Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd, 2021)
Eternals (In theaters November 5th, 2021)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (In theaters December 17th, 2021)
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (In theaters March 25th, 2022)
Thor: Love and Thunder (In theaters May 6th, 2022)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (In theaters July 8th, 2022)
The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (In theaters November 11th, 2022)
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (In theaters February 17th, 2023)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (In theaters May 5th, 2023)
Looks like there is going to be a lot of interweaving of the MCU films and television shows, which should make things very interesting!! Definitely no shortage of engaging content for the next couple of years!!
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ~Toni Morrison
Today marks the 156th year since the message of freedom was delivered to those enslaved in Texas, also known as Juneteenth (portmanteau of June and nineteenth)!! A celebration of emancipation, liberation, and Black Joy!!
And what is Juneteenth? Juneteenth refers to June 19th, 1865 the day when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to inform the 250,000 enslaved Black people that they were free. Keep in mind the Emancipation Proclamation (which ended slavery) had went into effect January 1st, 1863 (also the start of watch night services), so Texas would not get this memo for almost two and half years later. And people wonder why Black people cannot wait for change! Why we are persistent about consistent upward and forward movement! Why are Black people not quick to trust, because of past failures and screw ups like what happened in Galveston, TX. Nevertheless, the chains are breaking and the truth is being revealed.
In a way there has been this sudden awakening regarding the Juneteenth holiday. Much like how the message of freedom was delayed in its delivery to those enslaved in Texas, one could say there is a delayed recognition (on a larger scale) of the Juneteenth holiday. With all of the the national protests, police violence, and continuous murder of Black and Brown bodies of last year the U.S. would be reminded of past moments of resistance and endurance. This acknowledgement rebirth is what I like to think of as a memory survival. As Isabel Wilkerson writes in her amazing book, The Warmth of Other Suns:The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, “The people from Texas took Juneteenth Day to Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and other places they went.” And thank goodness the memory of Juneteenth will always be present, because we cannot afford to have any more delays, these are moments that we need right now and always!
So when did I learn about Juneteenth, I remember it being brought up during one of my summer classes as an Upward Bound student, and in passing from one of my aunts who lives in Texas. But I would really learn about Juneteenth while attending Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA) and while out grocery shopping and a young man handed me a flyer for a Juneteenth celebration that was set to take place. Outside of the above-mentioned instances, I did not have any previous knowledge. Now I am not surprised by this, nor am I surprised that many other Black folks are only just now aware of what Juneteenth is and its significance. Even though I may not be from Texas, I take Juneteenth as my Independence Day/Emancipation Day, because clearly July 4th is not!!
Juneteenth is not only a day to celebrate, but also another day to inform the masses, continue speaking out on injustices, and always a day to remember! It’s also another excuse for me to celebrate my Blackness and create more ways to express Black joy and agency. This holiday is also an opportunity to instill values of self-improvement, racial uplift, and reclamation of the family unit. These values were personified through religious sermons and the singing of negro spirituals, reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, rodeos, and the preservation of slave food traditions and delicacies (ex. BBQ and soul food). Juneteenth is another holiday that allows Black folks to commune and fellowship and just be free with ourselves!! This freedom has been further expressed with the creation of various websites and the Juneteenth flag:
Created in 1997 by activist and founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF) Ben Haith, the flag consists of a star, burst, arc, and the colors red, white, and blue. According to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)the star is a nod to the Lone Star State (where Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1865), but also stands for the freedom of every Black American in all 50 states, the burst represents an outline surrounding the star meant to reflect a nova— or new star—this represents a new beginning for all, and the arc represents a new horizon, fresh opportunities and promising futures for Black Americans. The colors are also reminiscent of the United States flag, this was intentional to show that the enslaved African Americans and their descendants are also free Americans. Even in our symbols there is always a deep, layered meaning attached.
