Monday, April 17, 2017

No More Mr. Nice Guy


Two years ago I was at a function celebrating excellence. I was there with family to support my daughter who had placed third in poetry writing and received an honorable mention in classical music. It was one of those swanky blackish affairs with black suits, fake smiles, and small talk. But I was beaming with pride and making idle chatter to a couple seated at our table when an acquaintance of mine walked up.

We exchanged pleasantries and he acknowledged my wife and other daughters with a smile and nod before turning back to me and asking "All girls? You going to keep trying until you get a boy?" He said it in a jovial way that was meant to be an ice-breaker as much as any off-handed misogynist comment could. Well it was safe to say the ice was broken. His question, as they use to say, took me there. This was my daughter's day, so congratulations should have been in order. She was being honored for excellence. The same daughter who played Varsity tennis, and was lining up auditions for a Viola scholarship. But no congratulations came from him so I planted my feet, squared up, and asked "What do you mean?"

The couple I had been previously talking to looked away. I was mad. Mad at myself more than anything. What signals had I sent to let this man know he could come at me like that?  What had I done to make him think I'd be cool with him devaluing my daughters so casually?

But I already knew the answer. I had heard similar comments before and just smiled and said "I'm good." I had previously allowed these misogynist statements to pass as a segue to more relevant topics like football and politics. And in doing so I failed as a father. And as a man. I have been entrusted with the task of raising black girls, and there is nothing more honorable.  And for those who don't have the opportunity to raise black daughters I feel sorry for you. There is no other segment of the population that is as selfless, as brave, as loyal as black women. And I have a front row seat of seeing how this magic happens and I am in awe. These girls are amazing. And watching them find their way as they realize their magic is like watching miracles happen.

How in grade school they have to develop coping mechanisms as they are challenged early and often with racism and misogyny. How sometimes they come home dejected because a student or teacher tried to knock them down a peg and put them in their place. My wife and I have had to go to their schools, because even though our daughters had the test scores and grades, the Administration didn't think the Advanced program was a good fit for them.

Black Girls are subject to this type of dismissive behavior daily from students and adults. And it wears on them as the defense mechanisms they need to deal with these issues are still developing. They cry or lash out when the burden becomes too heavy. Then the magic starts to happen. They get in high school and start to realize their self-worth. Their value. And teachers and other students aren't ready. Black girls have had to deal with more than their peers and they emerge from that baptism of fire forever changed. They've adapted a toughness. A maturity. A confidence all from a reservoir of strength that most of their peers didn't know existed, and might not find until later in life, if at all. And that's where that magic comes from. They know how the world sees them but they don't care and world has a tough time reconciling that. It's not a coincidence that Black Women are the most educated demographic. The trial and tribulations of their younger years more than prepared them for the challenges of Academia. And that they voted overwhelmingly against Orange Julius in the last presidential election showed a wisdom and foresight that every other segment lacked and is now regretting.
My acquaintance squirmed as I waited for an answer. He squirmed, laughed, and looked away. I didn't laugh. I didn't look away. I thought about how my other daughter got the lead in the school play. She was so proud. And afterwards we went out for ice-cream. And before we crossed the street she grabbed my hand. My heart jumped. This is fatherhood. This is raising black daughters and being a witness to magic. She talked and laughed as she ate her ice-cream. About how she crushed her solo. How there was a casting party this weekend she had to go to. How much she liked math. I just nodded and smiled. The lump in my throat wouldn't allow me to speak. Couldn't even finish my ice-cream. So now I seethed as I looked at this man trying to steal my daughter’s joy. Trying to reduce her value based on an XX chromosome.  My primary responsibility as a father is as a protector. And black girls needed that more than most at a young age because they have to contend with so much. I felt as if I had fallen short of that responsibility.

The table became quiet, so I repeated myself. "I said what do you mean?" He sized me up with a nervous smile and a question in his eye. I've seen that look before. It happens when someone underestimates you and doesn't realize it until it's too late.  He needed an exit to save face. I wouldn't give him one.

