Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Type of Women I like

Let's cut to the chase, a post centered on "The Type Of Women I Like" is inherently sexist. To categorize, objectify, and compare women as if they were cars says more about the individuals doing the categorization then the women they seek to objectify.  But stay with me for a minute and let me share something with you. The other day my daughters had a tennis tournament and before I hustled them into the car I asked one of them why she was wearing her hair like she was.  Her hair could best be described as twists with a rubber band placed asymmetrically on one side.  She confidently stated, "Because I like it." For some reason that caught me off guard. I shrugged it off but as I drove to the tennis courts I kept thinking about what she said. "Because I like it." And I couldn't stop smiling.  What my daughter thought about her hair was immeasurably more important than what I thought about it. And as I watched her compete throughout the day her hairstyle grew on me. I now "liked" it. But I "liked" her attitude more. She didn't need me, her sisters, or anyone else to co-sign on something that she was already convinced of. She was not going to let someone dictate to her what was acceptable or beautiful and what wasn't. And as a parent I could not have been more proud. And I thought of women who I think are beautiful and their individual styles. Julianne Margulies whose controlled passion and quite confidence on The Good Wife is alluring. Jill Scott whose self pride and ebullient personality is infectious.  Christina Hendricks who flaunts her body and attitude with a SWAG that is admirable. Serena Williams who is built like an Amazon Warrior and has a competitive fire that has inspired a generation of girls and women. The regal and incomparable beauty of Lupita Nyong'o that is breathtaking. And you know what is especially enticing about these women?  They all have displayed an independence, a self-love, and a willingness to challenge long held beliefs of beauty that make them even more attractive. Also these women couldn't give two shakes about "The Type Of Women I Like", and you shouldn't either...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview with Independent Filmmaker Dan Mirvish

Dan Mirvish is a man of many talents. He is a director, screenwriter, producer, political speech writer, and some would say political provocateur.  His most recent film Between Us starring Julia Stiles  and Taye Diggs, played in 23 festivals in 7 countries and got 50+ city theatrical release and is currently available on Showtime, Starz, and Netflix.  In this humorous interview Dan discusses the challenges of shooting independent films, the inspiration for Slamdance, the nuances of sound editing, and the motivation for creating Martin Eisenstadt among other topics.  Please give it a listen.

Voice Interview  - Link
His Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dmirvish?fref=ts
His youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/DanMirvish
Latest Movie - Between Us
NY Times article - Link
IMDB - Link
Martin Eisenstadt book - Link
Martin Eisenstadt youtube - Link
Martin Eisenstadt twitter - https://twitter.com/MartyEisenstadt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are Blerds Black Enough?

I remember a discussion I had awhile back with my co-workers. I was the only person of color involved in the discussion and at one point one of my co-workers looked at me and said "But you are not really black though."  He said it as a back-handed compliment but everyone else including me froze. I let him know I wasn't happy with nor did I appreciate the comment.  He apologized profusely and stated he didn't mean anything by it.  But I knew intimately what he meant. I was not authentic. I wasn't really black or black enough. And it wasn't the first time I heard it. I grew up in a poor neighborhood and had always been bookish which was not a recipe for being cool or popular. On more than a few occasions I had been accused of trying to be white sometimes jokingly sometimes not just for reading books. My two closest friends growing up wanted to be football players and both did end up playing football in college. In a culture where athleticism is at times more valued than academics they were infinitely more cooler and popular than me. I didn't start getting props until I started boxing and wrestling in middle-school. I was above average at boxing but I excelled at wrestling. And now I had an identity that was separate and at odds with my bookish or nerdy identity. I was an athlete and more specific I was a wrestler. Wrestling and boxing are physically demanding sports and anyone who competes in them must be tough so by definition I couldn't be a nerd right? I struggled with this as I searched for a tag or identity that defined me completely.  Something that said yes I'm black, and I'm smart, and athletic, and I love books. But there were no labels that I was aware of that encapsulated all of that. So I became different things to different people at different times. Sometimes a nerd, sometimes an oreo, sometimes an academic, sometimes a jock. And despite my new found popularity due to my athletic achievements I was still teased at times which led to some fighting. I equipped my self fairly well in these fights (I had a quick right hand and a strong wrestling pedigree) but it bothered me that some of my peers still doubted my authenticity. That by some mythical cultural barometer of blackness I was less in their eyes. Now no-one escapes childhood with out some trauma and I don't want to paint the picture that I was a social outcast who struggled to connect.  I was far from that.  I was popular with a diverse group of friends and gave as good as I got in the teasing department. But I still struggled with my racial identity and wondered if I really was less black. It took me a few years before I realized, I could be smart, bookish, nerdy, popular, athletic and it did not take away from my blackness. I defined my identity. Those phony arbitrators defining blackness had no more license to do so then my grade school peers.  I could be nerdy, or rather blerdy and proud without sacrificing one iota of my cultural identity or racial pride. I still feel the same way today. And if anyone wants to challenge my authenticity or question if I'm black enough I still have a quick right hand.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interview with Kimberlee Renee of @reelsistas on Women of Color in Film Part II

