th)

Muted (Streaming on Netflix May 19th)

Fast X (In theaters May 19th)

Talk To Me (In theaters July 28th)

Posted in Celebration

I Love My DST!! 20 Years of Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Service!!

April 17th, 2003… 20 Years Ago today I became a member of the #1 Sorority in the land…Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

I remember the day like it was yesterday on the campus of Clark Atlanta University!! It was a sea of red marching through the promenade! And I saw the light…and it was Crimson and Cream!!

And on that day not only did I become a Soror of DST, but also a part of the 24 Vibrant Visionaries of Virtue. As part of the 24 VVV, I was the #20 (S/O to the back of the line) and known by many names… “Love Jones,” “Malcolmina X,” “Harlemshake,” “Digable Planets,” and “Bob Marley”!

Check out some of the many memories below:

Through the years SO MUCH has happened, but I will say this we have definitely embodied our name Vibrant, Visionaries of Virtue!! To this day we are doctors, lawyers, business owners, counselors/therapists, educators, nurses, researchers, STEM leaders, entrepreneurs, accountants, bankers, executive directors, court administrators, and just awesome, amazing women!! We About That Business!!

And OHHHHH the stories we could tell!! Never a dull moment with the #24VVV!!

All in all, I would not have it any other way than to cross the burning sands and come into Delta Land with these ladies!

Cheers to 20 More Years!! OO-OOP

Posted in Feature Spotlight

Dr. G Featured at CulpeperCon 2023!!

This past weekend I had the great opportunity of serving as the inaugural keynote speaker for the first Culpeper Con (Culpeper, VA)!! I had such a blast presenting my work “Telling Black Girl Stories in Comics and Graphic Novels!”

Huge Shout Out to Andrew DeNicola and the Culpeper County Library!!

Check out some of the pics and the presentation below:

In addition to serving as the keynote, one of the local papers the Star Exponent would do a feature interview, see here!

Posted in Dr. G's Weekly Hot Topics, On The Radar

Dr. G’s Weekly Hot Topics!!

New Month and a New Set of Hot Topics!! Check them out below :

Living HistoryMedal of Honor awarded to one of the first Black U.S. Special Forces officers…Nearly 60 years overdue, on March 3rd President Biden awarded retired Army Colonel Paris Davis the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s most prestigious decoration, for Davis’ acts of valor as a commander during the Vietnam War. Now 83 years old, retired Army Colonel Davis was one of the first Black officers to lead a U.S. Special Forces team in combat. 

———

Course correcting the history of gynecology…In partnership with the “Under-Told Stories” project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Alabama artist Michelle Browder is looking to change the historical narrative around the history of gynecology.

———

For all my Skateboarders!!… This month the U.S. Postal Service is set to launch its latest collection of artistic stamps celebrating the “Art of the Skateboard.” The image below features the work of four skaters-turned-artists on photographs of skateboards, curated by art director Antonio Alcalá. Crystal Worl (Alaska)-Tlingit/Athabascan heritage with a blue-indigo salmon graphic; William James Taylor Junior (Virginia) concocted a red-and-orange abstract design; Di’Orr Greenwood (Arizona) celebrated her Navajo roots with a bright palette depicting eagle feathers, as well as the sun’s rising and setting tones; and lastly, Federico “MasPaz” Frum (Columbia-born/Washington, D.C.) created a stylistic jaguar. The collection will be available for purchase beginning March 24, 2023.

———

Keeping with the theme of Women’s History Month, Marvel just dropped a surprise new TV series on Disney+ MPower about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s roster of female heroes. The four-part docuseries is now streaming in its entirety on the service. Executive produced by ZoĂ« Saldaña, “the show blends footage from MCU movies and shows with new animation and interviews with Marvel stars to explore some of the franchise’s top stars and their long and complex history.”

The four episodes of MPower are “The Women of Black Panther” (which focuses on Danai Gurira’s Okoye, Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Florence Kasumba’s Ayo, and Letitia Wright’s Shuri), “Captain Marvel” (which also features Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau from the upcoming The Marvels movie), “Scarlet Witch” (which also includes Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha Harkness and even Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis) and “Gamora” of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise (whose story also obviously dovetails with her sister, Nebula, played by Karen Gillan). See the trailer below:

All four episodes of MPower are streaming now on Disney+.

———

Painter Spotlight!! Providing a voice for Black maternal mortality and morbidity through art…Chicago-based artist/painter Ashley January shows her vision and past experiences of the above in her solo exhibit, “Human I Mother I Black”! See some of her work below:

(Photo credit Ashley January, left-COVID Shelter in Place With Baby, 2020; top right-Quinn and Ashley Study #2, 2020; top bottom-Crystal and Dylan Study, 2020)

You can also follow her artistic journey here!

Posted in Celebration, On The Radar, Resources

Happy International Women’s Day!! #EmbraceEquity

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year’s 2023 theme is about how we can #EmbraceEquity!!

How will you forge women’s equality and #EmbraceEquity? Check out some available resources and things you can do to celebrate!!