One cannot truly celebrate #BlackExcellence and look to the future without taking a moment to honor those who paved a way for us to journey forward.
Case in point, author, philosopher, life coach and fellow Wakandan, Steven Barnes, who is celebrating a birthday today.
Continuing the celebration of #BlackExcellence in February, I’m proud to announce that yours truly has been putting in that work and my latest short story, Where Monsters Roam, is featured in the new BLACK POWER: THE SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY which is available now.
October is Black Speculative Fiction Month and like legions of others, I am celebrating it something fierce.
Why does Black Speculative Fiction Month matter?
Black Speculative Fiction Month matters because now more than ever our stories must be told and our voices must be heard. Black Speculative Fiction Month matters because too often at cons and writing events, I’m the only nonwhite guest in attendance.
“I’m always fascinated when white geeks go on and on about how accepting and wonderful geek culture is. I don’t question their experience, I just can’t personally relate. For me, I have to be cautious of what venues of fandom I venture in, because it’s not unlike walking through gen pop, where you constantly have to look over your shoulder to make sure an inmate or warden doesn’t attempt to shank you. Or a better analogy would be making sure that while you’re always outnumbered, that you’re never outgunned like my patronus Midnighter.”
-Dennis R. Upkins
The following happened a few years ago but this tale definitely warrants a post just the same.
So last week Literary Phenom, Nobel Prize Winner, and Black Excellence Personified Toni Morrison celebrated her 85th birthday.
This woman has been a guiding light for me both as a speculative fiction author and as a human being.
Morrison is one of the catalysts in both Hollowstone and West of Sunset becoming a reality.
Case in point:
One cannot discuss black excellence (specifically in speculative fiction) without discussing one of the most gifted and progressive storytellers, ever to walk this earth, the late Dwayne McDuffie.
As expected, many discussed the amazing work he and his team did with making Milestone Comics a success, others mentioned his phenomenal work with fellow phenom Bruce Timm with creating over a decade of superb animated series and films.
Of course people pointed out that McDuffie paved the way for black storytellers in a way too vanillacentric medium that is the comic book industry.
The second trailer of Avengers: Age of Ultron featured more than a few surprises. Most notably, a scene that featured a mysterious woman in the cave which had the internet abuzz.
Unfortunately the shot-callers at Disney decided to snatch defeat out of he jaws of victory. After pulling rank on director Joss Whedon with the cave scene, Disney ultimately pulled a bait & switch in advertising the woman in the second trailer and then removing her from the film.
Based on what is known regarding the plans for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the character was most likely either Shuri, princess of Wakanda and co-Black Panther, or the Dora Milaje: the elite personal bodyguards of the Black Panthers.
The Black Panther himself isn’t the only reason I’m eagerly awaiting the the live action film when it hits theaters in 2018.
Although T’Challa in action is more than reason enough.
The opportunity to see the mythical land of Wakanda, and the fiercely “Adored Ones,” the Dora Milaje, on the big screen is also well worth the price of admission alone.
But as the Captain America, Iron Man and Thor films have illustrated, the supporting players, (Falcon, Bucky Barnes, War Machine, and Lady Sif) will also get an opportunity to take center stage.
This is why I’m hoping T’Challa’s younger sister and fellow Black Panther, Shuri has a featured role in the film.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a local #BlackLivesMatter vigil for Rekia Boyd and all of the other sisters we have loss to systemic racism and police violence. The turnout was actually pretty decent all things considered. We participated in a libation ceremony and I had the opportunity to share some thoughts as well.
I spoke about Duanna Johnson and Mya Hall and to also remember trans women, and LGBTQs in general in our movement.
Shockingly (for me anyway) my comments went over well. Several people thanked me for speaking.
I’m glad I attended. It’s nice to see a flicker of candlelight in the middle of a violent storm.
So like countless other PoCs, I’ve been watching the ongoing horrors in #Ferguson very closely. Like countless other PoCs, I’ve had to endure my share of whites who either don’t know the dynamics that are playing out in terms of institutional racism or are proudly and maliciously spewing as much toxic bile as they can.
If you find yourself in this position, you probably wouldn’t mind some handy resources to educate and eviscerate before utilizing the blessed block function.
The following are resources I’ve found to be useful not only for the #Ferguson tragedy but the discussions on racism and bigotry in general. Hopefully you won’t need them but if you do, here they are. Feel free to repost and share.