This is the second part of our interview with Kimberlee Renee

Voice Interview -  Link
Her website - www.reelsistas.com
Her podcast: Cinema in Noir - www.blogtalkradio.com/cinemainnoir
Her Twitter - @reelsistas
An organization advocating for women of color in film - http://www.reelsisters.com
Twitter account advocating for women of color in film and stage - https://twitter.com/BiatchPack
 Part II
Thelonious: Can you name  one or two women of color in the film industry that are listeners should be aware of?
Kimberly: Christine Swanson who produced and directed All About You, Tina Mabry,who did Mississippi Damned, Dee Rees who directed and wrote Pariah and of course Ava DuVernay who founded the firm AFFRM 
Did I Will Follow, Middle Of Nowhere and is currently working on Selma
Thelonious: And I am a big fan of Ava Duvernay as well and as fan of film and I remember the 1st time I saw Love Jones and I thought this was going to open up the door and sadly that didn't happen. Did you see a film with a primary person of color that you thought this is going to open up the floodgates but it didn't happen or maybe it did?
Kimberly: There are a lot of films out there that have been successful and every-time there is a black film being made it's suppose to be the the one we pin all our hopes on. When Red Tails, this was going to be the black film that opened it all up.  Last year we 12 Years A Slave and The Butler and they were going go be the films that opened it up and changed everything. I think the goal should be to have many films, vary diverse films. Last year was a very good year, we had rom-coms, we had political dramas, we had a lot people of color in film in various roles, and I think that is the goal, to have varied images and not just one. And we can't pin all of our hopes on one film or one film-maker it has to be a collective
Thelonious: That brings up a good point.  Me as a fan and as a ticket buyer I believe we do have a tendency to pin all of our hopes on one film or one star and when it doesn't immediately happen after that I think there is a collective frustration so your point of diversifying our interest so it's not all romance coms is valid.  Marvel is doing alot of good things so getting some black super-heroes will provide some diversity and Ava Duvarnay is working on Selma and diversification always works. And I agree we need to get away from pinning all our hopes on one film or one project because it's not fair to the film-maker and it leads to unrealistic expectations and it's not fair to the audience.
Kimberly: There are a lot of film-makers who make bad movies or movies that are not well received but if black film maker does it, it's marked as the end of their career or the end of black film and it's proof that black people don't pay to see black films and it's not that deep it's not like that at all.  When Adam Sandler makes a movie that flops he is given an opportunity to make another film
Thelonious: that's a good point because from a box office standpoint you can be a white actor and have multiple losses like for example Johnny Depp.  I can't remember the last time Johnny had a perceived success at the box office but he still commands leading man which I think is in the neighborhood of $20 million. I know a lot of black actors would die for that.  There seems to be higher bar for people of color to clear and they seem to need a longer record of success to get more access.
Kimberly: Right Denzel can command $20 million and Will Smith but they are the only two
Thelonios: Right. It's Will Smith and Denzel Washington but after that you have a bunch of others. Fine actors but it doesn't seem like the people who write checks have a lot of confidence they can open up movies.
Kimberly: Exactly
Thelonious: Going forward what is your long term vision, goals, for your organization?  Do you any type of metrics that you would like to hit or establish something you can we knock this off as a success and move on to the next hurdle or is it more a daily grind just take it as it comes?
Kimberly:  For me it's a daily grind just take it as it comes. I want to expand the blog to feature more women behind the camera as well as in front. I want to inspire people and maybe feature more women who aspire to working behind the scenes and in front of the camera and maybe connect them to people who can make that happen.  That's for the blog. As far as Cinema In Noir I learned so much from my two co-host over the last two years doing this show and I would like to continue to learn and continue to be a voice for women of color in film.
Thelonious: Before we close would you like to give our listeners any links that they can find you at?
Kimberly: http://www.reelsistas.com/ the Blog is Cinema In Noir and I'm on twitter and facebook.
Thelonious: Thanks joining us today Renee. I would like to do a follow up meeting maybe in six months to see what type of progress we have made. Maybe we can have some other people join us as well.  I know Selma i going to be out by then and there are a couple other movies queued up that I would love to get your take on.
Kimberly:Sounds great