Other tables were noticing now. I waited. Finally he said "Didn't mean nuthin by it. Y'all have a nice day." He then turned and left. The other couple avoided eye contact with me as I sat back down. My wife nodded. But as I watched my daughter get lined up on stage I noticed my other daughters were looking at me. They had a mischievous grin. An 'I got your back' grin. It dissipated the tension and made me laugh. After this awards ceremony with over cooked chicken we were getting ice-cream on the way home. And I made a promise to myself that when it came to my daughters I was done being Mr. Nice Guy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Black People Harry Potter Won't Save You


Black People Harry Potter won't save you. But let's start at the beginning: anyone demanding JK Rowling and other popular writers be more inclusive, more diverse in their works needs to step away from the keyboard and chill. I know the layer of obfuscation and anonymity that the Internet allows emboldens keyboard warriors who in turn become intoxicated with virtual muscle when challenging the establishment. Especially when that muscle moves the needle and goes viral like #OscarsSoWhite. But that's what so addictive and dangerous about social media. Being able to say anything to anyone at anytime feeds a cottage industry of trolls who live for it and will tear down everything just because they can. Like the Joker in Batman some men just want to see the world burn.
And while social media activism can provide value like shining a light on racial and gender disparities in Hollywood, people in the movie industry will tell you that one of the biggest things you can do to effect change, is go see movies on opening night. In short: fund the change you want. Besides, all that activism and the publishing industry is still predominately white at every level. And a large percentage of the chatter can best be described as begging for a white savior to, well, you know, come save you. Confused? How is demanding a white writer or company be more diverse in their art to make you feel better about purchasing their wares not begging for a white savior to rescue you? Or,  at the very least, assuage your guilt? Oh, you trippen off my use of the term 'white savior'?  Does 'accountable' work better for you? Regardless, please explain how you can demand that the establishment address your pleas while you offer nothing in return is not like the Tarzan trope?  I'll wait...
Still trippen? The Tarzan thing hurt your feelings? You think I'm hating on your boo JK Rowling? I'm not. JK Rowling is a great writer and, from what I've read about her, an even better person (she is also hilarious on twitter). So don't get it twisted. This is about readers screaming for diversity while ignoring diverse books because they're not big enough or part of the establishment, ie JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins. And I know the argument, that it's a waste of energy to support and make demands of said writers because they aren't as big as JK Rowling, so they don't have the same social and cultural impact. That thinking ensures that those writers won't ever be as big or have the cultural impact of a JK Rowling. It's nonsensical circular logic.
Oh wait, the problem is you're not familiar with any diverse fantasy or science fiction books? I got you! Go to Twitter and search hashtags #WeNeedDiverseBooks or #DiverseBookBloggers. Those hashtags optimize social media activism by doing two things: increasing visibility on the disparity of diverse books in the publishing industry and promoting diverse talent. You're welcome. And for the record, no one is above criticism, least of all JK. But my biggest beefs with her books - next to that troubling going back in time sequence - was why Harry and crew were never able to morph into animals like their parents. His mother and father could turn into a deer/doe and even Pettigrew could turn into a rat. Which brings to mind another inconsistency: why Pettigrew never showed up on the map? I mean this dude is in the house, in the school, but nada? And yeah it would be cool if Harry had an afro and Hermione afro puffs.

Also the hashtag #IfHogwartsWasAnHBCU was why the Internet was invented. But for the most part I'm good with the books. What I'm not good with is people constantly chirping and making demands of big time authors for more diversity while they look past less established writers who publish diverse books. And there is something else: a weird conflicting dichotomy in the black community where people will enthusiastically support black writers on social media but won't purchase their work because they consider it substandard. And if the Potter books are the bar which black folks require black authors to clear, why don't they have the same requirement for white authors? Am I bitter? I hope not. But I do get frustrated at times when I see convos about there not being enough books with diverse protagonist or black girl heroes. I feel like Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter watching those convos.


