Shuri as the new Black Panther?

Shuri from Black Panther

We Got This Covered is suggesting—based on intel from a credible source—that Shuri might be the next Black Panther.

There will likely be a delay to Black Panther 2‘s May 2022 release date as Boseman’s friends, peers and collaborators come to terms with his passing at the age of just 43, but we’ve now heard from our sources – the same ones that told us Ben Affleck would be returning as Batman in The Flash and that a She-Hulk show is coming to Disney Plus, both of which were correct – that Marvel still want to proceed with the second installment as a tribute to the leading man’s legacy, and the film will see Shuri become Wakanda’s permanent protector and assume the mantle. At least, that’s the plan right now.

This makes sense and it’s not the first time We Got This Covered has claimed Shuri will take T’Challa’s place. The clearest reason for this idea is based on the comics, where Shuri became Black Panther for the first time in the Dark Reign series from 2008.

That volume opened with Doctor Doom brutally attacking T’Challa after he refused to join Norman Osborn’s cabal. Barely alive, the king returned to Wakanda before his wife, Queen Ororo, took over leadership duties and immediately nominated Shuri to become the next Black Panther.

We’re all still grieving the loss of Chadwick Boseman and I’m not trying to think about Black Panther 2 or 3 (even though I’m writing about it) but this would be the best transition if it happened.

America's Oldest Woman is Black and 116

hester ford

Hester Ford is America’s oldest person and on Saturday, she celebrated her 116th birthday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As per reports, Hester was celebrated with a giant drive-thru celebration that included her family, beloved friends and members of her local community.

Her family usually throw her a big party each year, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – and all the ensuing restrictions – this year’s bash was a little different.

Nevertheless, Hester turned 116 without plenty of pomp. In total she is said to have 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren and around 120 great-great grandchildren.

The pandemic meant she couldn’t have the big party she usually does or go to church but that didn’t stop the celebrations.

https://twitter.com/CarepatrolC/status/1294748551390605313

To know a Black woman, who was born when Theodore Roosevelt was president, is still alive today and still enjoying life warms my lukewarm heart. Happy belated birthday, Hester!

Augusta Savage and her influence on the Harlem Renaissance

augusta savage

Augusta Savage was an African-American sculptor and teacher known for her activism and work during the Harlem Renaissance.

Kelly Richman-Abdou wrote a piece on Augusta and her influence on the movement, from her beginnings in late 19th century Florida to her golden age in the 1930’s.

An excerpt:

At the time of her death, Savage’s contributions to the Harlem Renaissance and to modernism as a whole were largely forgotten. But now, at a crucial point in history, Savage is finally starting to receive the recognition she deserves.

“We are in a moment where the canon is being challenged and expanded because of how history overlooks women and artists of color,” Jeffreen Hayes, the curator of the 2019 exhibition Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, said. “For many of us in the art world who have spent our careers researching, writing, and curating exhibitions about women and artists of color, these artists have always had a place in art, regardless of their social or racial identity. When thinking about Savage, her place has always been an artist who was a brilliant sculptor who used her art to forge a path for staying true to one’s artistic passion.”

Exploring both Savage’s self-described “monument” and her own striking sculptures, this exhibition revealed the artist for what she is: “one of America’s most influential 20th-century artists.”

Related: The influential art of Aaron Douglas

Rememory: a creative directory for Black women and non-binary people

rememory

I wrote about gal-dem in March and now there’s another dedicated platform for Black women and non-binary people to come together in the name of creativity.

It’s called Rememory.

What is Rememory?

Founded by Mia Coleman, a Black illustrator and designer, Rememory brings together the incredible work of Black women and non-binary people of the African Diaspora. The burgeoning directory showcases their narratives and experiences through an array of disciplines including:

  • Architecture
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Writing
  • Filmmaking
  • Animation

Mia explains that Rememory is for both creatives to “help people boost visibility for black women” and for employers to “consider hiring women into promotions above their current role” and place them in spaces often taken up by men.

Rememory is directory and blog spot of black creatives with beginner to expert experience in various creative roles. This platform aims to help people boost visibility for black women breaking into the creative industry while providing them with insight on creative paths on our #ArtCrush monthly interviews.

Quote from Mia Coleman (source)

Where does the word “rememory” come from?

The term “rememory” was coined by Toni Morrison in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved. It described a recollection of a forgotten moment by the book’s main character, Sethe, and was chosen by the directory’s founder as a homage to Morrison’s lifelong work in “centering black women and their narratives”.

