I Think I Love Gina Torres

Anyone who’s known me for longer than 8 seconds knows that I praise and adore all things Gina Torres.

To some of you, she is a talented, brilliant and beautiful actress. To me, she is a deity whom I proudly worship. If you’ve seen season 4 of Angel, then you have an idea of my devotion to The Goddess.

Between Justice League Unlimited, Firefly, Serenity, Alias, Hercules, Xena, Suits, etc. her catalog of work is much like the goddess, flawless.

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However, there is one film of her’s that I have yet to watch and have no plans on doing so.

I refuse to see Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife where in the movie Perfection Herself is married to Rock who is questioning their marriage.

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I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief and this is from a guy who makes a living writing speculative fiction.

Chris Rock having doubts about his marriage to Gina Torres?  First of all Negro, who in the Blue Hell is you? Who are you to doubt anything pertaining to Perfection herself?

I mean don’t get it twisted. Your surname may be Rock but you sure as hell ain’t the Rock. You might be a few slots above Flavor Flav if I’m being generous.

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I say this as a gay man. If you are married to the Goddess of Flawless Victory, and you still aren’t happy with life, I don’t know what to tell you. Something is obviously lacking and deficient on your end. I’m saddened to tell you but clearly your life had just been a waste.

Gina serving Tea

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Top Television Shows of 2017

2017 had more than a few surprising gems as far as the small screen goes. While a few excellent shows didn’t make it past the first season, most of them at least gave us a satisfying conclusion.

2017 was bittersweet as we had to say goodbye to some favorites. The usual suspects definitely delivered in their respective seasons. 2017 was a very satisfying year and 2018 is looking to be even better.

As is the tradition from January to December, I compile a list of the best TV shows released throughout the year. One of the main purposes is to promote diverse and progressive works for those searching for quality artistry.

In order for a series to make the list, it must pass my Media Litmus Test.

So without further adieu, on to the countdown.

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Sweet 16: Top Television Series of 2016

It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s where I review the best and brightest that television had to offer in the previous year. If you haven’t already, you should check out my Top Films of 2016. Go ahead, check it out, I’ll wait. No really, I’ll wait.
You back? Awesome.

As is the standard with my movie year-in-review, my television selections have to pass the Upkins Media Litmus Test.

Without further adieu…..

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Gamechanger: Upkins Media Litmus Test

Originally published on Mental Health Matters

They say necessity is the mother of all invention. One thing was certain, I found myself in desperate need a few years back.

As a speculative fiction author and a queer person of color (QPoC), I’m constantly frustrated not only with the lack of diversity, but the nonstop misogyny, racism, and queerphobia that continues to be the status quo in media.

More than that, as someone who suffers from depression, high anxiety and ptsd, I found the subliminal bigotry taking a toll on my mental health. Not only was I having trouble writing and creating, but some days I found myself physically ill and under the weather.

Not one to sit around and do nothing, I decided to take action.

I always appreciated the idea behind the Bechdel test. Designed to call attention to gender equality and combat sexism, the Bechdel test must satisfy three requirements:

  1. The movie has to have at least two women in it
  2. who talk to each other
  3. about something besides a man

As wonderful a tool the Bechdel test is in combatting misogyny, unfortunately, it doesn’t address the racism and homophobia. Similar racial criteria have also come up short for me. This was certainly an opportunity to fill a void for QPoCs such as myself.

The Upkins Media Litmus Test is a set of questions I’ll pose before I even entertain watching a television series, movie, reading a novel, a comic book or any other form of media.

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Diamonds

Okay so here’s another fun post.

One of the things my buddies always tease me about is that even though I’m a gay male, I’m repeatedly told that I have exemplary taste in women, in terms of admiration and being a fanboy.

Case in point my “religion” is the Goddess known as Gina Torres, aka Perfection Herself aka she who is married to Laurence Fishburne, the Emissary of Excellence.