Monday, July 21, 2014

Interview with Deron Bennett of ANDWORLD Design

Curious about diversity in Comics? Deron Bennett provides insight in this as well as other topics in this informative interview

Voice Interview -  Link
ANDWORLD Design Website - www.andworlddesign.com
His Twitter - https://twitter.com/deronbennett
His Facebook - www.facebook.com/quixotecomic
His Tumbler - deronbennett.tumblr.com 
Purchase Deron's comics here - Link 
Did Lettering for Legend of Mantamji - Link

Thelonious: Hey, everyone! Thanks for joining Thelonious Legend blogspot. Today we have a special guest. We have Deron Bennett of ANDWorld Design. Deron could you tell us a little bit about what you do for AndWorld Design? 
Deron: Basically it's a lettering studio that I run. I perform various letterings that we use for different comic book companies, including DC, Boom, Slash, Archie and a couple independents as well. Lettering, for those of you that don't know, is where printing of any of the script text, dialogue, sound effects and things of that nature that go into a comic book. Essentially without a letterer you would not be able to read comics. So that's my job and responsibility there. I also do design work as well, creating logos and advertisements for the company. 
Thelonious: I guess it would be safe to say you have a creative background?
Deron: Yes. Originally I went to school at Savannah College of Art Design. Initially, I was trying to get into the business as a pencil-er. But I fell in love with lettering, early on in my career, got into font design and all the creative processes going into lettering. I also have taught graphic design, because they're so similar. The mediums are so similar. Essentially when you’re lettering its sort of thinking from a graphic design standpoint. All the sound effects and stuff have the same similarities that you’re trying to get across when you're doing graphic design. All the conventions you use in comics as well. It's a creative medium I've got my background in, but I also do graphic design as well and website design, clothing. Due to what I've done in comics.
Thelonious: Why did you choose the medium of comics to display your talents?
Deron: Growing up I've always loved drawing. That was my big thing. Everybody was like "Oh you're gonna be an artist, you're gonna be this, you're gonna be that." I wanted to do animation, initially and be the next Walt Disney. After a while, when I was in middle school. I got into writing a lot. I wanted to write. Seeing a medium that combined the two so well and so perfectly. Where I can tell a story through my illustrations. It just dawned on me that this is where I wanted to be. This is what I wanted to do. And I've been loving it ever since. 
Thelonious: You're a comic book fan?
Deron: Yes
Thelonious: Who was the first hero that you identified with that every week and every month you needed change to go to the store and buy that comic book?
Deron: Milestone comics was my first passion for actual comic books. Before that I was really into Calvin and Hobbes. comic strips and things. I would read Heathcliff, and all those newspaper comics. I liked the funnies. That sort of transitioned when somebody brought to my attention Milestone comics. Picking up Static, picking up Hardware and all the rest of the titles. Icon. I had a whole run of each of the titles. 
Thelonious: I had the whole run too. And for those of you who know Milestone comics was the spinoff of the DC comic. Basically it was based out of North Dakota, which was a city. You just had this rich rich characters. From this universe. For whatever reason it never quite took off. And the most popular character was Static Shock. Milestone, unfortunately was discontinued. But if you don't know about Milestone, you should do some research on it. I think you'll be pleased. The characters were great! They were three dimensional, diverse. You had gay characters, you had black characters and Asian characters. A lot of the subject matter that you see today Milestone was way ahead of the time. Just thought I'd throw that in there. So now what current projects are you working on that we should be aware of? 
Deron: Right now I am working on a couple of different books that I'm lettering, I'm doing a Flash Broadcast with Boom and Archie. I am also doing Thomas Elsop, and that's a great supernatural thriller that's also from Boom Comics. I'm doing a few DC projects. I do a lot of their digital work. I do He-Man and the masses of the universe. So I'm involved in a few different things that I've been working on. Amazon has their imprint, their Amazon publishing 
imprint. Jet City that they've just started and I do a lot of work with them. We've put out recently and a couple of things from George RR Martin. And a lot of different things that are coming up. A lot of smaller publishers that are doing bigger things. And I'm really excited to be apart of it. I've also finished up my own comic that I've put out there. You know, just me doing the whole thing from start to finish. As far as producing it I've hired an artist Dan Mora, who just signed on with me to do text re-publishing.  Paul Little to do the coloring and Arty Randolph to do the cover for that issue. An amazing team I got to work with and that got to bring my story to life. It's out on Comixology right now. I'm doing it digitally, and there are also prints available through my website and through the Facebook site. 
