On Day 3 of Kwanzaa we celebrate Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)!! This means “to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.”
Today we recognize the fact that without collective work and struggle, progress is impossible and liberation is a far distant memory. This is when we must truly embody the idea of “it takes a village.”
On this day, I think about the impact of those that we lost this year who made such a great impact on our local, national, and global communities. Their commitments and efforts to the cause will never be forgotten. One can only hope that we continue to be inspired to follow in their footsteps and build on their legacies!
When thinking about how you can celebrate Ujima today, consider teaming up with members of your neighborhood to help renovate a community center, offering to shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk, or even just helping out around the house more often.
And as a way of sharing with my community, here is an event for all my native Richmond folks this coming Friday celebrating Kwanzaa!
Capital City Kwanzaa Festival
December 30th, 2022…. 5-10pm….Greater Richmond Convention Center
Celebrate the season with Elegba Folklore Societyand the creator of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, at one of the largest annual Kwanzaa events on the East Coast! Come to enjoy a cultural ceremony, performances, workshops, engagement for children, and an African market.
Anytime I can get a chance to give a talk in the community especially to the youth, I welcome the opportunity. This coming Saturday I have the great pleasure of serving as the “Kick off” speaker for the “Saturday Sojourners Program” put on by The Light Community Church (Richmond, VA).
The kick-off program will be a “Table Talk” discussion on “Behind the Veil: Who Do You See?”!
So as I was going through my emails this weekend (the neverending saga lol), I came across one from my colleague about a new Black-owned bookstore opening up here in Richmond. I immediately clicked on the message to get more info on this discovery!!
For all my Richmond folks, or folks who will be coming through the area there is a new bookstore coming to the Shockoe Slip area in February 5th, 2022 (right around the corner) called“The Book Bar”!!
For me this is essential as well, considering I am always trying to find safe spaces to chill and relax as well as support. [The Book Bar has also be added to my list of Black owned bookstores, which you can find in the “Resource Guide” section.] And as an added bonus a potential new hang out spot!!
In addition to this being a bookstore customers will also be able to support and purchase from other vendors and Black-owned businesses. And if you want a little something extra you can take part in the quarterly subscription box, which includes a book and a range of products (i.e. wine, bath bombs, socks and snacks). And as you shop, customers will be able to enjoy a lounge style setting with relaxing R&B and neo soul vibes as their soundtrack to keep you in the mood.
Let me just say I look very much to visiting The Book Bar and making some regular purchases!!
And when it is all said and done, mark your calendars, get your coins ready, and if you are out of town (prepare for a visit)!! Now while you wait for the physical grand opening (Feb. 5th) make sure to check out The Book Bar online at rvabookbar.com as well their corresponding social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram= @rvabookbar , and YouTube!!
Well today is the day!! Year 2 as an Assistant Professor in African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)!!
Last year was one definitely to remember…I had just moved to Richmond in the middle of a pandemic, VCU had pretty much asked professors and instructors to change their formats for teaching, and my apartment became not a just a place of residence but also a work place. This year, while there is still a pandemic, people are getting vaccinated, students are returning to campus, and majority of the classes are in-person (with mask requirements). The in-person part is really exciting to me because I thrive off being able to see my students live and in living color, it just feeds the soul!!
So this semester, my teaching schedule has one new addition! I have the privilege of teaching the Capstone Seminar course for Africana Studies students and I will also teach the Theories and Foundations in Africana Studies course for the second year! The Capstone Seminar course is definitely going to be a new venture for me as I will be guiding students through a semester long research project. It’s more than just teaching but also serving as a guide for this major undertaking. I have always wanted the opportunity to serve as mentor and I feel like this will be great preparation. In addition to the teaching I have also been tasked with serving as the advisor for the “Black Excellence at VCU” organization for which I am pretty siked! All in all, I am very much looking forward to this Fall semester!!
Now as this new semester begins, I will be honest there are still butterflies in the stomach and a little nervousness, but it is to be expected. I strive to always give 110% to my work, my students, and myself so my daily prayer is that I find that balance with all three and just do my part in being the best person, scholar, and professor that I can be. My one main goal that I always have every semester is that my students leave my classes with at least one thing that they did not know prior to the course. It may seem simple and minimal, but major for me. That one new thing, idea, thought that a student leaves with can be a life-changer and to know that I may play a role in that is a huge accomplishment!
