Posted in Feature Spotlight, On the Desk...

It’s Official…A New Justice is in Town!!

Black Women are Supreme…As in today June 30, 2022, Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in as our first Black woman on the Supreme Court!!

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., administers the Constitutional Oath to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the West Conference Room, Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., on June 30, 2022. Dr. Patrick Jackson holds the Bible.
Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Cheers to Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson!! Now that has a nice sound to it!!

Official photograph of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson taken by Supreme Court Photographer Fred Schilling, 2022.

As noted in her own words, “I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free!”

Posted in Monthly Book Recommendations, On the Desk..., On The Radar

Dr. G’s Monthly Book Recommendations-June 2022

Happy Summer!! As we prepare to enter into sweltering heats, take vacations on the beach, spend time with loved ones and friends, let me make sure I get you ready for some summer reading! Summer is always an exciting time for me, and a time to take advantage of some leisure reading!

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

This month, just like every month before….I GOT YOU!! Nice mix of stories from all different directions and perspectives!!

  • If They Come For Us ~Fatimah Asghar
  • My Monticello ~Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
  • Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic ~Kenya Hunt
  • The After Party ~A.C. Arthur
  • All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom ~Angela Johnson
  • A First Time of Everything: A Story of a Black Woman Public Servant ~Sallie Peake
  • Watermelon & Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations ~Nicole A. Taylor
  • We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy ~Natalie Baszile

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!!

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” ~Michelle Obama

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

Check out Dr. G talking about Black Gamers!!

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).

Dr. Gipson presenting at the Present Encounters: Digital Humanities Meet Afrofuturism (Temple University)

You can check me out on Part 6, see here.

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
  • Part 5: Symposium Discussion, See here
  • Part 7: Closing Remarks with Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, professor and chair of Africology and African American studies, See here

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., On the Desk...

Thank You Note to My Students!!

It’s that time of year where I always like to reflect on another academic year in the books! This time around I wanted to share my gratitude and appreciation in the form of a letter to my students.

Dear Scholars,

You have done it again. You have figured out a way to pull at my heartstrings and fill me with emotion. Let me first start out by saying I am so proud of the work that you have done and will continue to do. Many of you started out with me when I arrived to VCU in the Summer of 2020, several of you became repeat student in my classes, and to see you walk across the stage with the biggest smiles is truly a proud moment.

Spring 2022 VCU AFAM Graduates
(Pictured with Top l-r Kristina Barnes and Akira Goden; Bottom l-r Safia Abdulahi and Sergine Mombrun)

This semester much like the previous ones was definitely a roller coaster ride, it just has a new name! I enjoyed coming to both classes with a new mindset and leaving with new energy. For Spring 2022, I got the opportunity to teach a special topics course, AFAM 491: Say Her Name-Humanizing the Black Female Voice in Television. From the onset, I was excited about teaching this course because we would be discussing three televisions shows that were changing the game (HBO Max’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, I May Destroy You, and STARZ’s P-Valley). The format of the course would be different and outside of my normal lecture-discussion style. For this class we would be doing regular deep dives (almost each class period). The excitement that each of you brought was mind-blowing, considering many had never watched the shows or even heard of them. And like most new classes you are never sure how it will play out, but this was definitely a win. The diverse perspectives that each of you brought to the discussions, along with implementing your critical thinking skills really made me wish we could add more time to each class. There was never a day when we did not run over, and in this case that was not a bad thing. Who knew that critical television analysis could be so fun and engaging?!! And then when we had the surprise guest (Cherokee Hall-‘Extra Extra’) from P-Valley come and talk with us you all really lit up! Thank you for doing the work and making it easy for me to come to campus and show-up 110%!!

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

I also got to teach one of my tried and true favorite courses, AFAM 111: Introduction to Africana Studies. Now this class had a different format as well, it was a one-day a week meeting for 2 hours and 40 mins. And let me tell you, I had no idea where I would even begin with this teaching in this format, but we made it work. Lecture for the first part and a film screening in the latter half. While this posed a challenge, your feedback about the class set-up was much appreciated and well received. Change can be difficult, with solid teamwork the possibilities were endless. With many of the students in this class were freshman and sophomores, my hope is that you got at least a little something that might add, change, reframe, and/or expand your thinking and engagement with the world going forward. Thank you for helping me to be more inclusive, push my creative lens, and nurture my heart, mind and soul.

Now for some of you the next step is graduate school in either a new city or even state. Take all the skills you have gained and build from them, create new memories, show the world whose next up! And others are going straight into the job market, putting that talent into action immediately. As the historian Keisha Blain said, in reference to the Black Nationalist Women fighting for global freedom, “set the world on fire.” “Set the world on fire” with innovative methods of change, “Set the world on fire” with your leadership, “Set the world on fire” with your unapologetic attitude, and “Set the world on fire” with your joy and determination. You got this!!

When people tell me, “I can see the passion that you have and the deep care for your students,” I get all emotional again because that statement is soooo true! I love what I do and would not change it for the world!

While I may not be your professor anymore, just know that I am always here to support in any way that I can. I’m just an email or call away!

Another semester in the books…Another set of grades submitted…Let the summer begin!!

Till we meet again scholars!!

Warmest Regards,

Dr. G

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On the Desk...

Just in Case You Missed It!!

As always, you know I got you covered if you missed last week’s Conversations with Beloved & Kindred episode!!

Dr. Robinson and I had a pretty intense discussion on Eve’s Bayou, and just in case you didn’t know I will say it again….this is an excellent movie!!

Don’t believe me, check out our commentary and see for yourself! It’s definitely a game-changer!!

Check out the episode below:

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On the Desk..., On The Radar

Conversations with Beloved & Kindred-Eve’s Bayou

Tune in on this Thursday May 12th at 3 pm/ET as Dr. Robinson and I continue our discussion n Blackness and horror with a discussion on the 1997 film, Eve’s Bayou!!

Check it out on Auburn Avenue Research Library Facebook Live and YouTube!!

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:

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Feature Spotlight, On the Desk...

Check out Dr. G!!

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

Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

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.

Marco della Cava & Maria Puente USA TODAY

To read the full articles, check out the following links: VCU News and USA Today !!

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Conversations with Beloved & Kindred

Special Episode of “Conversations with Beloved & Kindred”

To close out Women’s History Month, Dr. Robinson and I sat down to chat about the latest horror film on Prime Video, “Master” starring Regina Hall (directed by Mariama Diallo). This film hits very close to home for both of as we can identify with both main protagonists!! To see what we have to say (cause trust me, we got ALOT) check out our latest episode on this Thursday March 31st at 3 pm/ET on Auburn Avenue Research Library Facebook Live and YouTube!!

See the trailer below, and then check it out!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Got another list of goodies waiting for you to push play!! A good mix of film and television to make you laugh, have you on the edge of your seat, and even make you go hmmmm. And as an extra bonus I dropped a few potential summer hits for you too!! Check them out below:

Season 3-A Black Lady Sketch Show (Streaming on HBO Max April 8th)

Roar (Streaming on Apple TV+ April 15th)

Limited Series-The Offer (Streaming on Paramount + April 28th)

The Takedown (Streaming on Netflix May 6th)

Candy (Streaming on Hulu May 9th)

The Terminal List (Streaming on Prime Video July 1st)

Bullet Train (In theaters July 15th)