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Category Archives: Events/Festivals

Modern Griots Recap: Highlights from Black Comic Book Festival


Attending the Black Comic Book Festival for the first time this year introduced me to a wide scope of the comic book world from the lens of the black community and so I wanted to share some of the creators and their works that I came across while there. It was difficult walking around the presentation tables and stopping myself from buying all the comics there, but I did get a couple:

*The first table I went to was the artist John Jennings and I purchased the African American Graphic Classics. As someone who does write poetry, this was a great find for me. It’s a similar idea to a book I had when I was younger, illustrator and author Ashley Bryan’s book of illustrated African-American poetry. Various comic and graphic artists, such as Jennings, Lance Tooks, and Afua Richardson, illustrate several short stories and poems from various authors, including Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Dunbar Nelson, W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes.

*Walking around I saw many male creators in the comic and science fiction industry, like the Craft family, N Steven Harris, Mshindo Kuumba, I enjoyed particularly seeing black women who were part of it as well, like Evolve‘s Kia Barbee. I met illustrator and animator Tiana Mone’e Scott, who has done work with Cartoon Network and PBS. At the right below was one of my favorite pieces that she had on her table. See more of her work here.

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Modern Griots Reviews: Tongues of Fire and Erykah Badu


Sekou Sundiata – “Space”

Last weekend, I attended the Tongues of Fire tribute to Sekou Sundiata at the Apollo and I must say it was a beautiful, stirring and electrifying tribute. Curated by musical director Craig Harris, the show included his band Nation of Imagination as the musical background as for a few moving musical numbers, some with lyrics written by Sundiata and sung by the three singers of the band (“Song for a Friend,” “I Found God,” “The Writer,” The Sea.”). The other performances were a mixture of spoken word performances of works from Sekou Sundiata and Amiri Baraka arranged with music as well as performances from The Last Poets member Abiodun, rapper Rakim and Nigerian artist Wunmi.

The show opened with poet Liza Jessie Peterson reading “Urban Music” from Sundiata’s album Long Story Short and continued with Amiri Baraka’s “In the Tradition” and “Something in the Way of Things,” the humorous critique of today’s hip-hop with Abiodun and Rakim, “Some of It’s Hip, Some of It’s Not,” and ended the first part with Sundiata’s “Sound of Memory” and a funky “Blink Your Eyes” with Vernon Reid and all the performers.

The second half of the show began with Ngoma Hill’s reading  his yoruba-inspired poem, “Poem for My Egun,” leading to a cacophony of poems and music with Peterson, Baraka, and Abiodun performing together “Reparations,” and “Whys.” Wunmi grooved on stage, even getting down with Harris, during the performances of  wish-to-return home “The Healing Song” and Baraka’s recitation of Sundiata’s “Space.” Rakim was brought back out to finish the night with his classics, like “The 18th Letter,” bringing the night packed already with so much to a full-circle.

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Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Sekou Sundiata


Starting this month until October, there will be several events celebrating poet, playwright, educator and activist Sekou Sundiata, all part of Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a New York City-wide retrospective. There have been a few events this month already, including one with Tracie Morris, and during next two weeks will be events at The Apollo Theater and The Poets House. All the events will include a wide variety of artists and creatives, including Amiri Baraka, Nona Hendryx , Vernon Reid, and Greg Tate. Below are a few of his memorable poems (I love the musicality and cultural awareness of his poetry), and you can read more on his website:

Philosophy of the Kool

a blues for poets

I been swimming since water,

learning to sing like the songs.

The oldest one I know goes like this:

Some people came from the trees,

I remember coming out of the undertow: the ocean

of seas: the electricity the explosions

billlions of us crashing with the waves,

then blown away into memory.

You can still hear us in the piece of a beat

or in that music made from scratch.

The first words still had roots,

like a James Brown syllable.

It was a single cell one minute, a slam dunk the next.

Speed was our need.

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Black Girls and Women Are From the Future…


Since yesterday was International Women’s Day and today is International Fly Girls Day, here is post dedicated to some topics, news and resources about us black women. But first, “I’m Every Woman” from Chaka Khan, one of the first music videos:

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Otherworldly Videos: Alien Bodies Conference


Below are videos of the conversations and lectures from the Alien Bodies Conference that took place in February:

Keynote with Alondra Nelson

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Moving on the Wires: Tim Fielder, Oya: Rise of the Orisha, Live Unchained…


*Tonight illustrator and animator Tim Fielder will be sharing his work Matty’s Rocket– an episodic-animated series & web comic. The event will have guest appearances and readings from writers Liza Jessie Peterson and Melanie Maria Goodreaux. They will read Afrofuturistic pieces aloud while Fielder will illustrate their work on the spot!

