*I am featured in Atlanta Blackstar’s blerd’s “Black Speculative Tech – Uses of Technology in Black Science Fiction, Part 2:” “Because of institutional racism and our positions as mere subjects of science, Black people have typically been excluded from the mainstream scientific establishment as actors, practitioners, researchers and policymakers. Black scientific and technological innovation and achievement have gone virtually unrecognized, save for the handful of Black scientists and engineers who get their acknowledgments during Black History Month. Contrary to perceptions of Blackness as divorced from tech and science, we have a long and well-documented history, present and anticipated future of technological development behind and ahead of us. In this series, we continue to explore the expansive realm of Black speculative technologies in music, art and literature.”
*Black Girl Dangerous’ “What Good Is Science Fiction to Black People?:” “But to sci fi? Is this a stretch? Like so many others, I once thought of sci fi as a white man’s genre. But like all literature and virtually all art, while the genre came to me under the cloak of white men’s ownership, I’ve found my own heroes, disproving the dominant narrative that devalues the stories of people like me. Black women like Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Tananarive Due, and Nnedi Okorafo dismantle and rebuild our world to center black women’s voices where they’re so often silenced. They infuse their writing with ancestral spirits of Africa, fabulist folklore from the Caribbean, and the innovative power of our people.
The imaginative spirit of science fiction lets me know that, in spite of what I’ve heard, the genre is mine to have. My imagination has always been mine and used for everything from dreaming up talking animals to expressing the inexpressible about the trauma of sexual violence and domestic abuse. Science fiction pushes against the constraints of reality, and in order to embrace it, I have to suspend disbelief about many things, including the limits imposed on me.”
*VMF Magazine’s “Afrofuturism in the Time of Renisha and Trayvon:” “Fact: Black people are killed by a culture that doesn’t value them, and degrades and squashes attempts at bolstering communal self esteem.
This is an inconvenient truth, and it is one that many people avoid. But in all the circumvention, the bodies keep piling up, and we are seeing classic examples of misappropriation and erasure all the time. Black people, in a land that is hostile and holistically foreign, have looked back to Africa, like Garvey, to nationalism like the Black Panthers, and into separatism like the citizens of Tulsa and Rosewood, as means of establishing a place where Black pride and Black-centeredness could be viable options for the prosperity of darker peoples. While looking at possibilities on this terrestrial plane…others looked to the stars and the future in a philosophical and aesthetic movement called Afrofuturism. It begins with the works of such visionaries as Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, Grace Jones, Basquiat, Sun-Ra, and Parliament Funkadelic and has grown to encapsulate the works of artists like Erykah Badu and Andre 3000. Although heavily dependent on science fiction, fantasy, and mysticism, Afrofuturism is not escapism. It is a realm of re-envisioning and rebuilding.”
*Patheos’ Emerging Voices’ “Black to the Mothership:” Micky ScottBey Jones talks about the intersections between Afrofuturism and theology.
*Ytasha Womack (Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture and Rayla 2212) is raising funds on kickstarter for her upcoming film, Bar Star City. The film is about “a charmed longtime bar owner discovers that his understated Southside Chicago watering hole is the home for galactic phenomena…Think the TV classic Cheers meets Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain meets that funny dream you had last night that you decided to keep to yourself.”
*Ytasha Womack will also be part of HTMLles 11: Feminist Festival of Media arts + Digital culture conference, called “Feminist Technics, Queer Machines: Inventing Better Futures,” where they will discuss Afrofuturism as creative empowerment at McGill University in Quebec on November 7.
*Afropunk feature “Creating new narratives, Folasade Adeoso‘s digital collages”
*I just started watching the Static Shock cartoon and will eventually read the comics, and Static Shock will be made into a live action series, but here is Michael Davis talking about Static Shock in “Michael Davis: I Am Static” on Comic Mix.
*Afropunk “OP-ED: “Things I Wish I’d Known Growing up as a Black Girl Nerd:” “Growing up is always tough. But there’s something unique about the black girl nerd experience. There’s no prototype for the black girl nerd; no famous fictional adolescents whose path we could mirror and cling to. I think many of us had to go our own way, figuring everything out as we went along because it felt like we were the only ones. For me, it felt like isolation heaped atop a pile of loneliness. Who can forget those feelings of euphoria upon actually meeting a fellow black girl nerd in high school? Here are a few things I wish I’d known as a teenager navigating a world rife with racialized sexism and feeling like the odd woman out in all the worlds in which I wanted to belong.”
*Would HBO do justice to Octavia Butler’s Parable Series?
*WomanSpeak, A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women is having a submissions call for their next anthology, Letters to the Granddaughters: Conjuring the Womanish Writers of the Future: “Writers are invited to imagine the womanish authors and poets of the future, our literary descendants, the inheritors of our words and stories. As their ancestors, what are the stories we must tell them, the stories they will need to hear? What do we want them to know about our lives, our arts, and the ways we view the responsibility of the womanish writer in the community and in the world? What about the ones wanting to write to “transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope” with the stories and poems they write? What about the poets who want to “tell the truth about their lives” and “split the world open?” What about the womanish fiction writers of the year 2035 and 2045 and 2050? When they go looking for the voices of the literary grandmothers, what treasures of language, craft and consciousness will they find you have bequeathed to them? And what about the ones to come who will dedicate their language arts to the causes and movements for social justice for women? And what about the ones to come who are simply looking for good books to read by writers of our generation, by us? What will we leave behind for them to find?