I'm sure that this is how a lot of less established writers feel. And for writers who do write diverse books, the equation is simple: if you want diverse books then vote with your dollars. They carry more weight than your tweets. But me and my writer friends are in this for the long haul. So when y'all get tired of waiting for that Harry Potter train to come save you and whisk you away to a diverse Hogwarts where the sorting hat is your grandma's church hat and they serve shrimp and grits for breakfast, we'll be here. Diverse books and all... 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Preview of Shots Fired



We live in troubled times. A spoiled man child has been coronated to the most powerful position in the world. Special interest owns our politicians who in turn give scant attention to the people they are elected to serve. Our planet is warming at an alarming rate, our urban schools are suffering from neglect and profiteering and our infrastructure is crumbling. And the people are left voiceless as they see no escape and no help coming. But the one thing that make this assault on our sensibilities bearable is art. Art is our friend, our lover, our confidante, our teacher. It raises our consciousness, promotes community, and inspires us. In short, it makes us more human. Enter Shots Fired.

“Shots Fired” is the latest joint from Executive Producers and Writers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood. It deconstructs two separate police shootings of unarmed kids, one white one black. Already tense racial tensions are further inflamed after the mayor calls in the DOJ to investigate the shooting of the white kid.  I had the pleasure of screening the first episode and I wasnt ready. Watching it I felt the same rage and helplessness I felt after the deaths of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Sandra Bland. So many over the years its hard not to become desensitized. And if the first episode is any indication “Shots Fired” honors our fallen brothers and sisters. It also shows the insular and circle-the-wagon culture of the police. The striking visuals and reality of a mostly white police force policing mostly black bodies. The distrust and fear of communities of color against those chosen to protect them. A hint of the prison industrial complex that needs and more and more black bodies to maintain profitably. “Shots Fired” handles all this deftly while also managing to differentiate between being anti-police and anti-justice. Thanks to great writing and incredible performances “Shots Fired” delivers.

There are so many standout performances to choose from, lets start with Aisha Hinds’ dominating performance as Rev. Janae James. The vulnerability and strength of Jill Hennessys Alicia Carr. Mack Wilds brilliance in playing a frustrated and abandoned officer trying to balance two worlds and left with no home or community. But this series will rise or fall on the performances of Sanaa Lathan and
Stephan James. Its in good hands. Sanaa plays a damaged and at times self-destructive Investigator who is as beautiful as she is intimidating. And Sanaa is at the top of her game. She looks at home throwing down shots with the good ol' boys, showing a tenderness as a mother that grounds her, and displaying a sexual confidence and swagger that makes me blush. Stephan plays opposite her and anyone who has played sports is already familiar with him. Hes the Quarterback of the football team who got a 36 on his ACTs. The arrogant overachiever who thinks hes the smartest guy in the room. Stephan nails it by showing some self-doubt and humbleness in his self-reflective moments that hints at his character’s arc. And when they’re on screen together playing mental chess games with each other they are magnetic and it is must-see TV.

“Shots Fired” is the latest piece in a new tapestry that challenges the status quo and shows an imperfect nation falling short of its promises to its more vulnerable citizens. Mr. Bythewood had the TALK with his grandfather and remnants of that talk is seen when Detective Ashe(Sanaa Lathan) is stopped by the police. Her badge and status dont protect her. There are levels to privilege and the police that stopped Det. Ashe let her know she is confused if she thinks otherwise. Thats the talk every black parent has with their child. Mrs. Bythewood who is the mother of two sons leaves her imprint as well. You feel it as Shameeka gazes at her son while he studies or walks him to the bus stop demanding a kiss. Her life is controlled by a fear that is every parents worst nightmare. And Mrs. Bythewood’s involvement in this project should come as no surprise. Black women are leading the way in todays movement be it Michelle Alexanders The New Jim Crow, Ava DuVernays 13TH, and now “Shots Fired”. But if you have been paying attention (see the demographic breakdown of the latest presidential election) black women ‘showing the way’ is nothing new. And that a lot of black womens contributions may have been invisible or gone unnoticed during the Civil Rights movement says more about who is writing the history books than anything else.  But make no mistake, the movement of today is being led by black women on all fronts and they are no longer hidden figures. Do yourself a favor, watch “Shots Fired” this spring and join the movement.  Stay Woke.

