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
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.**
Almost let this one slip pass me, but wanted to make sure I shared this exciting event happening this week!! The 10th Annual Black Comic Book Festival starts on this Thursday January 13th and its VIRTUAL!!
The2022 Black Comic Book Festival marks a decade of bringing together animators, Blerds, bloggers, cosplay lovers, fans, families, illustrators, independent publishers, and writers to celebrate Black comic books and graphic novels and provides a platform to get the works directly to readers. This annual event features panel discussions, workshops, cosplay showcases, and highlights the work of creators from across the country.
And guess what all the events are Free.99!! Gotta love that!!
Check out the schedule of events here:
Thursday, January 13
Lifting as We Climb: A Black Comic Book Festival Story | 12 PM: Black Comic Book Festival cofounders: John Jennings, Jonathan Gayles, Deirdre Hollman. Moderated by Kadiatou Tubman (Schomburg Education).
Graphic History: Telling Our Histories through Comics and the Archives | 2 PM: Guests: Dr. Rebecca Hall (Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts; Scholars-in-Residence program) and David Walker (The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History). Moderated by Bridgett Pride, Reference Librarian, Schomburg Center.
S.T.E.M in Comics – Bridging the Gap of Current and Future Technologies in Art and Comics | 4 PM: Guests: Newton Lilavois (Motor City Comic Con), Naseed Gifted (PBS Media, LLC), Dedren Snead (SUBSUME), Ryan Benjamin (DC Comics/Sony), and Emeka Chiedu. Moderated by TJ Sterling (Rae Comics).
Friday, January 14
Afrofuturism: The Past, Present, and Beyond | 12 PM: Guests: John Jennings (Black Comic Book Festival cofounder), Tim Fielder (Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale, DieselFunk Studios), Ytasha Womack (Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture), Reynaldo Anderson (Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness). Moderated by Julian Chambliss (Cofounder of Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research).
Black in Anime: Creators Coloring Outside the Lines | 2 PM: Guests: Arthell Isom (dartshtajio anime studio), Johnny O’Bryant (Noir Caesar), Shanice Penn (Freelance anime illustrator), Sozo Maika (Digital illustrator). Moderated by TJ Sterling (Rae Comics).
The Future of Black Comics Inside and Outside of the Academy | 4PM: Guests: Qiana Whitted, Rebecca Wanzo, and JoAnna Davis-McElligatt. Moderated by Dr. Jonathan Gray.
Saturday, January 15
How to Draw Black Superheroes & Comics | 11 AM: Guest: Tim Fielder (Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale, DieselFunk Studios)
Creating Powerful Women in Comics | 1 PM: Guests: Robyn Smith, Jamila Rowser, Shawnelle Gibbs, Shawnee Gibbs
The Comic Book Spectrum: Curating Safe and Brave Spaces | 3 PM: Guests: Cindy Cortez (Sonic Boombox), Robyn Warren (Geek Girl Strong), Clairesa Clay (Blerd City Comic Con), and Chauna C. Lawson (HBCU Con). Moderated by Regine Sawyer (Lockett Down Productions).
Comic Books & Big Screens: How Comic Creators Are Making Their Way Through Film and TV | 5 PM: Guests: Prentice Penny (Insecure), David Crownson (Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer), Sebastian Jones (Stranger Comics), and URAEUS (Museum of UnCut Funk). Moderated by TJ Sterling (Rae Comics).
For more information regarding registrations, the panels, workshops, and cosplay show click here!!
Also for those that are in the Harlem, NY area you may want to also check out the new exhibition, Boundless: 10 Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures, which will be on display at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture beginning January 14th!!
Boundless: 10 Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures, will document the festival’s evolution through photographs, memorabilia, creator highlights, comic book reading stations, and clips from past festival programs. The Schomburg Center’s collection of comic books and graphic novels dating back to the golden age of comic books will be deployed to illuminate the long history of Black comics and sequential art creators, and the ongoing motivations to render humor, struggle, irony, and futurism steeped in a Black aesthetic.
2021 is just about over, but not before I share a few of my pop culture faves!! I wanted to compile a list of few of favorite shows, movies, comic books, documentaries, short films, podcasts, and soundtracks that made an impact on me in a major way this year!!
These are a few of my favorite things from 2021…Check them out below*:
Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Eve (Victor LaValle, Boom! Studios)
Far Sector (N.K. Jemisin/Jamal Campbell, DC Comics)
Nubia and the Amazons (Stephanie Williams/Ayala Vita, DC Comics)
Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts (Rebecca Hall/Penguin Books)
Run: Book One (John Lewis/Andrew Aydin/Nate Powell/L. Fury, Abrams Books)
Ahhhhh it’s that time of the year again! It’s a Saturday morning 8:30 am in Richmond, VA on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. The fall/winter season of graduation is upon us!! One thing I do like about VCU is that we have graduation twice a year, for those who finish in May and those that finish in December. December graduation this year was my first time participating in the entire school celebration at the Siegel Center here on the VCU campus. And this year was extra special as I had the awesome opportunity of hooding my former student and sister friend Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan!! Participating in this joyous moment is one that I will treasure for a lifetime. I remember when she asked me to take part in this incredible moment I had to make sure I was not dreaming, causing this is a serious thing. And what really got me was that morning as all the graduates are preparing for the big moment, Lisa walks in and sees me and she immediately begins to tear up and I had to fight back tears. That was the beginning of what would be one of the most rewarding days in my professorial career.
Graduation is ALWAYS one of my favorite times of the year here at VCU and I get to celebrate it twice once in the spring and also in the fall. This momentous occasion is one that with each year will become more and more special. This is what happens when you become invested in your craft and the students who play a role in its shaping.
This semester has been about self-determination and perseverance for not just myself, but especially for my students. Each one of them in their own unique way has charted a path to success on their own terms. I say this every semester, but it warrants being mentioned being a professor/teacher is way more than providing weekly/daily lessons and educating the future…it’s about being a listening ear, parting growing wisdom/advice, showing support in-person and via Zoom, creating platforms for stories to be told, and as my Soror and the first president of National Association of Colored Women (NACW) Mary Church Terrell once said “lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go.” Graduation is the culmination of all the hard work that students take part in during their academic matriculation, and we as professors get to see the fruits of their labor flourish. I am always grateful that I get to change lives regardless of how big or small.
This change was specifically seen in my Capstone Senior Seminar course! I had the opportunity to mentor 7 AFAM seniors as they completed their senior thesis research projects. The topics ranged from the importance of Black motorcycle clubs in the Hampton Roads, to the issue of colorism for Black men, to the need for academic safe spaces, to better representation in comic books, to healing and processing Black mental health in Black matriarchal figures. And if their oral presentations were just an appetizer to their research papers….I cannot wait till the main course!! I am so proud of each of them and the work that they have done. Overcoming fears, sharing their personal stories, being vulnerable, and taking risks that will make them better scholars and people!!
Look out world, there’s a new set scholars entering and they have something to say!!