Thelonious: We're actually gonna post all your links. So all you comic book fans, and especially for all you Games of Thrones fans. Anybody who's associated with the Game of Thrones please go to the links after the interview and show Mr. Bennett some love. We need to have his vision out there. We talk about diversity in comic book characters and diversity in film and diversity in literature. This is your chance to play a part. Wool was basically a self-published series of short stories. Wasn't it Mr.Venice? 
Deron: Wool was actually a written novel by turned into a graphic novel by Hugh Howey. I'm not sure if it was part of an anthology. I know the comic was done by a single creative team. So it wasn't a multiple creative team process there. But it's the terrific story that people should be getting into because it's a lot of thought provoking things going along in there that really resonate. 
Thelonious: Right, and if you're a fan of dystopian literature and if you're a self-published writer, Hugh Howey is somebody you need to be familiar with. He basically published all his stuff on his own and put it out for free. He just did a whole paradigm shift on how to sell and market. Totally different from some New York Publishing Houses. And if you're with him, I think that's a big plus and again I urge anyone to check out Hugh Howey, to check out Mr. Bennett and find what projects they're associated in, because Hugh Howy pretty much defined self publishing for the next decade and It's just so exciting you're associated with them. 
Deron: Thank you, thank you. Yes, that's definitely something people should be checking out because it changed the way, we can go about self-publishing. Printing out our own works. It's really a fun way of coming about things. I'm glad you're giving him that credit, because it's definitely something to check out. 
Thelonious: And this has been a special week for comic book fans. Especially for women and minorities. Actually I would say for everybody, because anytime you introduce diversity it's a benefit for everybody. But unfortunately there has been some negativity associated with the changing of the Hammer, if you will from a man to a woman. And also the changing of Captain America being now Sam Wilson, who was formerly the Falcon. What are you're feelings about that, that you would like to share with the listeners?
Deron: Whenever there's a big change I think people sort of react.People want to fight change at any point and in any kind of a industry. Change can be something that people are against, initially. Because with change we introduce new characters who people can come to love and want to follow these characters in their own way. People who are rebelling against this change of Thor, being a woman. I understand where they're coming from, to the women who just want a new female character or other male counterparts, saying just can we get a new character. But it's been done before. Thor's been changed before. Thor's been a frog. I mean, it's really crazy the backlash against this form of fiction. Basically, you can do anything in a comic and why turn your head when something good and positive can come out of it. 
Thelonious: This whole discussion reminds me of what happened on Fox News, a few months back, where somebody said that Santa Clause was black, and Fox News actually had a panel arguing for the record Santa Clause is white. And I was like for the record Santa Clause is fiction. 
Deron: Yes, exactly. People outrage against the craziest things. They hold on to these fictional characters like they're real. Sometimes you just have to let go a little bit. It's a fun medium, that's why I got into it. The creativity, all the great things that come out of it. You know just to have fun with it. Enjoy new characters with new story lines. We've been enjoying the old Thor for years. We've been enjoying the old Cap for years. Let's see what happens with this new run.
Thelonious: And nothing stays the same. 
Duran: Right
Thelonious: And I think a lot of the push back is that they're more than characters. They're symbols right. So, Captain America is blonde hair blue eyes all American. You know honor. A lot of people that identify with him, you take that away from them and they rail against it.
Deron: Yes
Thelonious: And some of the anger and confusion might be justified. But as far as criticism and the hate that I've been hearing and seeing. I think that goes against everything comic books are about.. 
Deron: Yes, comic books should embrace diversity and I think that it's something people have been asking for, but once it happens people kind of start to panic.  You know "What's going on? They're changing!" Well you ask for diversity. So let's see some.
