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.***
This is my sixth week of playing Dungeons & Dragons with the group at Chase Public and it only took four weeks for things to come to a head. Read More
Back in March, I participated in a conference on “nerd lit” at Miami University. I was invited to be on the main plenary panel (with three other speakers) as well as present my steampunk character building workshop as a breakout session during the event. It was a paying gig at an official undergraduate academic conference, but in the days leading up to it, the thought of participating started to make me a little queasy. And there’s a very easy explanation for that — Impostor Syndrome. Read More
We’re back again with another installment of “Projects I’m Supporting”! Up this time: 23-16-9: A Short Film, Niobe: She Is Death, Kamikaze: Volume 2/Soundbox, and the Patreon campaigns of Mikki Kendall and K. Tempest Bradford. Read More
A few months ago, a white author posted a comment in one of the Facebook groups I moderate seeking a beta reader for the steampunk story he was writing. Because his main character is Asian and he clearly is not, he was interested in finding a person of color to read the story. My response was “hire an Asian sensitivity reader.” Read More
I was a teenager when I started to like jazz. In high school, my marching band director played John Coltrane and Miles Davis in his office, the notes wafting in and out of our practice room during our breaks. I bought jazz CDs through that Columbia House CD Club scam when I was in college and by the time I was in grad school, I was crate digging for jazz on vinyl at local record shops. However, it wasn’t until I got deep into the Cincinnati jazz scene that I fell in love with the art of the live jazz show…and subsequently learned what gatekeeping was. Read More
I love performances that keep me thinking about them long after they’re over. I alluded to this here on the blog when I saw Dana Michele: Yellow Towel and Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic at the Contemporary Arts Center. It recently happened again after I watched Napoleon Maddox workshop “A Dance Between Dana Franklin and Millie-Christine” at Chase Public last week. Read More
It’s been a full two years since I reached out to some of my favorite people to ask them if they’d be interested in being part of a local group that focuses on programming for, by and about African-Americans in the genres that fall under speculative fiction. I’ve had a blast creating and executing programs with them and I’m looking forward to doing more of that in 2017 and beyond! Here’s what they had to say about their involvement in the little spec fic group that could. Read More
We made it around the sun once again and today, the Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance celebrates its second anniversary! This has been a whirlwind of a year, full of programs and conversations and debates and friendship building and I look forward to more in 2017!
Here’s a short recap of what we got up to this year:
- In April, we chatted with University of Cincinnati Professor Charles Jones about Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness, the book he co-edited with Reynaldo Anderson, co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement. I also made my second appearance on the BLKBOARD podcast.
- In May, we had a table at the Cincinnati Library Comic Con at the main branch. We did trivia on the show’s black recurring characters and guest stars.
- In June, we hosted the 2nd Queen City Black Comix Day, showcasing local and regional comics artists and creators. We were also featured on Ghettoblaster Magazine‘s website.
- In September, we had a table at MECCACon in Detroit and hosted a steampunk character building workshop for adults.
- In October, we hosted a sci-fi short film night in honor of Black Speculative Fiction Month.
- In November, we hosted a panel on cyberfunk at Pandoracon, a three-day sci-fi convention in Cincinnati. I also served as the Queen of Diamonds for the event.
Thanks to the rest of the Midwest BSFA crew for making these last two years so much! I look forward to doing bigger and better programming with you in the years to come!