How to join

You can join Rememory by heading over to the Join Us page and filling out your details. You can select up to 4 professions from a choice of 18 or include any unnamed occupations you may hold.

Rememory is packed full of incredible women and non-binary people with abundances of talent.

How to get in touch

Here are some links to follow Rememory on social media and contact Mia:

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.

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

The African American Miniature Museum

A Black Lives Matter diorama from The African American Miniature Museum

We carve out our space in history with everything we do. But for Black artist Karen Collins, she’s taken that concept literally (and figuratively) with the African American Miniature Museum.

In a film by Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman for Atlas Obscura, Karen Collins tells the story of the museum and its origins and how she wants to teach Black people of future generations about their history and lineage in the USA. It also shows Collins observing her pieces in Los Angeles Public Library (where her work was held between 2018 and 2019) and shots of her making the miniatures while narrating the film.

“We owe our ancestors a debt.”

Karen Collins

Unfortunately, the catalyst for the African American Miniature Museum was one of deep sadness. In 2002, her son was sentenced to 176 years in prison for “three counts of attempted murder and one count of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle”. That’s when Collins decided to “make the Black History Museum and go into schools and explain their lineage.”

The attention to detail is magnificent as Collins’s work depicts African American art and life through history, from the prominence of slavery to the Civil Rights Movement, all the way to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Currently, the African American Miniature Museum exists only as a “mobile” project in her home but she hopes to find a permanent place to exhibit her 50+ dioramas and preserve the historical pieces.

Stream the full video below.

Meet the Woman Behind L.A.’s African American Miniature Museum | Atlas Obscura

Credits

Executive Producers: Doug Baldinger, Chris Naka

Director of Photography: Bill Meese

Co-Producer: Todd Lerew

Kazvare Made It blends Blackness, art and humour

Kazvare Made It - African Marge saying "I am not your age mate"

One of my favourite Instagram accounts has to be Kazvare Made It.

The illustration lab from London is headed by Kazvare and blends blackness, cultural references and humour to create a distinct style of art that resonates. Kazvare studied Classics and African Studies at university before going into illustration full time. Creativity has always been a part of her life as she told Scribbler in a 2019 interview:

I’ve always loved drawing and not too long ago I found an old notebook that I wrote in when I was about 9 years old. I declared that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. And a chef, but let’s not dwell on that one.

The chef thing might not have worked out but the lab has been cooking up storms of comical collections, from gift cards to mugs and stationery. Arguably, its standout piece is the Beyhive Gift Collection with all things Beyoncé and design. Nothing says Black culture like Bey.

Support the gal-dem platform and become a member

gal-dem

When I started Cultrface, it was at a time when I was escaping some personal issues. But as time went by, I wanted it to be a place to share the experiences of people of colour and their cultures.

gal-dem is on a similar journey and yesterday, the publication announced the launch of its Patreon membership scheme. According to a tweet posted yesterday, the idea was in the pipeline but given current world events, they felt it emphasised their need to “future-proof the platform” and I couldn’t agree more.

What is gal-dem?

gal-dem is a publication that focuses on the lives and journeys of women and non-binary people of colour. It was founded in 2015 by Liv Little and the magazine is available annually through the printed issue and online through the website.

In 2016, its editorial collective curated an event at the Victoria and Albert Museum and in 2018, the team guest-edited an issue of The Guardian’s Weekend magazine. gal-dem also released an anthology called “I Will Not Be Erased”: Our Stories About Growing Up As People of Colour in 2019.

Through the print magazine and online platform, gal-dem addresses the constant misrepresentation of women and non-binary POCs in the media by challenging the industry. This is done through a gamut of essays, editorials, and news from the community, covering the arts, music, politics and horoscopes.

Perks of being a gal-dem member

There are plenty of Patreon memberships out there for all kinds of content creators. For gal-dem, your contributions can help towards a lot of things:

  • Shifting the imbalance away from the 94% white and 55% male media population
  • Bring different cultural conversations from marginalised groups to the table
  • Membership can also help them work with other members of the community and create more breathtaking and important work

There are three membership plans to choose from, with monthly or yearly subscriptions (the annual fee works out cheaper per month). If you’re able to contribute and you want to switch the media narrative, become a gal-dem member today.

And follow gal-dem on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

BECOME A GAL-DEM MEMBER!