Thelonious: Here's my issue with it. It's that I think it's an easy out for Marvel. I think there's a rich catalog of characters they could draw from. Whether it's the Wasp, coming from the female side. Or whether it's Luke Cage. Now I wasn't a big fan of Luke Cage back in the 70's because he was a character who was basically a caricature. But in the last decade or so they've really made his character three dimensional. I know Netflix is doing a collection of heroes and Luke Cage is one of them. So when I see a lot of people celebrating and jumping on the bandwagon, and I get it because I'm enthusiastic as well. Because Captain America and Thor, they're icons and symbols and they pretty much defined Marvel Universe for more than a couple of generations. But also there's a part of me, the Milestone part, that wants to see characters written by a diverse cast, a diverse group. grow from Inception whether it's spider-man being bit to where he is now and see that audience grow with it. So there's a microwave solution of the changing of the hammer, and there's the solution of what Milestone did. Start new characters from scratch, build them and then build an audience with them. Which I don't know if that's a good example, because Milestone is no longer here. But I guess that would be my only argument. 
Deron: Yeah
Thelonious: Any thing that brings diversity I'm for. So I don't want to rain on any one's parade And there are a lot of characters that people might identify with if Marvel spent more resources or even DC for that matter.
Deron: Yes. Indeed I think that you definitely hit the nail on the head with looking at characters like Luke Cage, and we should be seeing more of that. These characters should be getting they're own spotlight. I know that a lot of people are pointing out the Storm is getting her own series and things of that nature. 
Thelonious: Storm has been one of my favorite characters for a long time. 
Deron: Yes and I think fans have been waiting for this sort of thing. It's really up to the companies to start pushing these things. I think that's sort of the problem with Milestone, they were a little a head of there time and didn't get the big push behind the DC imprint as necessary. I don't know, I was a young guy back then. I couldn't tell you the ins and outs of the business behind the scene. But you know if you told people back then about the books, nobody knew about them. But they knew about Superman.
Thelonious: Yeah, there was a lot going on and they did a crossover with DC. I was a big fan of Icon, BloodSyndicate, Hardware, Static and all the titles, I got all of them. I think that if it happened again today, where the production cost is down, the distribution cost is down. There's social media to reach more fans. I think it'd be viable today. 
Deron: Oh yeah
Thelonious: But I'm glad it happened. I think we're all better for it, I mean it found you. And it made me a fan of comics. I'm glad it happened and I'd like to see it happen again. Whether it does or doesn't, that's not for me to say. But any time you broaden the spectrum and fan base, I think it's a good thing.
Deron: Yeah, that's definitely positive. It is definitely the way things should go. Expand not only the audience, but also spread appreciation and understanding of different cultures and the people behind them. 
Thelonious: For our listeners, where can they find you at today? 
Deron: I am frequently on twitter  and also on Facebook I have a page setup. That would www.facebook.com/codthecomic. We can have that available on the website, for people to follow. I am readily available on social media. Twitter is the way you can find me, interacting with the community, letting people know my thoughts. Definitely reach out to me, I'd be glad to engage. 
Thelonious: What we are going to do is provide everyone with you're links. We are going to get those from you. What I'd like to do is start up a twitter conversation in a couple of weeks. You could drive the conversation. If you have any other people who are doing diverse comic books, and they wanna be involved I'd think it'd be great. It's an especially exciting time right now for comic book fans. I'd think it'd help to generate interest for you and what you're doing. Also, to give people food for thought, as far as what's been going on before. So they can appreciate what's happening now. 
Deron: Yes. That sounds great.
Thelonious: Yeah, I'd like to do that in a couple of weeks. So what I'd ask you to do, is to get like 2 or 3 guys, you know get those twitter followers. And we'll announce it on all of our blogs. We'll just have a comic book diversity chat. And we'll come up with a hashtag.
Deron: Right
Thelonious: That's not much specialty but we'll come up with the hashtag and talk diversity in comic books. You and your crew can help drive the discussion. I'd just like to participate as a fan.
Deron: Yeah
Thelonious: Any thing I can do to drive that. Just let me know I'll be happy to coordinate it. 
Deron: That sounds really good. I'll be glad to help out
Thelonious: Thank you Mr. Bennett I know you're busy, I've been trying to get you all week and I'm glad we waited, because we had a lot to discuss. Again, I'd like to work with you on driving some type of twitter chat about diversity in comics. If you could get some guys to help out twitter followings. Everyone's that listening, I will be having all of Mr. Bennett's information on my blog, and I'll tweet it out.
Deron: Sounds great! Thanks for having me.
Thelonious: I'm glad we hooked up. This was exciting for me. This was like talking to a basketball player. To talk to someone who does what you admire.Thanks for allowing to have this discussion with you.  
Deron: Thanks, again! I appreciate it. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Kimberlee Renee of @reelsistas on Women of Color in Film

