Posted in Dr. G's Weekly Hot Topics, Feature Spotlight, On The Radar

Dr. G’s Weekly Hot Topics!!

Nothing like some mid-week goodies!! Check out this week’s Hot Topics, see below:

Preparing for Spring 2023 Festival Season … “Something in the Water” festival is coming back to Virginia Beach, VA in 2023!! On Saturday November 5th, VA Beach native Pharrell Williams along with VA Beach mayor Bobby Dyer made the announcement during Williams inaugural Mighty Dream Forum.

In a statement made by Williams, “The demand for the festival in Virginia Beach and The 757 – among the people – has never wavered. If anything it has only intensified.” Well folks will not have to wait long!! 

The full line up and details will be announced soon. Tickets have gone on sale starting Saturday, 11/5.


This is for you Sneakerheads!! … Need some new sneakers…Going to be visiting New Orleans (NOLA) well I have a spot for you!! Check out the only Black-owned sneaker shop in Kenner (a suburb of the crescent city-New Orleans), Peddlers Ave. Birthed out of a hustle and love for shoes, owner Lawrence Wilright launched the sneaker shop in 2010 with a brick-and-mortar building in 2017.


There’s Power in a Name …One of my favorite authors Octavia E. Butler is getting a school named after her, matter fact, it’s her alma mater. Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy in Pasadena, CA will be renamed “Octavia E. Butler Magnet,” the only school in the nation named after the late author. Adding to the excitement, fellow sci-fi and horror author Tananarive Due exclaims, “It feels like a prophecy fulfilled almost…I mean, here she was learning to dream when she was a child attending the school, and now it’s turned into a school that would have been something beyond her dreams.” The decision to rename the school was first made this spring and comes the same year as the new FX television series based on Butler’s 1979 novel “Kindred” is set to debut (December 13th on Hulu).

PUSD leaders and local officials pose in front of the school’s new name and logo.

New Postage Coming Soon in 2023!!… It was announced late October two Black literary giants Toni Morrison and Ernest J. Gaines will be honored with USPS stamps!! Both trailblazers used their craft and literary gifts to amplify stories that provided a lens into the Black experience in America. The “Toni Morrison” stamp features a photograph of Morrison taken in 2000. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp with photography by Deborah Feingold. And the stamp of “Ernest J. Gaines” features an oil painting of Gaines, based on a 2001 photograph. Mike Ryan designed the stamp with art by Robert Peterson. Greg Breeding served as art director.


Broadway Legacy!!… Broadway has something new to celebrate!! The former Mansfield Theater in New York City will now grace the name of the legendary actress and civil rights activist Lena Horne. Horne becomes the first Black women in American history to have a Broadway theater named in her honor. As noted by her granddaughter Jenny Lumet, “My grandma’s a Bed–Stuy girl, and we’re a New York family. So to have her always be in New York City in the theater district, it means everything.”

Photo credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

New Exhibition in Oakland, CA… A new exhibition project “Angela Davis—Seize the Time” is on view at the Oakland Museum of California. The exhibition provides a lens into Davis’ revolutionary quest for change, her incarceration, and the “Free Angela Davis” movement that followed. It will compose of of artwork, sketches, literature, stickers, buttons, postcards, and letters from the “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” campaign, Davis’ writings, and other multi-media elements to encapsulate her story. The exhibition was cultivated by the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, and curated by Donna Gustafson and Gerry Beegan of Rutgers University and Lisa Silberstein and Peggy Monahan of OMCA. “Seize the Time” is on view now through June 11, 2023. 

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Resources

“Black Futures Matter”- Afrofuturism 101 Reading & Movie List

So recently I have had many people ask what would I recommend as an introduction into Afrofuturism. This is something that I am always talking about, teaching, and or even consuming for myself, so why not have a list for beginners! And voila…I compiled various books, short stories, comic books, graphic novels, children and YA fiction, and movies that offer a unique look into Afrofuturism.

Books

  • Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture ~Ytasha Womack
  • Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness ~Edited by Reynaldo Anderson & Charles E. Jones
  • Beloved ~Toni Morrison
  • Kindred ~Octavia Butler
  • Wild Seed ~Octavia Butler
  • Brown Girl in the Ring ~Nalo Hopkinson
  • The Conductors ~Nicole Glover
  • How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? ~N.K. Jemisin
  • Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora ~Edited by Sheree Thomas
  • Dark Matter: Reading the Bones ~Edited by Sheree Thomas
  • Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Working of Science in the Land of the Free ~George Schuyler
  • Lion’s Blood ~Steven Barnes
  • Zulu Heart ~Steven Barnes
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf ~Marlon James
  • Minions: A Vampire Huntress Legend ~L.A. Banks
  • Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements ~Edited by Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown 
  • Black Kirby: In Search of the MotherBoxx Connection ~John Jennings & Stacey Robinson 
  • Mothership Tales: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond ~Edited by Bill Campbell & Edward Austin Hall