 You can catch “Shots Fired” starting March 22nd on your local Fox Station.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Divese to Whom?


Diverse to Whom?

Scroll to bottom for links to free ebook and chat details

For those who don't know I've self-published a funny, quirky, YA science fiction novel entitled Sins Of The Father that details the exploits of three black sisters with superpowers. And yes, it's considered diverse.  But diverse to whom and why? The book is definitely not diverse to me as the three protagonist are remarkably similar to my daughters. So who would consider it diverse? And why label it as such? The story is, in essence, the classic hero journey that is universal and relatable to everyone so why the tags? Well, the publishing industry for one would consider my book diverse.  And their word matters more than most. And they do this out of laziness and or ignorance by assuming any book that contains a 'black' protagonist is a black book and must be marketed as such. Most authors would consider this the soft racism of low expectations but is being labeled diverse a bad thing? Yes, and no.  When you identify a book as black, or gay, or, other you are doing two things; you are letting a segment of the populace know that there are stories and characters out there that they can identify with. Stories told from a POV that is largely ignored by publishing, TV, movies.  But you might also be limiting the reach and scope of that book.  Once you identify a book as other you lower the ceiling for it’s earning potential and limit its audience.  This is something that black movies struggle with. 
They realize the allure Morris Chestnut or Michael Ealy has to a specific demographic but they also don't want their movies to be pigeon holed as being “black”.   The Sony Hack spoke volumes of what movie executives thought about movies with a black lead and it was not flattering. But I am self-published so how do I stand out and make myself be seen? For starters, I am not ashamed to say that you will frequently see me tweeting my book out with the #diverse and #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtags. As a self-published author I have to leverage as many social media tools I can avail myself to and hashtags do provide visibility. But I also want as many people to read my books as read JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  I'm not sure how realistic that is if they are labeled as black.  But I also realize that JK Rowling had her challenges as well. The woman is an industry now but she struggled financially and chose to use her initials on the book because it was assumed fantasy readers would not be as enthused to buy books from a female author.  Yes, the struggle is real and all around us.  But are my books really diverse? Shonda Rhimes may have stated best what diversity is or isn't. 

I really hate the word 'diversity.' It suggests something...other. As if it is something special, or rare. Diversity! As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: normalizing. I'm normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50 percent of the population. Which means it ain't out of the ordinary?"

All this is true but how does it help me? I have books to sell in a landscape that gets more competitive everyday. So yes I'm going to keep using hashtags to bring visibility to myself and my books  because black, white or other,  if people don't know about them they can't read them. And whether we agree the diversity tag is a good thing or not we can agree that it would be nice if someone other than a straight white male was allowed to save the planet from an alien invasion or a mad dictator with a nuclear bomb.  Preferably someone who looks like my daughters...







Link to "Sins Of The Father" download: https://www.smashwords.com/cart/review/8925799
Coupon Code for free download: GH22N

Chat Schedule: Aug 9th 3pm CST
Hashtag: #BlerdBookClub
Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z_VYF0oHy0

Monday, March 30, 2015

#BloggerChallenge

So my tweeps Cairo and Madhuri hit me with this #BloggerChallenge.  The specifics of the challenge are I am supposed to detail seven facts about my writing. OK challenge received and challenge accepted. And you can check out Cairo's response here and Madhuri's here


1)  I came to writing late. I am actually one of the few writers who just one day made up my mind to be writer. Now I've always had a voracious appetite for reading and I've always dreamed of being a writer but it wasn't until the advent of self-publishing that I really saw it as an option.