What is the state of women of Color in film? Listen to this informative interview with Kimberly Renee as we discuss this and other topics: Link 
You can also find all about Kimberly and her organizations via the below links.

Voice Interview -  Link
Her website - www.reelsistas.com
Her podcast: Cinema in Noir - www.blogtalkradio.com/cinemainnoir
Her Twitter - @reelsistas
An organization advocating for women of color in film - http://www.reelsisters.com
Twitter account advocating for women of color in film and stage - https://twitter.com/BiatchPack
Part I
Thelonious: Thank you for joining Thelonious Legend blogspot.  Today we hosting Kimberly Renee of Reelsistas and Co-host of @CinemaInNoir.  Mrs. Renee for our listeners who are not familiar with reelsistas or @CinemaInNoir can you provide some background?
Kimberly: Yes and thank your for having me.  reelsistas is a website that I started that is a celebration of women of color in film and television both in front and behind the camera. From there I met my co-host of @CinemaNoir which is a podcast on blogtalk radio and we talk about film from a black female perspective.
Thelonious: That's great. What lead you down this path? Were you just always just a lover of movies? Or was there moment of inspiration... a catalyst that lead you down this path?
Kimberly: I've always been a huge fan of film and television. And I love to read, and other art forms like the written word. And once I was in Barns and Nobles looking through biographies and I noticed how many there were of Marilyn Monroe and I didn't see any of the legendary black actresses that I like such as Dororthy Dandgrige, Lena Horne. I felt like there was a void there for people who wanted to celebrate these wonderful actresses of color that we have so I started the blog and I've done it online for about six or seven years now.
Thelonious: So your primary mission to bring more visibility to women of color in front and behind the camera?
Kimberly: yes that' all I want to do
Thelonious: Currently in the literature world there was or is a hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks that went Viral because there was a lack of diversity for children of color or rather there were no books with main characters of colors.  Is there anything like that on the film side?  And if not how would you institute or start it?
Kimberly: A while back there was a hashtag #hirethesewomen that was trying to bring awareness to women who write and direct but weren't being heard or seen on the big screen. Other than that I blog about it, write it, and about tweet about it. I think it's very important to have representation of women color and all women in general. Women buy a lot of movies tickets and I don't think we are fairly represented in the films we are seeing.
Thelonious: Is there a scenario where we can vote with our dollars to support women of color in front and behind the camera?
Kimberly: There are a lot of organizations that try to do that. Hire these women hashtag bitchpack which is an organization that tries to champion women of color in film women in film, and they champion women in film reelsisters.org they've always been a champion of black women in film.
Thelonious: What are the challenges you notice unique to women of color as they attempt to break in Film TV industry.
Kimberly: There are a lot women of color who are independent film makers and have to go through the process of making it on their own and are doing great work out there. But as far studio producing films by women of color or featuring women of color there t0o few and they are far in between. The biggest problem we have is representation meaning getting studios to recognize that there is power in women of color being on the big screen or behind the camera
Thelonious:  And somone who has leveraged that power quite well has been Tyler Perry.  Do you find that Tyler Perry's success in film has helped or hindered other independent film makers are trying to do?
Kimberly: His success has been great for him and he has made a lot of money and he has put a lot of black actresses on the screen, but I feel he has very specific vision of how he sees black women but not there is an array that needs to shown but I feel there needs to be more diversity women of color so that there is not monolithic image of black women that sometimes you get with his work.
Thelonious: Can you name  one or two women of color in the film industry that are listeners should be aware?
Kimberly: Christine Swanson who produced and directed All About You, Tina Mabry,who did Mississippi Damned, Dee Rees who directed and wrote Pariah and of course Ava DuVernay who founded the firm AFFRM

