Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM, On The Radar

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute (PCM)- “A Year in Review”

Not only do you get Dr. G’s 2021 Faves, but I had to make sure I gave you a bonus list! Check out Black Future Feminist Intern Jaya as she offers her two cents for 2021!!

Here is a list of my favorite things that came out and/or discovered for the first time this year. These are things that I discovered that really stuck with me through this crazy year. So for my final post of 2021 here are a few things that got me through this year and here’s to a new year!

My Favorite Albums:

  • Paul’s Boutique ~Beastie Boys
  • Midnight Marauders ~A Tribe Called Quest
  • Call Me If You Get Lost ~Tyler the Creator
  • Vs. ~Pearl Jam
  • There is Nothing Left To Lose ~Foo Fighters
  • Divine Feminine ~Mac Miller
  • Planet Her ~Doja Cat
  • Lately I Feel Everything ~Willow Smith
Photo by Jessica Lynn Lewis on Pexels.com

My Favorite Books:

  • Hamlet ~William Shakespeare
  • Flowers for Algernon ~Daniel Keyes
  • The Handmaid’s Tale ~Margaret Atwood
  • A Game of Thrones ~George R.R. Martin
  • The Song of Achilles ~Madeline Miller
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

My Favorite Movies:

  • Eternals (2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)
  • Sound of Metal (2019)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  • The Truman Show (1998)
  • Fargo (1996)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

My Favorite TV Shows:

  • Invincible (Prime Video)
  • Squid Game (Netflix)
  • Arrested Development (Netflix)
  • Clickbait (Netflix)
  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Disney+)
  • Hawkeye (Disney+)
  • Downton Abbey (Peacock)
  • Gotham (Netflix)
  • Cowboy Bebop [Anime] (Funimation)
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Cheers to what is to come in 2022!!

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., On The Radar

Dr. G’s Pop Culture Faves-A Year in Review

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)
  • Bitter Root (David Walker/Chuck Brown/Image Comics)
  • Podcasts: True-crime reigned supreme in this category!! Gotta love a good mystery.
  • Jemele Hill is Unbothered
  • Suspect
  • Over My Dead Body
  • Dr. Death
  • Movies
  • The Harder They Fall (Netflix): An ode to Westerns done in style!!
  • No Time To Die: Ahhh where will the Bond legacy go next
  • Candyman: Thank you Nia Dacosta for this beautiful piece of horror!!
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings: 10/10
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Zola: A movie that offers A LOT of different perspectives regarding one weekend!
  • The Unforgivable (Netflix)
  • Army of the Dead/Army of Thieves (Netflix)
  • Gunpowder Milkshake (Netflix): More action films with women leads especially those of color is definitely needed!!
  • Raya and the Last Dragon
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • King Richard
  • Concrete Cowboy (Netflix): I’m a sucker for a good western and some Black history!
  • Cruella: Who says you can’t like villains!
  • Dune
  • The Tomorrow War (Prime Video)
  • Red Notice (Netflix): Ryan Reynolds…That’s all I gotta say!
  • Outside the Wire (Netflix)
  • Short Films
  • Us Again (Disney+)
  • Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma
  • Twenty Something (Disney+)
  • Bao (Disney+)
  • For the Birds (Disney+)
  • Loop (Disney+)
  • How to Raise a Black Boy
  • Documentary
  • My Name is Pauli Murray
  • Summer of Soul (Hulu)
  • Pride (Hulu)
  • This is Pop (Netflix)
  • Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali (Netflix)
  • Mary J. Blige’s My Life (Prime Video)
  • Television Shows
  • Insecure (HBO Max): That last episode… (chef’s kiss)….The end of an era…Sunday nights will never be the same… (le sigh) #DayOne
  • The Wonder Years (ABC): Nostalgia, Comedy and the Black Experience
  • The Underground (Prime Video): Powerful, Visual American History Lesson
  • Invincible (Prime Video)
  • Wheel of Time (Prime Video): Definitely up there with Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings
  • The White Lotus (HBO Max): I have never been so drawn into a show that made me laugh, cringe, drop my jaw, and so much more…Everything is not always what it seems…
  • Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu): I do believe what happened actually took place in real life, which is pretty scary if it did…
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
  • Love Life (Season 2) (HBO Max): I LOVE #BLACKLOVE and ALL its many layers!
  • Queen Sugar (OWN Network): Another show that when it comes to a close, I will truly miss this show!! #DayOne
  • Arcane (Netflix): Definitely looking forward to the next season! Fun to watch!
  • The Falcon and Winter Soldier (Disney+): My fave of the Marvel series on Disney+ so far…They pulled out all kinds of surprises!!
  • What If…? (Disney+): Still missing Chadwick Boseman
  • Run the World (Starz): Love seeing Black female friendships and when cities become actors (I see you Harlem!)
  • Succession (HBO Max): All I can say is just watch it!!
  • Reservation Dogs (Hulu): Please more of this!!
  • Evil (Paramount+): Catholicism is a whole different beast (pun intended)
  • Blood and Water (Netflix): Had to represent SA!!
  • Cruel Summer (Hulu): Shout out to my sista-friend Lesley Bonner for this one!! Talk about being drawn in!! It’s all about the little details!
  • Soundtracks (Television and Film) (I did this instead to avoid having to narrow it down to one artist/group or album)
  • The Harder They Fall
  • Insecure (I owe a great deal to this soundtrack, I became aware and a fan of so many new artists because of each seasons soundtrack!!)
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Coming 2 America
  • Cruella
  • BMF
  • Queen Sugar
  • Tom & Jerry (Now this one surprised me!! But trust me on this one!)
  • True Story (A Whole lot of Philly Soul)

