Harvard Man

As many of you may know, in addition to being a published author, an equal rights activist, and a nerd seraph, I’m also a pop culture analyst.

A regular fixture on the Nerds of Color, my work has also been featured on Salon, MTV.com, Mental Health Matters, Geeks OUT, Black Girl Magic Lit Mag and a host of other places.

Whether it’s comic books, video games, blockbuster films, or music albums, it is absolutely paramount that we critique our media if for no other reason than to analyze its influence in molding minds and shaping society.

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Navigating Through Race- The Plight of Storytellers of Color

Originally published at Fangs for the Fantasy

A gent by the name of Malcolm X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Many people often wonder how I’m able to reconcile being a spec fic author with being a social justice activist. Malcolm X’s quote is that very reason.
Because while the media has the power to control the minds of the masses, it’s also a platform to hold a mirror and expose inconvenient truths such as bigotry to a society who is still plugged into the proverbial Matrix of privilege and institutional oppression.
But in order share the truth, marginalized artists have to make many decisions that can play an impact on our careers, our art and its potential impact on society.

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Color Commentary: Iron Cyst and the Return of the Draggin’

Just when Marvel thought it was safe.

Color Commentary is back and this time we’re breaking out the Snark Fu once more on arguably the biggest disaster of 2017: Netflix’s Iron Fist.

That’s right. Myself and Madame Gao will once again be providing the tea, the shade, and the truth on all things Discount Arrow.

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But wait. There’s more. For this Ben-Hurring sequel. I’m not alone. That’s right, I’m bringing backup.

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Normally I’d be providing a disclaimer at this point and juncture but if you’re stanning and caping for this tripe, then you deserve to have your fee fees hurt.

 

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Writing to the Non-Existing Audience

Originally published at Thagomizer

Recently I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and acquaintances regarding the release of my novel, Hollowstone. As I explained the premise behind the book, they expressed it was a novel they would be very interested in reading.

They then expressed that they don’t read books. As the conversation continued, they explained it was in large part to their horrors in school. Horror stories I was all too familiar with. The others elaborated that they hated being forced to read classic literature which usually translated works written by old dead white men and ergo deemed as the only type of “literature” worth reading.

Between having to read pretentious egregious tripe that was irrelevant to teens during their adolescence and mandatory reading during their summer vacations, once they graduated, they vowed never to pick up another book again.

The truth is they aren’t alone. The truth is that there are too many people who do not read for very valid reasons.

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Freedom Fighter

In the age of #BlackLivesMatter and the Trump administration, bigotry and institutional oppression have been front burner topics more than ever before on social media and in 3D-space.

Needless to say freedom fighters such as myself are speaking our truths and shining light on the darkness that is racism and other forms of bigotry.

Unfortunately when you tell the truth and shame the devil, the devil will move heaven and hell to try to silence you.

It’s no secret that racism is rampant in many cosplay circles. To even bring up the discussion brings out the worst in many. Such was the case with cosplay photographer and certifiable douchebag Jonathan Mashburn.

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My Steps To Creating Characters And Building Worlds

Originally published at Twinjas Book Reviews

 

One of the questions I’m constantly asked (which admittedly I never get tired of answering) is what  my process in terms of world building and developing complex characters.

My approach to world-building and character development ultimately corresponds to my overall approach to storytelling. As a writer, I personally belong to the school of character = story. What truth do we discover along the character’s journey? More than that, whether it’s fiction, articles or blog posts, I generally have three mandates which I dub E-Cubed: Enlighten, entertain and empower.

Needless to say that E-Cubed has led to other techniques which has only enhanced my storytelling abilities over the years.

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The Red Capes Are Coming

“Be their hero, Clark. Be their monument, be their angel, be anything they need you to be… or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”
 

One year ago, history was made when Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman  opened in theaters.

Why is this a cinematic milestone?

For the first time in history the Man of Steel, the Caped Crusader and the Amazon appeared together in a live action story. This is of monumental importance because not only are these iconic heroes the flagship franchises of D.C. Comics but they are also the cornerstones of western media and western culture.

BvS, and for that matter the D.C. Extended Universe in general, continue to be one of the most polarizing franchises for comic book fans and movie goers for reasons that range from legit critiques to absurd double standards.

One year later, what’s the final verdict on the film?

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Iron Cyst and the Eight Point Strike

It’s too bad Iron Fist wasn’t remotely close to being as entertaining and brilliant as the backlash it’s been receiving. If it had, it would’ve been as popular as Daredevil or Luke Cage as opposed to being one of the biggest punchlines of 2017.

I’m sure one day we’ll all be tired of the proverbial “T” Madame Gao is serving us.

However, today is not that day.

Shifting into Midnighter mode, I’m about to demonstrate my 8-point strike on the fustercluck of white mediocrity that is Iron Cyst.

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Here’s To You Bonnie Bennett

Last night The Vampire Diaries came to an end after eight seasons. In saying farewell to the gang from Mystic Falls, it seemed only right to take this opportunity and give the spotlight to the series’ most valuable player.

You guessed it, Bonnie Bennett, played flawlessly by the beautiful and immensely talented Kat Graham.

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I Cape For Black Women

What makes a hero? Is it the super powers? The skill sets? The gadgets? Our intentions? Our actions?

I’m a comic book guy through and through so these are the questions that haunt me. There are moments in our lives that define us. That we allow to define us through our choices, our mistakes and how we respond to them. Sometimes those moments are big, sometimes they are minute. But in those moments we definitely learn the content of our character.

Here’s an example.

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By Dennis R. Upkins