Tag Archives: Black History Month

StoryCraft: A Stitch In Time


a-stitch-in-time-lee-ann-newsom
A Stitch in Time by Lee Ann Newsom

Guess what?

What?

I’m on Wattpad! As I continue writing my fantasy novel, I want to keep practicing my story-writing skills, therefore, I will be posting short fiction on there.

My first is called, “A Stitch In Time,” which follows a teenage girl who meets an unexpected guest who lives in her home and discovers that her mother is about give away a sewing machine with special powers, something this new guest also wants. If you like Anansi stories, you might like this one!

Part 1 and Part 2 are up now!

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The M(N)STRY: Black Speculative Fiction Is Protest Fiction


51edfd0c935845331d22b290da44e9deI’ll be honest. These past couple of weeks has made writing for me difficult. I was lacking encouragement to keep writing my fantasy novel and wavering back and forth between if being a writer mattered. But attending events like Writers Resist in Queens and reading my own work, reading from Frederick Douglass’ speech “What to a Slave is The Fourth of July,” and listening to the various other writers in the room helped to reinvigorate me.

Oppressive systems and tyrannical leaders gain power off of our silence, our complacency, our acceptance of how it imagines the world should be. Stories have helped to motivate people to keep going when times were dire. To believe in a different possibility of the world. Douglass, an abolitionist who was able to break through the chains of slavery through reading and writing, said that knowledge was the pathway to freedom. His desire to learn to read and write gave him the tools to fight the oppressive institution of slavery and determine a different future for himself. Enslaved people learning to read and write was a threat to the social order of the day. They gave the enslaved tools to question authority and to imagine something else, which is a danger to the status quo.

Continue reading The M(N)STRY: Black Speculative Fiction Is Protest Fiction

Moving on the Wires: The Spiritual Technologist Essay


Spirit TechFor Black History Month, I present to you my published essay, “The Spiritual Technologist: An Afrofuturistic Techno-Ethos:”

Using the title of the character Rinehart from Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” I explore briefly the concept of the spiritual technologist as a way to develop my own philosophical ethos for the movement of Afrofuturism.

You can buy the essay for $1.99 at Smashwords!

Rewind: Looking Back to Go Forward


For the last Rewind post for this month, here  is an episode from the Black History Month episode of Sister, Sister “I Have a Dream,” where Tamera is struggling with life changes and moving forward. She has a dream where she travels through the past meeting different well-known black figures who made a change in the world, and discovers that while change and the future can be scary, she is not alone because those who came before had to overcome the same fears to clear the path to a better future. The last scene we see that someone travels from the future to her to let her know that there are people who depend on her in the future, just as we did with our ancestors. Sankofa!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Langston and Lucille’s Magic of Simple


This month, I attended two poetry events, David Mills’ dramatic performance of Langston Hughes’ works and Elizabeth Alexander’s conversation on Lucille Clifton’s mystical, shaman-like poetry, reminded me that so much magic can condensed into few and sometimes simple words; they made magic out of the ordinary. Below are some poems from Hughes and Clifton as well as notes from Alexander’s lecture and the exhibition at the Poet’s House, which will close in March.

Hughes:

Hughes was often criticized by modernist poets who saw his poems as old-fashioned or lacking the supposed complexity of modern poetry. But Hughes was not writing for them, who were usually white male critics; he was writing for the people he came from and you see it in his short works, plays and poetry, including standardizing the form of blues poetry. The veneer of simplicity and rhyming sentimentality often hid within his work a complexity of culture and wisdom that was often not respected or seen in high-regard, if at all.

“Sun is his grave,/Moon is, stars are,/Space is his grave.” – “Lumumba’s Grave”

“Drum”

Bear in mind
that death is a drum
beating on forever,
till the last worms come
to answer its call,
till the last stars fall,
until the last atom
is no atom at all,
until time is past
and there is no air
and space itself
is nothing, nowhere.
Death is a drum,
a signal drum,
calling life
to come!
Come!
Come!

Continue reading Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Langston and Lucille’s Magic of Simple

Afrofuturism Mix


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On the last day of Black History Month, I invite you to check out John Morrison from Liberation Art and Culture Works‘ mixtapes:

Black History Month Vol.1: Africa: Center of the World

L.A.C.W.-Black History Month 2012 Vol.2: Black Love is an Act of Revolution

L.A.C.W.-Black History Month 2012 Vol. 4: The Shadows of Tomorrow: Afro-Futurism Mix

Also, vote for his remix of Robert Glasper’s “Move Love” from his new album Black Radio.

The My-Stery: My Speculative Return Home…


For the first day of “Black History Month” (although Black history should be all day, everyday), I want to give a little background history of my return to speculative fiction. Looking back, I have always enjoyed speculative fiction, including science fiction, horror and fantasy. Growing up, I love fables, books and films about talking animals, shows like The Magic Schoolbus, Dr. Seuss books, and anything that “normal” people might consider weird. A few days ago, I found a book report that I did in junior high school on the science fiction novel, Silver Eyes. I remember reading and loving the “utopian society gone wrong” book, The Giver (I read it might be turned into a film soon), Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” and “Tell Tale Heart,” Dicken’s “The Christmas Carol,” and the list goes on. My poetry even reflected my interest in speculative fiction. I wrote a poem about my menstrual cycle (I had painful cramps), called “Menarch and the Girl,” which was about an evil sorceress who put a curse on a girl to live and die each month (I was slightly morbid as a teenager, I am not that way now).

However, around the time I entered high school, I began to lose interest in it. I blame it on several reasons. My high school was so rigorous that I started to dislike reading for fun, even though I liked some of the books, such as the magic realist Haroun and the Sea of Stories. For some reason, I became obsessed with teenage pop stars (don’t ask) and shows, like Degrassi. Most of my time I gave to music and I think my love for speculative fiction seeped into there because I listened to artists like Missy Elliot, Kelis and N.E.R.D. Last, my family became “saved” and started going to church when I was around 11. I was told books that were about magic and witches (Harry Potter), anything that questioned Christianity (The Da Vinci Code) or anything that focused on too much science and not enough faith was not good to read or considered nonsense. So, I guess I could not reconcile the two and I dropped the former.

As I entered college, I had changed again. I went natural and began to grow my locs. Also, I started to lose my faith in Christianity (but shhh! don’t tell my parents that yet). In my sophomore year, I took a class on Black people and Mass media with Professor Arthur Lewin. His class, as well as a few others, taught me to think further outside the box and sparked my interest in Africana Studies. Later, I attended a class on the African Diaspora (one of the books we read was Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye)  and I began to study more about the Diasporic history. As I studied the history, I also studied the traditional spiritual systems and religions, which further diminished my belief in Western Christianity. Early last year, I started my blog, its name from a statement by the poet Aja Monet (at least I think) and my pseudonym a reflection of studying Egyptian mythology. My blog started as a way to give a historical context to culture, mainly the ignored or erased history of marginalized groups, and as a way to show off my quirkiness, specifically my non-mainstream music interests. Somehow, I stumbled upon Afrofuturism, which tied everything together for me, and as they say the rest is history.