*The listings are in no particular order.

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Feature Spotlight, On The Radar

Inside Shang-Chi’s evolution from forgotten comic book character to big-screen superhero*

~Scottie Andrew, CNN Entertainment

Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings First Reactions

So a couple a weeks ago I had the opportunity to offer a few of my thoughts about Asian representation in comic books and its relationship with the latest Marvel film, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings for CNN Entertainment!! To view the complete article see here.

Check out some of the snippets below:

Shang-Chi’s early issues relied on some problematic stereotypes

Every iteration of Shang-Chi has a similar throughline: He’s always a spectacular martial artist, always playing tug-of-war with his former life as a fighter and always, always tormented by daddy issues. That blueprint was created by Englehart and Jim Starlin, the two-man team who brought the character to life (Englehart, perhaps best known for his dark, noir take on Batman, has also created characters like Star-Lord of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Starlin is responsible for MCU icons like its biggest villain, Thanos.)

In the early 1970s, Englehart and Starlin approached Detective Comics (DC) with an idea: a comic book take on the David Carradine series “Kung Fu.” (The series has been criticized for its use of “yellowface,” or casting White actors as Asian characters. Carradine is White but starred as a part-Chinese martial artist.)Starlin, an artist, loved the martial arts element of the story, while writer Englehart said he was interested in delving into Taoism and other philosophies to flesh out his protagonist. The two thought they’d found a match with “Kung Fu” — but DC thought the “kung fu craze was going to disappear,” Starlin said, and passed on the idea.

So the pair took it next to Marvel, whose executives agreed only after insisting that the pair inject some pre-existing intellectual property into their comic, both men told CNN.

In this case, the company had the rights to the character Fu Manchu, a racist caricature of a Chinese man created by British author Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century. The villain was then “grafted onto the series” as Shang-Chi’s father, Starlin told CNN in an August interview. (Racist depictions of Asian characters had appeared in comics before this, like the egg-shaped villain “Egg Fu” in a 1965 Wonder Woman issue and the 1940 character “Ebony White” in the early comic, “The Spirit,” said Grace Gipson, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies race and gender within comics.)

Gipson, a pop culture scholar who studies race and gender within comics, said hiring writers of color like Yang to helm series about characters of color is an improvement, but it “is really not a hard task.” She said while comics creators have made great strides in deconstructing norms of who a comic book reader is and what storylines they want to see, the hiring of creators of color needs to happen consistently.”It’s about making sure the voices of those being represented always have a seat at the table as well as a microphone to speak,” she told CNN.