In 2021, Juneteenth has become more than just a holiday, but in many ways a movement!! Not only are school curriculums slowly changing, but we are also becoming more informed about the holiday through popular media. A few examples include:
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America [Netflix]: Episode 4, ‘Freedom’
Atlanta (FX Network): Season 1, Episode 9, ‘Juneteenth’ [Television]
Black-ish (ABC): Season 4, Episode 1, ‘Juneteenth’ [Television]
And as of 2020, according to the Congressional Research Service all states, except Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota, recognize/celebrate Juneteenth in some sort of fashion. This personally became significant for me because upon moving to Virginia on last year Juneteenth became a permanent statewide holiday (following in the footsteps of Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania). The fact that Virginia made this a statewide holiday is truly significant considering the states past history and the fact that the state is known as being the capital of the Confederacy…Interesting how tides are beginning to change!!
In the end when I think about Juneteenth I am optimistic…I am hopeful…I am excited. Optimistic that one day it will become a national holiday, and that it will truly get the recognition that it deserves. Juneteenth is a holiday even worthy of being acknowledged internationally. Hopeful that the celebration of this holiday is not just for a moment or season, but for an infinity of lifetimes. Excited because with each passing day more and more people are learning about the importance and significance of Juneteenth!! Even if this is your first year, make sure it is not your last!!
And just in case you need a few references for later reading and viewing check out the following link!!
“The only way you really see change is by helping create it.” ~Lena Waithe
Today’s post is all about creating that change through featuring up and coming talent, especially young Black talent! Just in the same way that many of my teachers and mentors guided and assisted in my journey, it is my duty to do the same. If it was not for my community, I would not be the person I am today. I remember back in high school I use to tell myself, whenever I got the opportunity to reach back and guide the next future leaders I would jump at the opportunity. Thus, it is very important to guide and recognize, but also create a space and a platform to feature these talents.
So it is with great excitement that I am able to share with you the newest member to the Black Future Feminist team, Jaya Robinson! Jaya is a sophomore in high school, a published author, and a budding pop culture commentator!! Plus, like me she is also a fan of comic books and film!!
And on a monthly basis, Black Future Feminist followers will get to check out featured pop culture commentary on a variety of Blockbuster films, new television series, comic books, manga, and so much more. Today’s featured content, takes a look at the 2008 Marvel Comics action film, Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. and its overall impact on pop culture.
“Iron Man and Its Impact on Pop Culture” ~Jaya Robinson
Like many people, 2008’s Iron Man was my first introduction to big popular comic book movies. Before that time, there were superhero movies such as the Warner Bros. Batman film franchise, (Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney), and even before that the Superman movie franchise, however no movie franchise was what Marvel was bound to become. Prior to Iron Man, only a selected few (mainly comic book fans/readers) knew about the “Iron Man” character. Even those who were familiar with from the comics, they did not necessarily relate to the character. However, this movie created a lane that made it possible to relate to Tony Stark. It made an otherwise un-relatable billionaire, playboy philanthropist…human. Iron Man, as a film, not only launched Marvel Comics into mainstream media and pop culture, but it also changed how superheroes were approached in blockbuster movies. Additionally, Iron Man played a fundamental role in the launching other comic book movies and future blockbusters. Without Iron Man, current comic book based movies would not be the same. Iron Man humanized the characters it brought from the page and showed them in a way audiences had never seen before. It is important to note, that superheroes have always been an important part of pop culture. Before there were superhero TV shows, we had comic books. As an added bonus, what made this movie so special was that they were able to take inspiration directly from the pages of the comic book that people grew up with and transform it to the big screen.
Now what made this movie so different from other comic book movies of the time was its realness and grit. This movie did not shy away from Tony Stark’s flaws (such as his struggle with alcohol addiction), but embraced them and showed them in a new light. Iron Man not only reached people who enjoyed comic books, but also people who just enjoyed movies.