*Accra Dot Alt will be returning tonight with their Talk Party Series in Ghana celebrating singer Tawiah’s mixtape Freedom Drop.

*Today, the filmmakers for the upcoming film, Oya: Rise of the Orisha, opened their Indiegogo page. The film “focuses on a young woman named Adesuwa who has the unique ability to transform into the fearsome warrior goddess, Oya, the Orisha of change. When she changes, she gains amazing abilities. We follow Adesuwa as she goes on a head-stomping mission to keep the doorway between the Orisha and humanity closed. Be prepared for an action packed , mystical adventure as we explore the world of the Orisha.”

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Moving on the Wires: Black Women From the Future, Griotworks, CCCADI, Jimi Hendrix, Erykh Badu…


Black Women From the Future*Kwan Booth, who edited Black Futurist Speaks, is hosting Black Women From the Future event in Oakland, California on Saturday in celebration of both Black History Month and Woman’s History Month in March. Today is Nina Simone’s birthday, so it’s perfect timing. For more information on the event and the artists featured, click here.

* Griotworks is presenting “‘Afrofuturism': Exploring the Future of Black Media, Myth and Culture” event on Sunday in Philadelphia, Pennsylviania. The conversation will focus on the history and future of Black movies and media, taking into consideration the seven slavery-themed films coming out this year. For more information, click here.

*CCCADI and ImageNation are presenting the “8th Annual Re-Defining African American Convening: What’s At Stake?” on February 26th in Harlem, New York City. The topic is: “Who are the REAL African-Americans? Navigating Identity Nuances of African Peoples in America.” For more information, click here.

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Events/Festivals, Moving on the Wires, Music

 

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Moving on the Wires: The Liberator Magazine, El Anatsui, Anti-Robot Radio, Mother Tongue Monologues


*The Liberator Magazine released their latest issue, “The Last Generation of Black People.” My essay, “The Percussive Approach,” is one of the writings featured. Buy a copy here.

*Accra dot Alt announced El Anatsui’s exhibition “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” will be at Brooklyn Museum Also, go to Accra dot Alt for other news happening in Accra, Ghana.

*Boston Fielder of Muthawit will be on the Anti-Robot Radio show tommorow at 7pm.

*Mother Tongue Monologues for Lesbian Ancestral Wives and Revolutionary Women Speaking the Unspeakable will be performed tomorrow at the Schomburg Center in Harlem.

*BAM New Voices in Black Cinema starts today and will be premiering tomorrow both The United States of Hoodoo (which I will be reviewing) and Tey with Saul WIlliams. For more info., click here.

*MoCada opened a new exhibition, eMerging: Visual Art and Music in the Post-Hip-Hop Era.

 

 

 

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Moving on the Wires: Black Science Fiction Festival, Alien Bodies, Blitz the Ambassador and The Last Poets, NYU Black Surrealism Conference…


*Black Science Fiction Film Festival on February 7th in Atlanta, Georgia. Watch clip below:

*The Alien Bodies: Race, Space and Sex in the African Diaspora Conference will be taking place at Emory University on February 8-9 in Atlanta Georgia. Sadly, I won’t be there, but at least it will be recorded for later viewing. Also, after the conference, there will be a Music from the Mothership: Sonic Event at Emory Dobbs University Center.

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Moving on the Wires: Afrofuturism Talk, The United States of Hoodoo, MUV’s Sankofa, Buli…


-1*For those who will be in Missouri, one of my supporters, Reynaldo Anderson will be having a talk at Missouri History Museum on February 1st, called Afrofuturism: Race, Art and Politics in the Age of Digital Reproduction. Hopefully, the conversation will be recorded and the rest of us can listen to it later.

*The filmmakers of The United States of Hoodoo documentary will continue showcasing the film, including at New York’s BAM Rose Cinemas on February 16 and two screening in Chicago’s Black World Cinema on march 6 and 7. They also plan to release the film online through a few sites like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes. For more info., click here.

*Dance group MUV (Movement for the Urban Village) will premiering their latest performance, Sankofa, at BAM Fisher/Fishman Space on February 23 and 24. Support their Indiegogo page.

*Director Arianna Azzolini is working on a new documentary, The Singing Souls of Buli, about South African rapper, singer and shaman (sangoma) apprentice, Buli, and her journey to speak with her dead mother and meet the dragon in River Orange-senqu in Lesotho. Support the Indiegogo page and watch the trailer below:

*A new facebook group, “Afro-Punk” (not to be confused with the music organization Afropunk) is “dedicated to the production, consumption, support, discussion and deconstruction of speculative creativity originating in Africa and the Diaspora.”

*Co-editors Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall are creating their own set of anthologies, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. To submit, click here.

 

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