Short Stories/Lecture

  • “The Princess Steel” & “The Comet” ~W.E.B. Du Bois
  • “Caramelle 1864” ~Jewelle Gomez
  • “I Left My Heart in Skaftafell” ~Victor LaValle
  • “Don’t Go There” ~Tracy Cross
  • “Ain’t I a Woman” ~Sojourner Truth

Comic Books/Graphic Novels

  • Matty’s Rocket and Infinitude: An Afrofuturist Tale ~Tim Fielder
  • Far Sector (DC Comics) ~N.K. Jemisin
  • Eve (Boom! Studios) ~Victor LaValle
  • Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Static (Milestone Media)
  • Livewire (Valiant Comics)
  • Ironheart (Marvel Comics)
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (Marvel Comics)

Children/YA Fiction

  • Bayou Magic ~Jewel Parker Rhodes
  • Malice in Ovenland ~Micheline Hess
  • Ikenga and Shuri: A Black Panther Novel ~Nnedi Okorafor
  • Raybearer ~Jordan Ifueko
  • Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance ~Tomi Adeyemi
  • The Gilded Ones ~Namina Forna

Movies

  • Space is the Place (1974)
  • The Wiz (1978)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Hidden Figures (2016)
  • Get Out (2017)
  • Us (2019)
  • Antebellum (2020)
  • Sorry to Bother You (2018)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
  • See You Yesterday (2019)
  • District 9 (2009)

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On The Radar

Guess Who’s Back…Season 2 of “Conversations With Beloved and Kindred”

“Sit back and wait to hear a slammin track…Rockin jams by popular demand, I’m back” ~Rakim, ‘Guess Who’s Back’

WE ARE BACK for another season of “Conversations with Beloved and Kindred!” And we are hyped and excited to get back to it!! Did you miss us?!! Well we missed you!!

Kicking off Black History Month, in this second season Dr. Robinson and I are looking forward to bringing you more intellectual commentary as we dive into the Horror and Thriller film genre!

In the past five years since Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out debut on Hollywood screens the genre horror has really picked up steam and garnered new audiences. But what about Black horror and thrillers specifically?? Although not a new genre it has not received the same amount of attention as other horror films. So Dr. Robinson and I want to shed light on some seminal, classic Black horror and thriller films as well as some newcomers that are worthy of your viewing!!

As noted by horror writer and educator Tananarive Due “We’ve always loved horror, it’s just that, unfortunately, horror has not always loved us”. Well we hope that with each episode we can bring to you this season we share some love and appreciation to the Blackness in horror!!

And just in case you need a little refresher or you are new to the series, Conversations with Beloved & Kindred  is a web series in collaboration with the Program & Outreach Division at Auburn Avenue Research Library (Atlanta, GA) hosted by two Black feminist creatives myself Dr. Grace D. Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Dr. Kaniqua Robinson (Furman University). Through each episode, we talk about creative works (i.e. literature, film, television, and art) that are grounded in the Black experience. Following in the footsteps of two legendary women Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler, Gipson and Robinson seek to fill in the gaps of Black history by reimagining a supernatural Black past and present, while giving voice to the silenced narratives.

So stay tuned!! Mark your calendars and save the date, February 10th will be here before you know it!!

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels.com
Posted in On the Desk...

One the Desk

To Be Young Gifted and Black: Finding Black Excellence in “The Hill We Climb”

Sweet Baby Jesus!! Today (and yesterday) we witnessed #BlackExcellence and #Herstory in multiple ways, from the swearing in of Madame Vice President Kamala V. Harris, to the inspiring benediction by Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, to the full display of Black fashion (Pyer Moss, Christopher John Rogers, Sergio Hudson), to the powerful and poignant National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman !! My cup runneth over and I was filled with pure joy and happiness.

However, one moment in particular that stood out for me was witnessing 22-year old Amanda Gorman recite her poem The Hill We Climb on the Capitol steps this morning! Gorman’s poem was more than just words on a paper, but a call to the past, a moment to reflect, a call to action, and a space to inspire. Glowing and shining like the North Star, Gorman stunned audiences with her long yellow coat and crisp white shirt, with a ruby red headband atop her braids … listening to her reminded me of watching Maya Angelou share her poem On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s 1992 inauguration.

Now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

Gorman’s words, poise, and presentation inspired me as a fellow Black woman and it is my hope and prayer that her action and representation inspires not only young girls, but women of all ages to make their voices heard!

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivering her poem “The Hill We Climb”
during the Biden-Harris Inauguration on January 20th, 2021

Everything about this occasion reads dignified, graceful, and refreshing! She had such a natural flow…literally and physically! Gorman’s eloquent moment in so many ways channeled the legacies of Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou, Ella Baker, Toni Morrison, and Fannie Lou Hamer!! The foundations they established laid the groundwork for a young Black woman like Amanda Gorman. Ahhhh they would be so proud! The acknowledgement of this moment is essential and should not be forgotten, if anything we should continue to see more moments like this one!

Let me tell you the ancestors are truly smiling today!!

For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, If only we’re brave enough to be it.

To see the full video and transcript, please see here!

~Dr. G.