The Most Influential Living African American Artists (According To Artsy Editorial)

  • Theaster Gates
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Henry Taylor
  • david hammons
  • mark bradford
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • Betye Saar
  • Kehinde Wiley
  • Charles Gaines
  • Mickalene Thomas
  • Kerry James Marshall
  • Glenn Ligon
  • Nick Cave
  • Senga Nengudi
  • Pope.L
  • Rashid Johnson
  • Sam Gilliam
  • Kara Walker
  • Lorna Simpson
  • Howardena Pindell

If you were asked to pick 20 of the most influential living African American artists, who would be in your list?

I don’t know if I could do it but Artsy Editorial had a go and their list is pretty powerful. But rather than just pick 20 amongst themselves, they consulted people in the industry:

While it’s impossible to capture the full impact that African American artists have on contemporary art, Artsy Editorial asked prominent art historians and curators to reflect on 20 living African American artists who are making a mark on painting, photography, performance, and sculpture.

So, here’s their final list:

Artsy’s 20 Most Influential Living African American Artists

  • Mark Bradford
  • Charles Gaines
  • Theaster Gates
  • David Hammons
  • Senga Nengudi
  • Howardena Pindell
  • Pope.L
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Betye Saar
  • Lorna Simpson
  • Mickalene Thomas
  • Nick Cave
  • Kerry James Marshall
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • Kara Walker
  • Glenn Ligon
  • Rashid Johnson
  • Henry Taylor
  • Kehinde Wiley
  • Sam Gilliam

One of the names that should stand out is Kehinde Wiley, the Nigerian-American portrait artist who painted President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

But if you’re unfamiliar with the others, now’s the time to get acquainted. Below is a gallery of work from each of the 20 artists. There will also be future posts related to these artists so stay tuned.

Reniqua Allen on hope and black millennial burnout

Does anyone know what a millennial actually is?

The year range varies depending who you talk to but it’s somewhere between the early-1980s and the mid-1990s. For black millennials, that meant living their adult lives in a new millennium that hasn’t given them the safety and recognition they’ve deserved.

That provided the subject matter for Reniqua Allen in her latest book, It Was All a Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America. Talking about the perception of millennial success:

“Discussion about millennials and their ideas of ‘success’ are often deeply rooted in the experiences of privileged White men and women — think more Lena Dunham than Issa Rae.”

I hear that! For Longreads, Danielle A. Jackson spoke to Allen about the book, millennial burnout, and hope in a hopeless time.

Mental health discussions in the black community

As a black man, I’ve experienced a lot of burnout in recent years due to a regular build-up of microaggressions. That has resulted in a lot of time off work due to mental health, which Allen touched on in her interview.

“People are really struggling, which I think is very pervasive in the stories I collected. I feel like mental health treatment has been taboo in the Black community, so it’s interesting that people are so willing to talk about it now.”

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

The conversation then moved onto burnout and Tiana Clark’s Buzzfeed article called This Is What Black Burnout Feels Like, a response to Anne Helen Petersen’s How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation. Allen spoke to Clark for her book and mentioned her own burnout preventing her from responding to Petersen’s piece, which she felt was “interesting but very rooted in a White experience”.

To my fellow black millennials, I recommend you read the interview and check out Reniqua Allen’s book.

Rashayla Marie Brown's scathing review of Virgil Abloh’s "Figures of Speech"

I’ve always been sceptical of Virgil Abloh. I “get” his work but it’s not for me and it’s not a coincidence that his artistic ascension coincided with Kanye’s, arguably his biggest collaborator.

So when I read Rashayla Marie Brown’s review of Abloh’s “Figures of Speech” exhibition, I felt vindicated. And Brown was more eloquent than I would have been.

She started by questioning the lack of critiques of his work to begin with (I’m aware this is a critique of a critique that questions the lack of critiques but stay with me down this rabbit hole).

Besides the press in the New York Times about Abloh’s meteoric fashion career and a cursory review of the exhibit in Architect’s Newspaper, we have not had any meaningful criticism that contextualizes Abloh’s contributions, how exactly his collaborations developed, and what the actual impact of his design is on issues of racial representation in the art and design fields.

The rest of the review analyses the exhibition and how the forms of black art are nothing more than tropes.

Where Instagram celebrity status has produced a new cultural producer hell-bent on monetizing time and false relationships, Abloh’s in-person engagements are more important than the artwork itself, a conundrum touched upon by the numerous events and sites that occasion the show.