Still, she said, as a fan of comics herself, she’s enjoyed seeing more representative stories being told in mainstream comics. 

*Repost from CNN

Posted in On the Desk..., On The Radar

Marvel Studios Television and Film Line-up 2021-203

Who is still on a high from that Loki season finale and the Black Widow movie?!! I know I am and definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next!!

Well I got a little info on what is coming up next out of Marvel Studios (film and television), check it out below:

TV Series

  • What If…? [Disney+] (August 11, 2021)
  • Hawkeye [Disney+] (Late 2021)
  • Ms. Marvel [Disney+] (Late 2021)
  • Moon Knight [Disney+] (2022)
  • She-Hulk [Disney+] (2022)
  • Secret Invasion [Disney+] (2022)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special [Disney+] (Holiday 2022)
  • I Am Groot [Disney+]
  • Ironheart [Disney+]
  • Armor Wars [Disney+]
  • Untitled Wakanda Series [Disney+]
  • Okoye Spinoff [Disney+]
  • Echo Spinoff [Disney+]

Movies

  • 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!!

Mark your calendars!!

Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute!- “Let’s Talk About The Marvel Fandom”

Closing out this month on Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute, BFF intern Jaya dives back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an analysis and some commentary on the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier!!

With the ending of Wandavision, Marvel was set to release its latest series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a show following two characters that when all is said and done we do not really know. But as the episodes started coming out there became a clear divide between the praise Bucky Barnes was sent and the lack of praise and comments for Sam Wilson. Essentially Sam Wilson is being treated as an accessory within his own show.

As the show ratings progressed, it became known that Sam Wilson was not the reason why the Marvel fandom liked the show. This is nothing new, Black superheroes are constantly pushed behind their white counterparts, and are treated less than by a majority of the marvel fandom, (mostly from dudebros and uneducated fans). What most of the fandom lacks in seeing is what they deem Sam Wilson is worth. Within a week of the first two episodes Sam Wilson was at the bottom of polls conducted by various fan run sites and pop culture news outlets. For example, one had Sam polling at 11% while Zemo was at 20% (according to Fandom Wikipedia). This is a noticeable difference. It was not until the fourth episode that Sam Wilson started to gain traction as a result of John Walker, the government appointed Captain America bludgeoning an innocent person to death (episode 3). It’s almost as if Sam had to prove his worth in the eyes of the Marvel fandom in order for him to gain credibility.

As a Bucky and Sam fan myself,  I noticed how Bucky polled very high early on in the show, while Sam stayed low. Interestingly enough, in the first few episodes Bucky had more lines than he did in the MCU movies, but this does not mean he was better in any way than Sam. Time and time again this pattern repeats itself, Black superheroes whether they have their own movie, or show, constantly have to prove their worth or earn their credibility in the eyes of a majority of the Marvel fandom. An early example of this is James Rhodes and Tony Stark. Through the Iron Man franchise Rhodey is treated as a sidekick or an accessory to the playboy philanthropist. We get very little backstory about Rhodey and he’s treated almost like a filler character. This continues even in the Avengers movies where Rhodey is seen as the sidekick. Even now, decades later after the last Iron Man movie, the Marvel fandom still treats him as a sidekick and not his own character due to Marvel’s lack of character development. 

After watching the finale it seems even more obvious that Sam had to prove himself as a character for people to like him more, whereas Bucky was already well liked. Additionally, the finale received the lowest ratings, which is interesting because this episode is the first time we see Sam really step into his role as Captain America. On Instagram only a DAY after Sam took up the mantle people were making their own edits of Sam in the suit, along with tweets of who should be the next Captain America after as if Sam did not just become Captain America. This further proves how much Sam Wilson is treated as a side character/ accessory in his own show. As stated earlier, the Marvel fandom has shown this pattern time and time again. This is an issue that Marvel writers must deal with moving forward. A step in the right direction would be to hire more diverse writers so we can stop this pattern, because as a Black Marvel fan this constant pattern is tiring and irritating.

Sebastian Stan as James ‘Bucky’ Barnes/the Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon