Interview with Sareta Fontaine

sareta fontaine

Today’s interviewee is the wonderful Sareta Fontaine. She is a writer and content creator with a creative flair most of us can only dream of having. It was an honour and a pleasure to have Sareta participate so enjoy the interview!

What is your favourite city in the world?

My favourite city in the world is currently Amsterdam. It’s only a 50-minute flight (I hate flying), and everyone is super friendly, super chilled and open-minded. I’d look into having an apartment there if I could. I’d have a little apartment next to the canal, with window boxes full of beautiful flowers. I’d go on weekends with my laptop and write all day like Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and The City)…dreamy!  

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go? 

Probably crumbs. The bottom of my bag is always covered in crumbs from snacks I’ve had ready for my kids. No matter what I do, crumbs will be there. 

Why do you do what you do?

I love to create art, and I love to make people laugh. Whether it’s a video or photography, or something I’ve made with my hands, I love creating! I guess I always enjoyed making things as a child, so a lot of my toys I created myself. I’d make trains and houses out of shoeboxes and mini characters out of Fimo oven-bake clay, and play with those for hours. I suppose I never really grew out of it. I enjoy making things and seeing the finished product. 

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

Five minutes ago, lol! I just said I love you and goodnight to my boys.

Where do you go to relax?

What is relax please? I don’t even know anymore! I’d probably have a glass of wine and chill on my sofa, along with disco lights and incense. 

69, 280, or 420?

420 for sure. But what does 280 stand for? I’m out of the loop and feel old now. 

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

See you later. Which has always confused me because “later” may mean later on in the day… or week, right? But yeah, my family have always said: “See you later” in a London accent, of course.

'Jamaican English is unique', says UWI Mona study

Black Jamaican Man

A study conducted by The University of the West Indies, Mona campus in Jamaica, found that Jamaican Standard English was unique enough to be classed as a “distinct variation” of the English language.

Rather than looking at accent and lexicon, the study analysed the acoustic properties of Jamaican English. The work came as part of a Department of Physics literacy project for tutoring Jamaican children and used speech models from 360 students in 12 schools.

Comparisons were made between American and British Standard English looking for differences in phonetic qualities and acoustics. Dr Andre Coy, senior physics lecturer in The Faculty of Science and Technology, told the Jamaica Observer explained that the purpose of the study was to aid Jamaica’s education system:

“The broader context is that we want to be able to use speech and language technologies, such as speech recognition or speech synthesis, in the assistance with education in Jamaica. We have the capacity at The UWI, Mona to use and develop speech recognition and synthesis technologies. Why not employ them to assist with vulnerable groups, such as children who are struggling to read or with the disabled, to develop assistant technologies for them?”

While this isn’t the same as acknowledging Jamaican patois as a language separate from English (which is something that has been discussed by UWI), it’s a step in the right direction and its use in boosting the education system is the ultimate goal and a positive one at that.

Further reading

Nnesaga's top 5 DC animated movies

Justice League

It’s been a hot minute since I last watched a DC animated movie but I’m almost certain it was a Batman movie. I’ve not watched enough DC animated movies to form a balanced top 5 but Stephanie Ijoma of Nnesaga has and, in May, she went through her 5 favourites.

If you want to know what they are, check out them out in the summary (below)

Nnesaga’s top 5 DC animated movies (click the triangle to open the list)
  1. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
  2. Batman: Under The Red Hood
  3. Teen Titans: Judas Contract
  4. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
  5. Justice League: Doom

Who is Nnesaga?

Nnesaga is a media platform founded by Black gamer Stephanie Ijoma. It champions diversity in the form of events, media and workshops in comic book media, gaming, and anime.

As Steph says, there are a lot of films in the DC animated universe (which includes the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, the DC Animated Movie Universe, and any animated films made before 2007) so it can be tough to pick a top 5.

But that didn’t stop Steph laying down the Bat-gauntlet so to speak:

If Flashpoint Paradox & Batman: Under the Red Hood isn’t in your top 5, what are you still doing here?

I better leave and rectify that error in judgement!

What are your favourite DC animated movies? Let us know in the comments.

Soo.. WHAT'S YOUR TOP 5 DC ANIMATED MOVIES?

Socials

Milton Glaser on creativity and failure

milton glaser

Milton Glaser sadly passed away on Friday at the age of 91. He was best known for his I ♥ NY logo, his Bob Dylan poster, the DC Comics logo used from 1977 to 2005, the Brooklyn Brewery logo and co-founding New York Magazine with Clay Felker in 1968.

In 2011, Glaser discussed the fear of failure and the “myth of creative genius” as part of a video series from Berghs’ Exhibition 2011:

“Find out what you’re capable of doing or not capable of doing. Admit what is […] Embrace the failure.”

While he also suggested that becoming a specialist was the best way of achieving success, he warned that specialism was antithetical to artistic development:

The consequence of specialisation and success is that it… hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn’t aid in your development. […] Understanding development comes from failure. People begin to get better when they fail.

(Milton Glaser, 26th June 1929—26th June 2020)

Stream it below.

24 Anti-Racist Books You Should Read

black woman reading book

There have been a lot of anti-racist book lists shared on the internet. In fact, here are 3 of them:

But for this list from Open Culture, the titles were recommended by readers.

If this is overwhelming but you feel you must start to engage with the history and theory of anti-racism, don’t despair or buy a pile of books you know you can’t read right now. All of the most prominent anti-racist authors have been in high demand for interviews.

Quote from Open Culture

Some of these books you’ll know, some you won’t. Some you may own, some may be on your wishlist already. The best time to be anti-racist is always now. If you can buy a book or have access to read one, I strongly recommend you do and put the learning into action.

Alongside the Open Culture list, I have chosen 5 books of my own.

Open Culture’s reading list

My book recommendations

The Nerd Council: an online platform for Black nerds

the nerd council

Ever heard of a blerd? It’s a portmanteau of Black + nerd and, although “nerd” is mainly used as a pejorative, the term has been reclaimed to describe a person who has an interest in specialised activities such as comics, gaming, computers, and anime (more specifically, an anime nerd is often known by the Japanese word otaku).

I like to think of myself as a blerd and I’m not alone. In fact, there’s a council of Black nerds and they call themselves The Nerd Council.

Building and bringing the nerd community together

The Nerd Council was founded in 2017 as a way of bringing nerds together and with good reason. Black nerds have a major influence on a number of multi-billion dollar industries and so TNC wants to be “the number one space where likeminded individuals can find each other, and feel comfortable being themselves”.

They do this in three ways:

Content creation

The Nerd Council has a podcast that covers nerd news, listener questions, polls, and a main topic every episode. The trio also have a YouTube channel and a popular Twitter account where they discuss nerd media, gaming, comics, and anime.

Events

What’s the best way to bring a community together? Through curated events. TNC hosts a variety of events including film screenings, live shows, and quiz nights to reinforce the idea that there is a safe space for nerds to be nerds.

Talks and panels

It’s important to be heard as a Black person in a predominately white industry. But when it comes to industries like anime and manga, gaming, and comic books, we need representation on a grand scale. That’s why The Nerd Council gives its own insights into those spaces.

Where to find The Nerd Council

Give TNC your support and stream their video to the gaming industry below.

Dear Gaming Industry...

Jenkem's list of Black-owned skate businesses

A Black skateboarder getting some air time

Black Lives Matter is not a catch-all term. It represents the fight for equality, liberation, and radicalisation for Black people around the world and we will continue to challenge every institution and system until it happens.

As part of that fight, supporting Black-owned businesses is becoming more important. Black people are often denied bank loans and leases because of their race, particularly in the US. According to the ACLU, Black people are 3.73x more likely than White people to be arrested for marijuana charges. But we’ve seen a recent boom in the marijuana industry and it’s headed by White people. Unfair and unjust. Also check for the CBD legality before getting them.

Skate publication Jenkem Magazine care about Black businesses too, and with the help of friend and contributor Patrick Kigongo, compiled a Google sheet of Black-owned skate companies to support, aptly named The Black List.

At the time of writing, there are 140 different Black skate brands, stores, organisations, and media outlets to give your money and support to. There’ll be some names you recognise (like Tyler The Creator’s Golf Wang) and some you might not. But all your proceeds, shares, likes, and listens will go a long way to bring a balance to a system created to marginalise Black people.

Check out The Black List here.

Interview with Terrance Pryor

Terrance Pryor

Today, we have Terrance Pryor as our interviewee. Terrance is a music and gaming writer and radio personality from the East Coast and he answered our not-so-famous round of questions. Enjoy!

What is your favourite city in the world?

My best city in the whole world is New York City. There’s always something to do at any given time. For live shows, I always love attending Irving Plaza and Gramercy Theatre. Mercury Lounge is a great intimate spot as well. 

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

It’s not really unusual, but I always have a pen with me. It started out as an accident, but I never bothered to take it out of my pocket. I’ll never know if Publishers Clearing House will accost me on the street with a million-dollar check or if I have to sign an autograph because something thinks I’m Jaleel White.

Why do you do what you do?

I love supporting music. I started out as a radio personality because I wanted to play music from local bands. I always went to local shows with a request form for some music. It basically grew from there. It’s always a great feeling to hear new music from a rising artist.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

I honestly don’t know. I probably should get better at doing this.

Where do you go to relax?

I don’t really go anywhere physically for relaxation. My idea of relaxing is just watching Twitch, listening to music, or playing video games. Sleeping is great, too. Lately, I’ve been falling asleep with spectator mode running in Unreal Tournament 2004. Best $3 I ever spent.

69, 280, or 420?

I was going to pick either 69 or 420, but 280 stood out to me. No one ever gives this number any love on social media. It’s never “280, blaze it” or no one ever says “Nice” when 280 gets mentioned. I never see 280 trending on Twitter. I’m choosing 280 because I believe in it. 280 can do the thing!

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

I actually don’t say goodbye. I tend to just exit the spot without saying anything. Irish goodbye. I’ll say something on social media after I leave, though.