While looking through the photos taken of the exhibit, I felt the same sentiment as Jay Post, a member of Young Chicago Authors when he said: “man, he claimed to be representing us, but instead he just gave us a big ass billboard.” The work fell flat in regard to black presentation. It’s just another ironic work of Abloh art. I’m surprised he didn’t reduce the exhibition to a banner with “BLACK” written on it in Helvetica.

But the final paragraph really cuts deep, like a hot knife through butter.

Abloh’s work complains about White supremacy in fashion and then sell products designed to uphold the financial and material oppression of one group over another through collaborating with companies such as Nike and Louis Vuitton. This is the fashion equivalent of saying you don’t eat Harold’s, while we can see the grease dripping down your chin.

(Photo credit: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.)

The fitting room scene from Jackie Brown synced up

Jackie Brown Money Exchange Sequence Synchronized

I love Jackie Brown but I kinda wish Quentin Tarantino hadn’t directed it. Not because of the quality or style but… it’s a homage to blaxploitation films made by a white man who uses his films as a way to freely use the N-word. But let me jump off that soapbox.

The fitting room scene where Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) makes a money exchange in a department store was shot as a series of three separate scenes. The first one features Jackie, the second features Louis Gara and Melanie Ralston (Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda), and the final scene shows Max Cherry (Robert Forster).

But thanks to YouTuber James Neumann, the non-linear becomes linear, and it doesn’t dilute the quality at all. In fact, having two scenes next to each other adds to the 60s/70s style of intensity and tension. That and I love outlines and grids in film and design.

Parenthood Activate! tells comical short stories about life as a parent

Parenthood Activate! logo

My son turns 4 next month. While most of that time has been a joy, watching him grow up and experience new things for the first time, that first year was a struggle for me as a parent. He was my first child and I wasn’t prepared for all the sleepless nights and 3am feeds (along with accidental naps while the milk cooled down). And as he’s grown up, I’ve had to learn how to balance discipline with fun time.

Parenthood Activate! uses that journey as fuel for its webcomic and it’s thanks to the visceral humour of Stephanie Williams. Each comic takes a particular element of parenthood and embellishes on the narrative for comedic effect. One of my favourites so far is The Great Tummy Ache where a bottle of ginger ale manages to calm her son’s monstrous stomach. It plays on the myth* that ginger ale eases belly ache. The tale will resonate with anyone who reads it, particularly me as an adult who swears by ginger ale for everything.

Stephanie says she chose to share these experiences in comic form because it was close to her heart.

I currently write for FANGRRLS and other pop culture sites and I’m constantly writing about comic stories old and new, how they’ve impacted my life, how they relate to everyday life, and most importantly, my goal is to introduce others to a form of storytelling I love so much.

Stephanie Williams

I’ve been following Stephanie on Twitter for a while and there aren’t many people I know who can be so funny and geeky and “on the money” as her. Writing from experience can be both a blessing and a curse, especially as a black parent. It’s cathartic and free of hyperbole but it can also expose our vulnerabilities. But it’s a risk worth taking. And with art (by Sarah A. Macklin) and storytelling this good, it’s paying off for Stephanie.

You can read every issue on the Parenthood Activate! website and run some coins their way because black women deserve all our money.

(*Scientifically, it doesn’t help but science schmience.)

Marion Stokes: the Black woman who preserved over 30 years of TV history

A still from Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

This is a remarkable story. Atlas Obscura wrote about a woman who had recorded over 30 years of television on roughly 71,000 VHS and Betamax cassettes in Philadelphia. Her name was Marion Stokes.

Marion began her recordings in the 70s all the way until her death in 2012 and passed them around different apartments, family, and storage units, likely due to their quantity. Now, The Internet Archive is aiming to digitize every single tape. Problem is, they aren’t in any kind of order:

They got a little jumbled as they were transferred […] Although no one knew it at the time, the recordings Stokes made from 1975 until her death in 2012 are the only comprehensive collection preserving this period in television media history.

I love VHS tapes. I have two VCRs in my house – one bought for my birthday a few years ago and one inherited from my mum when she moved abroad. My collection is ~0.14% of Marion Stokes’s but they each tape is a gateway to my past. The fact that she recorded 71,000 of them over 4.5 decades is almost unfathomable. Even more so because it’s the best preservation of television history in this period. I follow a lot of YouTube accounts that upload old UK adverts and TV idents from the 80s and 90s for nostalgic purposes. I find those fascinating. This archive is something else.

An award-winning documentary called Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, has been screened at numerous film festivals this year. It chronicles her life and her historical media project. You can follow filmmaker Matt Wolf’s Instagram for news on future screenings.