2)  I love writing fight scenes.  I've wrestled, boxed, and participated in Karate for years but now that I live a sedentary life style the only outlet for that knowledge is choreographing fight scenes and I love it!




3)  The psychology of what makes a super-hero tick has always intrigued. What internally would make a person risk their life to fight crime? What have they to gain? That is a question I explore in my books. My goal is to delve further into this as I focus on three common tropes.  a) The thrill seeker pretending to be an altruist. b) The reluctant hero who must be dragged kicking and screaming ever step of the way. c) And the 'with great power comes great responsibility' hero.



4)   Internal strife/character development. All of us are flawed. Not  tragically flawed in the Shakespearean sense but rather in a way that inhibits us from achieving/accomplishing great things on a consistent basis. And part of the hero journey is recognizing and conquering these flaws before defeating the bad guy.

5)   Ug! Romance! Teenage angst! Did I get it write? These are my biggest insecurities probably because they require the most introspection. My hope, my dream is to capture both like they were captured in the movies The Spectacular Now and The Breakfast Club.



6)  We not at seven yet!  Damn! Ok number six, hmm. I know this is superficial but I really like the response from people when I tell them I am a published novelist. I know, I know, I am not defined by one thing but I have always had a special place in my heart for storytellers ie Toni Morrison, JK Rowling, John Steinbeck. The ability to move people with the strength of one's pen is my definition of an artist. These people are my celebrities, my rock stars. And me crafting my own stories grants me a tenuous relationship with these idols.

7)  And last but not least.... drum roll... Writing allows me to explore themes that interest me.  Themes like the intersection of race, class, privilege and identity in today's rapidly changing world. Touching on these themes challenges me to articulate a reasoned compassionate message that I hope resonates with my reader.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nia Malika Dixon

 Live #AskNia chat with Nia Malika Dixon Jan 19, 7pm CST

Thelonious Legend Blogspot is proud to host writer, director, and producer Nia Malika Dixon for a live chat via #AskNia on Monday January 19 at 7pm CST. Nia's unconventional journey from elementary school teacher to award-winning director is truly impressive. This Baltimore girl who has worked with such luminaries as Catherine Hardwicke of Thirteen and Twilight fame, is ready to blaze her own trail. We will discuss her journey thus far, and her future plans, including her highly anticipated original series, Vengenful.  She will be taking questions live from Twitter so make sure you follow her: @NiaMalikaDixon, and tune in! Also for all young, Black actresses, Nia has launched an original audition contest! As a way to connect the audience with the series, Vengeful is allowing them to help choose their lead actress! Subscribe to her YouTube channel: YouTube.com/NiaMalikaDixon, and check out the video for more information. Do not let this opportunity pass you by! If you're in the Los Angeles area on March 15th, you have to purchase your tickets for her #MissingBlackWomanSyndrome screening event. You will get to see her short films and web series, and learn more about the latest, Vengeful. There will be a Q&A with select cast and crew from all her projects, including Vengeful, and a performance by the talented singer, Abby Hankins! For more information on how to get tickets, follow Nia on Twitter.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Diverse to whom?


Diverse to Whom?