Iron Man bridged the gap between the comic book genre and the regular film genre. It is one of the reasons why Iron Man was so good for the time. The cinematography as well as the plot and storyline proved to be good enough to break the label of being a stereotypical “comic book” movie. In some cases, comic book movies focused on the superhero and not the character itself. Iron Man moved away from that formula and essentially laid the groundwork for future comic book movies. It essentially became the blueprint. This movie sparked the start of not only the Marvel franchise, but other comic book movies outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man, as a film, also played a role in signaling other comic books to move into the mainstream media. One might also argue that it sparked an added interest in comic books, in general. Because of its commercial success, people began to take an active interest in Tony Stark’s complete background and origin.
All in all, Marvel would set its wheels in motion with the Iron Man film while making a further mark in the comic book medium and securing a place within pop culture. In the end, Iron Man proved skeptics wrong, and showed how superhero movies did not always have to be a superhero vs. alien threat, but could also be superhero vs. self. Iron Man showed that superhero movies can incorporate an intimate and relatable narrative, because at the end of the day Iron Man is still a man behind all of the armor.
Over the past few months, we have been struggling through a global pandemic—one that has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities—while also trying to find some sense of comfort and happiness. However, we as country and even the world have recently witnessed a national outpouring of anger, frustration, passion, and protests in response to the ongoing pain of racial injustice and police brutality. With the recent national attention regarding the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, it is essential to create dialogues about these events and how we make meaning of them to invest in a better society.
As stated by Black feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” Thus, as we continue to have discussion in our schools, churches, community events, and our homes it is important that we engage in these differences, while simultaneously equipping ourselves and others. Having the knowledge can lead to fruitful conversation and some sort of change.
This knowledge can be found in a variety of resources, tools, books, films/documentaries, and community efforts.
Below you will see a guide that seeks to equip us with the knowledge in hopes to bring about change:
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture online portal- “Talking About Race”
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice (2018) ~Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins,and Ann Hazzard
Saturday (2019) ~Oge Mara
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist (2017) ~Cynthia Levinson
Each Kindness (2012) ~Jacqueline Woodson
“Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice” (2018) ~Veronica Chambers
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (2020) ~Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (2020) ~Damian Duffy & John Jennings
March [Trilogy] (2016) ~John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
The Hate U Give (2017) ~Angie Thomas
‘Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans’ ~Roland Laird w/Taneshia Nash
Skin Like Mine (2016) ~LaTashia M. Perry
I Am Enough (2018) ~Grace Byers
Hair Love (2019) ~Matthew Cherry
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (2017) & Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History (2019) ~Vashti Harrison
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Fruitvale Station (2013)
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
The Hate You Give (2018)
Get Out (2017)
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (2018)
Dear White People [Film (2014) & Netflix series (2017-2021)]
13th (2016) [Netflix]
When They See Us (2019) [Netflix]
Seven Seconds (2018) [Netflix]
Time: The Kalief Browder Story [Netflix]
See You Yesterday (2019) [Netflix]
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (2016) ~Carol Anderson
How to Be An Antiracist (2019) ~Ibram X. Kendi
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (2018) ~Monique Morris
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (2016) ~Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Between the World and Me (2015) ~Ta-Nehisi Coates
So you want talk about race (2019) ~Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism (2018) ~Robin Diangelo
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race (2017) ~Beverly D. Tatum
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of Colorblindness (2020) ~Michelle Alexander
Parable of the Sower (1993) ~Octavia E. Butler
‘Choke Hold’: Policing Black Men (2018) ~Paul Butler
Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) ~Claudia Rankine
Bad Feminist (2014 ) ~Roxane Gay
Heavy: An American Memoir (2019) ~Kiese Laymon
Racism Without Racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of Racial Inequality in America (2017) ~Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (2018) ~Richard Rothstein
No Ashes in the Fire (2019) ~Darnell L. Moore
‘When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir’ (2020) ~Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
‘Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower’ (2019) ~Brittney Cooper
‘Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism’ (2018) ~Safiya Umoja Noble
This is not an end all, be all list, but meant to ignite and continue dialogues that can be difficult, but are very necessary. Hopefully, this list will also lead to the creation of building other resource guides that can be used in the fight against anti-Blackness and anti-racism.
“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” ~Ella Baker