End of Part I

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Difference betweeen Science-Fiction and Fantasy

For the uninitiated there actually is a difference between Fantasy and Science Fiction genres. And depending on who you ask that difference can be insignificant or a wide chasm. But since this is my blog the only opinion that really matters on the subject is mine, so here we go... Harry Potter and Star Wars can both be classified as Fantasy while Spider-Man and Star Trek fall into the Science-Fiction category. See what I did there? No? OK let me break it down so that it can forever and consistently be broke. I consider Magic and Fantasy synonymous and all you need to believe in Magic is faith. You don't need to explain to a Potter-head how a person can fly on an object as aerodynamically challenged as a broom which has no visible method of propulsion. And what is this "Force" you speak of? I know in the latest movies they attempted to mansplain it with midi-chlorians but why? All you need is faith to know  Jedi-Nights are the baddest cats in the Universe. Spider-Man is another story. Spider-Man uses real Science and bends it, twists it, and stretches it to get the desired result. Star Trek also uses real Science although it's safe to say it stretches it a little more than Spider-Man does. Don't believe me? Khan was basically a failed science experiment by a mad scientist. Believe me now? Still shaking your head? OK peep this... the two paragraphs below feature the same character with the same power but one exists in a Fantasy realm and the other a Science Fiction realm. If you can tell the difference then I have no more to teach you, young grasshopper. Good luck and may the Force be with you. And don't hate... I did this over my lunch.
"You going to finish that?" Slim Jim ask me for the third time. I hate when that guy goes off his meds. And for the record there is nothing slim about him unless you consider 6'2", 350 pounds slim. I wrinkle my nose and slide my tray away away from his grimy, dark-skinned hand. But I guess I don't smell too well either. Not having showered in weeks will do that to you. I pullback my hoodie and reach for my locks before remembering I cut them. I rub the stubble on my head instead while glancing around. I always sit by the emergency exit in the Soup Kitchen so I can break north in case they find me again. Slim Jim always sits with me. I made the mistake of breaking him off a piece of my stale bread once and now I can't shake the guy. I've been homeless since my powers manifested a year ago and now he is the closest thing to a friend I have. You see, I'm able to teleport. Or rather I slip into a parallel dimension where space and time collapse and come out at a place of my choosing a hearbeat later. Cool, right? Not really. Clothes can't go with me so I always come out naked. And every-time I do it energy from the other dimension seeps out from where I left and where I end up. That energy gives off a unique signature that the Feds can track. That's how they found me the first time. Without this damn power I would be graduating next month and defending my championship in the Golden Gloves. No matter. I'm hip to the game. I've been stashing clothes and guns around the city. Places I've never teleported to before. So the next time they find me I'll be waiting. "Here ya go Slim.", I can't help but smile as I break Jim off a piece of my stale bread.