The 8th edition is also devoted to exploring the notion of writing as an act of conjuring the writers of the future, and their readers too. If we write it, will they come? We will see.
WomanSpeak Vol 8 is accepting poetry, short fiction, fairytales, personal essays and art. Writers may submit up to five poems. There is a 5,000 word limit for all other writing. Artists may submit up to five images in JPG format at 300 dpi at a minimum size of 6 X 9 inches. All submissions should be submitted by email as an attachment in Microsoft word to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word submission in the subject line. Deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.”
*Black Girl Nerds’ recap of NYCC: “New York Comic-Con Diversity Panels — We’re Here, We’ve Been Here, We’ll Be Here.”
*Black Girl Nerds’ “Repainting My Imagination With Black Fantasy Authors.”
*Nerds of Color’s “I’m Happy for Black Panther… However…:” “If you swap out the word “film” and replace it with “comics” then you’d get a good idea of what I’m getting at here. I wrote a blog piece describing this as Black Geek Stockholm Syndrome and it definitely applies. We’ve got at least two generations of Black geeks unwilling or incapable of giving Black indie comics a chance.
Over the last few years I’ve learned that the great majority of Black geeks/comic book readers aren’t really fans of Comic Books, they’re mainly fans of the Marvel/DC brands. They have zero interest in indie Black material and no matter what we do or say, it will not move them in our direction. There will always be that 5% that is willing to give our material a chance and we should make sure our product is top-notch for those folks who will support us.”
*The Rise of MF Doom comic on Red Bull Music Academy.
*Kickstarter for animated Mulogo and His Quintuple of Trouble short film by Martin Reese. The film is about a young wizard’s apprentice’s “curiosity about a forbidden book of magic leads to a confrontation with a powerful, five-headed dragon.”
*Madame Noire’s “Where Are All The Ghouls And Goblins In Black Cinema?:” “But all may not be lost as a Google search uncovered the website BlackHorrorMovie.com, which has an archive list, as well as some reviews, on black horror films dating back to the 1920s and 30s. The last five entries, which are from 2009-10, include such titles as Single Black Female (2009), Thorns from a Rose (2009), The Whistler (2009), Dead Tone, aka 7eventy 5ive (2007) and Gallowwalkers (2010), which was the zombie film starring Wesley Snipes. I tried to look up the films and their trailers, however, I could only find one (the Snipes flick).
What this suggests to me is that black folks are actively contributing to the genre, but like everything else, it all might be a matter of getting the audience to connect with the content. And in a world where less niche black productions like relationship comedies/dramas barely get the greenlight from Hollywood, I wouldn’t hold my breath about seeing another Vampire in Brooklyn – or any other ”’hood” – on the big screen anytime soon.”
*Phenderson Djèlí Clark’s “Halloween’s Diaspora Denizens:” “Ghosts, ghouls, werewolves and skeletons are what most of us think of us on Halloween. But as a recent NPR article reminds, many of us have brought our own monsters and folktales from different cultures to add to this blend. And like so much else in America, our imagining is made richer by it. The denizens of our many diasporas now haunt our Halloweens.”
*Afropunk’s “FEATURE: Visual Artist Komi Olaf: Art of Purpose:” “There is a magnetic power that lies beyond art’s surface and elevates the minds of those who are unafraid to experience its field. Every color, shape, line, and symbol an Artist joins together tell of a story— their personal odyssey, whether in parables or a masterpiece with details equated to that of a novel’s. Understanding art at this capacity sets apart the drawers from Creators, using their divine capability to mirror their anguish, love, guilt, and joy. Painter extraordinaire, Komi Olaf has opened his heart, and at times dived into the darkest of places in order to reach freedom, all the while creating candid masterpieces that stream freely from his conscience serving not only himself but ultimately, the world.”
*Nowness’ “Wangechi Mutu: New Siren:” “The artist takes on life, death and femininity with her latest video work.” Shirine Saad discusses Mutu’s latest exhibition, Nguva na Nyoka (Sirens and Serpents).
*Huffpost’s “The World Of Vodou: Exhibit Brings To Life A Highly-Misunderstood Religion:” “The real world of Haitian Vodou is hardly like what Hollywood would have us believe.
For one, many depictions of the religion focus on New Orleans-based Voodoo, a related but separate set of traditions. To help understand this tradition, Chicago’s Field Museum is taking a deep dive into the world of Vodou in a new exhibit running October 24, 2014 – April 26, 2015.
“Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti” includes over 300 Vodou objects, including altars, mixed-media sculptures, drums, sequined flags and large-scale representations of spirits called lwa (pronounced luh-WAH). The exhibition explores the ways in which Haiti’s history of slavery, oppression and resistance helped shape Vodou traditions and the religious role of ancestor spirits in helping practitioners keep their history alive.”
*Atlanta Blackstar’s “50 Facts About The ‘Wizard of Tuskegee’ – Inventor George Washington Carver.”
*The Guardian’s “Chris Ofili’s Blue Devils: between black men and the police:” “Powerful and deeply uncomfortable new painting expresses the anger and humiliation inspired by ‘stop and search’ at a time when the issue has never been more talked-about.”
*Professor Ajani Brown speaks about his Afrofuturism course at San Diego State University.
–Gabriel Teodros and SoulChef’s Evidence of Things Unseen
–The Black Fantastic Rubber Tracks Session
–Vodun‘s “Loa’s Kingdom”
-Trailer for Jneiro Jarel‘s Flora EP, which will be released November 11 on Bandcamp.