Scroll to bottom for links to free ebook and chat details

For those who don't know I've self-published a funny, quirky, YA science fiction novel entitled Sins Of The Father that details the exploits of three black sisters with superpowers. And yes, it's considered diverse.  But diverse to whom and why? The book is definitely not diverse to me as the three protagonist are remarkably similar to my daughters. So who would consider it diverse? And why label it as such? The story is, in essence, the classic hero journey that is universal and relatable to everyone so why the tags? Well, the publishing industry for one would consider my book diverse.  And their word matters more than most. And they do this out of laziness and or ignorance by assuming any book that contains a 'black' protagonist is a black book and must be marketed as such. Most authors would consider this the soft racism of low expectations but is being labeled diverse a bad thing? Yes, and no.  When you identify a book as black, or gay, or, other you are doing two things; you are letting a segment of the populace know that there are stories and characters out there that they can identify with. Stories told from a POV that is largely ignored by publishing, TV, movies.  But you might also be limiting the reach and scope of that book.  Once you identify a book as other you lower the ceiling for it’s earning potential and limit its audience.  This is something that black movies struggle with. 
They realize the allure Morris Chestnut or Michael Ealy has to a specific demographic but they also don't want their movies to be pigeon holed as being “black”.   The Sony Hack spoke volumes of what movie executives thought about movies with a black lead and it was not flattering. But I am self-published so how do I stand out and make myself be seen? For starters, I am not ashamed to say that you will frequently see me tweeting my book out with the #diverse and #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtags. As a self-published author I have to leverage as many social media tools I can avail myself to and hashtags do provide visibility. But I also want as many people to read my books as read JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  I'm not sure how realistic that is if they are labeled as black.  But I also realize that JK Rowling had her challenges as well. The woman is an industry now but she struggled financially and chose to use her initials on the book because it was assumed fantasy readers would not be as enthused to buy books from a female author.  Yes, the struggle is real and all around us.  But are my books really diverse? Shonda Rhimes may have stated best what diversity is or isn't. 

I really hate the word 'diversity.' It suggests something...other. As if it is something special, or rare. Diversity! As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: normalizing. I'm normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50 percent of the population. Which means it ain't out of the ordinary?"

All this is true but how does it help me? I have books to sell in a landscape that gets more competitive everyday. So yes I'm going to keep using hashtags to bring visibility to myself and my books  because black, white or other,  if people don't know about them they can't read them. And whether we agree the diversity tag is a good thing or not we can agree that it would be nice if someone other than a straight white male was allowed to save the planet from an alien invasion or a mad dictator with a nuclear bomb.  Preferably someone who looks like my daughters...







Link  of Sins Of The Father: https://www.smashwords.com/cart/review/8925799
Coupon Code for free download: GH22N

Chat Schedule: Aug 9th 3pm CST
Hashtag: #BlerdBookClub
Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z_VYF0oHy0

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Diversity, Identity, and Self-Worth

Why do people make such a big deal about diversity? Why is it so important that a protagonist in a movie or novel be black?  What does it matter if there are no Native-American themed dramas on television? I would argue that there is a strong correlation between diverse content, identity, and self-worth. What I mean is that it is important...no, it is imperative for children of color to see and read about strong characters that they can identity with. Characters that give them a sense of identity, expand their dreams, and increase their self-worth. What do I have to bolster my argument?  How about a few images...
I can't think of an image more powerful than the first family on this night, Election Day 2008. Close your eyes and imagine this image through the eyes of a child of color. Keep your eyes closed and imagine the possibilities that same child of color is dreaming about after seeing this. It was an incredible moment and will be forever etched in my memory.

Space. The final frontier. My wife is an AKA and has, on occasion, reminded me, "We got sorors in outer space!" Can't argue with that. This picture expands the dreams of millions of young girls just as much as it creates a pathway to make those dreams a reality. What American is not proud of the accomplishments of Mae Jemison? Her journey to the stars was a historical achievement, but her journey to the hearts and minds of children is what their dreams are made of.


Is there another image that contains as much power, grace, and beauty as this one? Don't discourage children with your perceived limitations because YOU lack imagination. Challenge them. Thanks to Misty Copeland, how many girls want to be ballerinas today? I don't have an answer for that, but I bet it's more than before Ms. Copeland arrived on the scene. Ya' feel me?