"Yo, whaddup money, you ready?" My boy, Zeke, says as he holds up the mitts. I keep it simple throwing tight combinations and slip his counters. There is a special sound the pads make when you hit them just right. I love that sound. "Two minutes Champ!" D-Nice announces as he pops his head in the locker room. Cool. I got a good sweat and I'm ready. I'm going to knock this clown out tonight, graduate next month, win National Golden Gloves again, go pro, and the South Side could kiss my black ass goodbye. Truth be told, I could be gone already. You see, I got this special ability. I can think of a place, concentrate and BAM! I'm there. Scared the hell out of me the first time I did it. I ended up alone atop the roof of the projects we first lived. Had to woof it back home. The second time was I ready and not as scared. No one knows about it and I had to cool it because some freaky looking dudes in long, black cloaks started showing up in my neighborhood. I think my power signaled em. They keep their faces covered but I can tell they different. I can tell they watching me. And that's some scary shit. Not even the thugs mess with 'em. In this neighborhood that's saying something. Don't matter though. I'm about to bounce up out of this joint and I smile as I make the mitts sing. My grandmother always told me I was special. That I was the one. That I was the son of Adam, first man and I would always be safe with her. I always thought she was crazy. Now I know. The locker door opens and D'Nice's eyes are wide as saucers. He has a sword sticking out his chest and three cloaks crowded behind him. One rushes in and slashes Zeke down. I close my eyes, think of my grandmother's house down South in the Bayou, and I'm gone in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Not a Fan of FanFiction

Self-publishing has given a voice to writers and stories that were previously kept silent by traditional publishing. Leading the vanguard are writers such as Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey who both have achieved tremendous success. They toiled away at their craft and after being rejected by multiple publishers (In Amanda's case) charted their own course. They did their own world building. They created their own characters. They did their own marketing. Don't get it twisted this hustle is real and game needs to recognize game. It doesn't matter if you like their books or not they have made the industry take notice. Thousands of self-published writers fighting to have their own voices heard owe some gratitude to these two and other trendsetters like them. And no one has benefited more from this new paradigm shift than readers. This is the technical definition of a buyers market and I'm happy to participate in this movement. It's a new era that is being driven by the bottom up. Corporate chieftains ability to create or destroy dreams by the stroke of a pen has been minimized. Good. Let the market decide who should be successful. I'm OK with that. But I'm not OK with writers who stand on the shoulders of giants like JK Rowling or George RR Martin to cut to the head of the line. It's lazy. If you want to be writer then be a writer. Work at it. Build your own worlds, create your own characters. I know it's hard work but man up. Now to be clear I'm not talking about all fanfiction. My comments are directed at those who seek to profit off of the hard work of others. That is soulless. Get on your grind and do your own thang. And to be honest I never thought much of fanfiction before I became a writer. But as I read the reviews of my book and get feedback from fans my attitude about fanfiction has evolved rapidly. You see I think I might be good at this writin' thang. My confidence has increased and my metrics for success have changed. I could have easily written "Dumbledore vs Melisandre" or "Arya's First Year at Hogwarts" But to leverage the popularity of these characters for my personal gain is lecherous. I'm proud of the fact that my fans (all three of them) love the characters I have created. I know it's going to take some time but I'm going to stay on my hustle because this grind is making me better, sharper. Although "Arya's First Year at Hogwarts", does sound interesting...