Take the #CowboyBebopChallenge and Buy a Concert Ticket for a Local Student!

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Ten years ago this month, back when I was a full-time magazine editor, I had the pleasure of witnessing the birth of a dream in real time.

I’d spent several months in late 2007/early 2008 shadowing a local teacher named Betsey Zenk and her autistic student Latron Dodd. Latron didn’t read, write or talk but he had perfect pitch. Betsey used her music therapy background to connect with him through music. Shortly before winter break, she taught Latron some chords on a piano. When he returned, he was playing parts of “Moonlight Sonata.” Betsey was amazed. Through music, she began to see something come alive in Latron and she wanted to nurture that spark. Read More

Diasporic Blackness and Revising Steampunk Characters

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Art by Laanz

I’ve been thinking a lot about the rift between black Americans and continental Africans, and how more visible it is these days, thanks to social media. From Seren Aishitemasu’s slightly unhinged but still insightful YouTube videos about continental Africans’ appropriation of black American culture for profit and fame to the online grumblings from continental Africans about Black Panther/Coming to America mashups earlier this year to Luvvie Ajayi starting what felt like a diaspora war on Twitter last week when she tried to talk slick about Tevin Campbell, I’m seeing more clearly the fissures in the already fragile foundation on which black Americans and continental Africans stand. As someone who does steampunk from a multicultural perspective centering on a  West African narrative, this all makes me think about changes I could make to my character’s backstory.***

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