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But Torres isn’t the only boss chick who has warmed my heart. One thing I’ve observed is that the women I admire are like diamonds. Each of them vastly different, but a unique treasure. Some I admire for their beauty (external and internal), their talents, some their minds, some their swagger, you get the idea. The unifying traits among them, they’re each strong, intelligent, beautiful, gifted and powerful.

While there’s no way for me to list every phenomenal woman, the following is a small sampling of the diamonds I treasure.

See what I did there?

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Character Study: Zoe Washburne

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So over on Nashville Geek Life, I’ve launched a new series called Character Study. Essentially I provide an analysis about a character in spec fic and explain what makes them unique and interesting.

With February being Black History Month, I wanted the inaugural post to focus on a character who personifies ‪#‎BlackExcellence‬. A Big Damn Heroine. A cowgirl by the name of Zoe Washburne, portrayed by the Goddess known as Gina Torres, perfection herself.

click here to continue reading….

Xena Was Black

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File this under things you learn every day.

Amina was born around 1533 in Zaria, a province of today’s Nigeria. She was the daughter of Bakwa of Turunku. Their family’s wealth was derived from the trade of leather goods, cloth, kola, salt, horses and imported metals.

When Bakwa died in 1566, the crown of Zazzua passed to Amina’s younger brother, Karama. Their sister, Zaria, fled the region and little is known about her.

Although Bakwa’s reign was known for peace and prosperity, Amina chose to hone her military skills from the warriors of the Zazzau military. As a result, she emerged as leader of the Zazzua cavalry. Many accolades, great wealth, and increased power resulted from her numerous military achievements.

When her brother Karama died after a ten-year rule, Amina had matured into a fierce warrior and had earned the respect of the Zazzau military and she assumed the reign of the kingdom.

Amina led her first military charge a few months after assuming power. For the rest of her 34 year reign, she continued to fight and expand her kingdom to the greatest in history. The objective for initiating so many battles was to make neighbouring rulers her vassal and permit her traders safe passage. In this way, she boosted her kingdom’s wealth and power with gold, slaves, and new crops. Because her people were talented metal workers, Amina introduced metal armor, including iron helmets and chain mail, to her army.

To her credit, she fortified each of her military camps with an earthen wall. Later, towns and villages sprung up within these protective barriers. The walls became known as Amina’s Walls and many of them remain in existence to this day.

According to legend, Amina refused to marry and never bore children. Instead, she took a temporary husband from the legions of vanquished foes after every battle. After spending one night together, she would condemn him death in the morning in order to prevent him from ever speaking about his sexual encounter with the queen.

Legend also decrees she died during a military campaign at Atagara near Bida in Nigeria. Her exploits earned her the moniker Amina, daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man.
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Now if Amina’s story sounds incredibly familiar to many of you, there’s a reason for that. Amina was reportedly used as a model for the fictional heroine Xena: Warrior Princess.

Given the fact that Amina’s origins and exploits reads almost verbatim to Xena’s, I’m inclined to believe it.

You know what this means right? Xena was based on a historical black woman. You know, I used to joke for years that Xena had a bit of a sister in her. Everything from her swagger, to her weakness for the brothers. NOW it makes sense, and I wasn’t projecting that.

The real Xena was black ya’ll. I knew it!

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Now anyone who’s known me for five seconds knows how much I love me some Xena: Warrior Princess. In addition to being a great show, it broke a lot of ground and paved the way for female and queer protagonists. I would even argue that Xena will probably go down as television’s greatest action hero of all time. And whether she’s on Xena, Battlestar Galactica, or Spartacus, folks also know I’m down for all things Lucy (F)Lawless. But damn, we should’ve had a Black Xena.

Imagine if instead of getting cast for the role of Nebula and Cleopatra on Hercules and Xena, the goddess herself, Gina Torres was handed the role of the warrior princess. She would’ve have redefined the term awesome, more than she does now. If that’s even possible or imaginable.

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DAYUM! Now I want a Black Xena, RIGHT NOW! Somebody make that happen! Fuck. I guess I gotta write that story myself.

Further Reading:

http://blackhistorypages.net/pages/amina.php

http://www.answers.com/topic/amina-of-zaria