AUGUST 24th, 2021 the journey continues!!
And to all those who are starting today or have already started WELCOME BACK!! As the summer winds down and my favorite month comes to a close (SMILE), it is time to get back into the routine! Time to get those creative juices flowing again…Time to inspire, encourage, and motivate (teachers and students)…Time to make some new memories!!
So let’s blaze some trails and seek new horizons!!
Alright that’s enough for the first day, but make sure you stay tuned periodically for updates and check-ins, because trust me I GUARANTEE there will be some memorable moments shared!!
As I continue to dive into my new city, I am super excited to share this CFC (Call For Contributions) on “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” in which I am serving as the lead editor!! It is open to all and you do not have to reside in Richmond to contribute! See below for more information!
VCU Publishing seeking contributions to ‘Imagining Black Futures in Richmond’* The online anthology aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
VCU Publishing — which amplifies VCU scholarly and research findings and provides publishing opportunities for students and faculty — is seeking contributions for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond,” a curated open access anthology that will imagine and explore futures for Richmond through an Afrofuturist lens.
VCU Publishing, part of VCU Libraries, is hoping to receive Afrofuturist works from diverse authors — both academic and community members — as well as diverse disciplines and perspectives. These contributions could include any discipline and in many forms, whether they be scholarly essays, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual media (for example, photo essays or comic or graphic art), or interviews.
Authors do not have to reside in the Richmond area, but the work in some way must address the city, which continues to grapple with past and present racism and inequality. And since VCU is woven into the fabric of Richmond, VCU Publishing is also interested in works that embrace or challenge the university’s position in the community. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, the project aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
“I am excited to take part in this multidisciplinary anthology project with VCU Publishing,” said Gipson, whose research interests include Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. “As a new resident to Richmond and to VCU, I look forward to learning more about the city of Richmond and the many ways that it explores the Black imaginary space.”
Afrofuturism has been defined by journalist and filmmaker Ytasha Womack as “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation” that “redefines culture and notions of blackness for today and the future” while combining “elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.”
Building on the aspirations and explorations of W.E.B. Du Bois’ scholarly work as well as his speculative fiction, and moving forward to encompass popular culture in its broadest sense, Afrofuturism offers a conceptual springboard for an imagined future for the greater Richmond area that can be expressed through essays, scholarly studies and creative works. A future where, in the words of Du Bois, all are judged “by their souls and not by their skins.”
The idea for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” arose out of discussions on future directions for VCU Publishing following the publication of “The Politics of Annexation” alongside renewed calls for racial justice in summer 2020.
Jimmy Ghaphery, associate dean for scholarly communications and publishing at VCU Libraries, said he is excited to see how “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” “can reflect a rich history of community activism in the city, and establish Richmond as a nexus for imagining and creating a new and more just future for the South and the United States.”
The project, he added, is expected to include a hands-on paid publishing experience for a VCU student.
Sam Byrd, scholarly publishing librarian at VCU Libraries, said the team is hoping to receive an array of materials that “amaze us, that we hadn’t dreamed of.”
“Richmond is a changing city,” he said. “The monuments starting to come down may be the most visible sign of that, but there has been so much more work going on before, during and after, from so many different voices. I hope this project can amplify that diversity and energy and give us some creative paths to move forward on.”
The deadline to contribute to “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” is July 1. Authors will retain copyright for their work and must be willing to have the work shared and preserved by VCU Publishing.
Authors can contribute their work online (Gmail account required). Alternatively, they can attach their file in email to email@example.com, including their name and the title of their contribution. The book is projected to publish in late spring 2022. For more details or further inquiries, VCU Publishing can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now for folks that know me, they know I love geeking out about Black Futures and even more about its relationship with Black History (hence the name of this site ‘Black Future Feminist’). So it is without question that I am very excited to virtually sit with some forward thinking minds and participate in this soul-stirring, out of this world panel!!
You can stream and get more information about the event here!!
And remember although February is the month (here in the US) that we formally celebrate Black History (major thanks to Carter G. Woodson) just know that Black History is 365 day effort!!