And what about novels? If these images can have a positive affect, would not words be just as, if not more, powerful? And if novels are about expanding the dreams of our children, then let them dream of being heroes. But where are our heroes? Where is our black Harry Potter? Our Latina Katniss? If, like my wife says, "We got sorors in outer space!" then can we not have minority heroes between pages? Well, we can and we do but you won't find these books being produced by traditional publishing houses. You have to look at self-published titles for diverse books that mirror the real world. And if you want more than "Fund the change you want to see" stop demanding that authors like JK Rowling include more diverse characters in their works. It's not fair to Mrs. Rowling or conducive to the creative process. And if, like me, you believe diversity, identity and self-worth are related and matter then show the courage of your convictions and let us hear your voice. What say you?





Friday, October 24, 2014

Why Diversity Matters to Me


Why does Diversity matter to you? Oh, my bad. We should probably agree on what the term 'diversity' means first. The dictionary defines diversity as The state or fact being; diverse; different; unlikeness..., Uh yeah sure. You know what? I'm going go with my boy Buggin' Out from Do The Right Thing who immortalized the definition of diversity with one question: How come ya ain't got no brothas up on the wall?
That's it.  That's diversity. Now let us move forward. So again why does diversity matter to you? Tough question? OK, I'll start... Diversity matters to me because I'm inundated with images of other in TV and Film. Diversity matters to me because because my image, my story, my American Experience is important. It deserves to be heard, to be seen.  Diversity matters to me because my peers know nothing about me outside the office. Oh they know the caricatures because that is all they have been exposed to but they do not know me.  Which is sad because I know them, and have known them all my life. I'm familiar with their favorite movies, books, music. Not to say they are a monolithic group but I'm even familiar with the diversity within their universe.  But when I bring up my favorite movies, books, music they're surprised. They have never heard of the movie Cooley High or Paul Beatty's brilliant Tuff, and since Talib Kweil get's no radio play he is not even in their orbit.

Me? I'm not so surprised by this.  But more important than anything Diversity matters to me because of my daughters. They are intelligent, beautiful, athletic, funny, and... black. When was the last movie that represented that? I'll help you... Love And Basketball. And I'm mad.  I'm mad because I can't count the number of movies I've seen before I got to experience it.
That locker scene in Love and Basketball when the young ladies are talking about their futures, their love for basketball, their dreams, had never ever been seen on film. Ever. A group of woman having an honest discussion about their limited future prospects and it had nothing to do with men! That is one of my favorite scenes of all time. It is in a word poignant. And the world had to wait for Gina Bythewood to bring it to life. And you know what? Mrs. Bythewood latest film Beyond The Lights  promises more of the same.  That is to tell a story from a diverse perspective that can resonant with the public at large but have a special relationship with, as the dictionary would say a, different segment of the population. And I will be in line on opening night because Diversity matters to me.  But you never answered the question; Why does diversity matter to you?


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Black Speculative Fiction Month


In case you didn't know it's Black Speculative Fiction Month (#BSFM)! Yay! And if you want to find out more about Black Speculative Fiction check out our friends at Twin Ninja Book Reviews or Milton Davis over at the State of Black Science Fiction  And Milton is always looking for book releases, interviews, conventions, etc. so hit him up on facebook if you have ideas, suggestions, inquiries

As for me I've been reading the excellent web comic series A Softer Apocalypse written by Greg Stolze and drawn by Nick Butler of Turtle Dust Media  And if you
are into Black Speculative Fiction or want an example of Black Speculative Fiction you need to peep this joint now. And don't worry about paying for it because it's free. The comic is set in a not too distant future where everything that is wrong today has gotten dramatically worse. And it's not so much a post apocalyptic dystopian piece as a suburban horror story with climate change instead of vampires, and economic downturn instead of werewolves, and years of bio terror instead of ghost. But the coolest part? If you are desperate, driven, or crazy you can buy super-powers on the black market. But be careful because their is a 50-50 chance that the process to procure these powers can kill you! Greg's and Nick's links are below along with the link to the web comic. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

Softer Apocalypse: Link

Nick's Links:
Download a copy of Nick's head trip here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6606138/nickButlerHeadTrip.pdf

Greg's Links
Website: http://www.gregstolze.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GregStolze