Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Stop snitching? Stop smoking crack first
To snitch or not to snitch, that is the question. Actually, it’s not. It’s a reduction of a complex set of societal challenges into a slogan that can be put on a t-shirt. Keeping the complexity alive allows for the question: Given the legacy of police brutality does it make sense for those who engage in the guerilla economy of drug dealing to police themselves of their communities? And if so, do those self appointed individuals properly maintain an order that allows civilians, i.e. those not involved in the drug game, to live their lives in a fashion that regular policing would not support? Not so easy to put on a white T.
I was raised not to speak to police. I mean literally. They didn’t have any business with me so I should have any business with them. Even before I started doing the minor dirt that I did, however, I was stopped by police, had dogs sicced on me, had an N.Y.P.D’s knee in my neck for running for a bus, you know all the standard shit a young black man in the U.S has to deal with. But as for this bullshit question of if there was a murderer in my building would I call the police, my answer is and probably always will be “Hell yeah!”
What kind of moron do you have to be to allow yourself and possibly your family to let someone with a casual disregard for human life chill anywhere near you? As for this code business, does the “code” have a way of protecting me and mine from this murderer’s aggression? Because if not, I would firmly suggest the “code” check out my new website, www. movethefuckon.com and kill that noise. I do agree that there should be a way for communities to police themselves, but when has that not turned into some mafia related type shit? I pay taxes, I ain’t paying the “code watchers” or whatever they’d call themselves. In some ways this seems like some childish antics; “What the police don’t want to protect our communities the way that they should? Well screw them then, we’ll just police ourselves.” Which would be fine, if the main proponents of the idea weren’t individuals tweaking off ever increasingly powerful drugs.
See this code shit seems like a conflation between some seventies post black panther politics and a marketing campaign done by some pretty smart drug dealers. And yes, there are smart drug dealers out there. Take the cat below for instance. Now he may sound like mumbles the unintelligible, but this negro has turned his main nemesis, snitches, into his bread and butter via a series of dvds called “Stop snitching”. Of course, he’s arrested now, but given the options he’d set up for himself by being in the game, namely, jails, institutions, or the grave, I’d say he made a pretty smart move for himself.
What does this have to do with afrogeeks? Well when your neighborhood drug dealer starts selling dvds called “stop snitching” with his crack, maybe he’s not just a drug dealer. Maybe he’s an Afrogeek as well.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Freaks on a Plane
So I was on a plane and I saw two brothers that I thought I could strike up a conversation with. One of them had on a Green Lantern shirt and they had a stack of graphic novels between them. What luck, I thought to myself. What are the chances of meeting AfroGeeks on a plane? We made small talk around how jacked up Black Folks are portrayed in comics and other genre forms and what we’d do to fix the situation, if given the chance.
A lull hit our little triad until one of the cats asked this question, “If you had to kick it with one comic chick, who would it be?” I was certain that I did not hear him correctly so I asked him to repeat himself. He did more than repeat, he rephrased, “What comic broad would you f*%k?” He then launched into what he would do to Storm. His boy hopped right on the freak train and talked about having a threesome with him, Shadow Lass (from the Legion of Superheroes) and Wonder Girl (from the Teen Titans). Then they had the nerve to whirl their expectant eyes on me.
I was at a loss. I thought about telling the flight attendant that the brothers mentioned something about a bomb and the white house but I did not think that that would be a good idea. But I considered it.
I said nothing. I put on my headphones phones and dialed the iPod to the Fishbone, Bad Brains, 24-7 Spyz, Public Enemy and Orange 9mm mix and entered my own world where I wondered: When did AfroGeeks become AfroFreaks?
Goldie, Congo Natty, dillinja and Lemon D, M beat, Tricky, all of it. I swear to God I was going to move to Brixton just to catch the buzz. That low freq jump up sound made not only for good sounds but for the requirement of the body moving.
Keep in mind, this is back when Black men in the states didn’t dance no more, all we did was dis. (Peep that you Cee-lo fans) Meanwhile people in the Uk were going through gyrations on the floor like it was going out of style. Sometimes, when I don’t want people to believe I’m from the U.S I try to speak with what I like to call my “Tricky” voice. Just listen to Maxinquaye, an awesome name for an album by the way, and try and do the whisper thing he does on the “Hell is around the corner”. Makes you sound British and tough.
I love Tricky. I love Jungle, I love grime, I love 2 step, I love Drum and Bass. I know it’s a case of the grass being greener on the otherside but if you’ve never heard of any of the music I’ve mentioned go find it, turn your bass all the way up and pretend like Big brother’s not watching. I swear you’ll have fun
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The Fox is not Jolie
OK, You all know I try not to take this media shit with much seriousness. I mean manipulation of images is fun and cool and all but its not that serious, right? Freaking wrong. Step 1, Mark Millar, bad ass comic book man puts out a bad ass super villain comic called Wanted, a few years ago. It was super dope. Main female villain is a Catwoman knock off dyed bronze named The Fox. Hot like fire and black, or at least Puerto Rican, right? Like a young Eartha Kitt. So how come Angelina Jolie has the part in the movie? What the hell is going on Hollywood? She is not black! And I know its some pasty faced producer in some high class Hollywood hotel suite snorting enough blow to kill an elephant that lifts his head up right before he has a heart attack and says “Hey guys, Fuck a black chick, they have too much attitude anyway. How about we get Angelina Jolie? She was like Tomb Raider.” That shit for brains passes out but his coca induced fantasy lives on. Can you leave the good black parts for the good black actors. Or at least stop making bad black actors play good white roles (See the Kingpin in the Daredevil movie to know what I’m talking about.)
Monday, April 09, 2007
Nalo Hopkinson Interview
March 6, 2007,
I’m sitting with Nalo Hopkinson, author and editor of many books starting
with Brown girl in the ring and topping it off most recently with The new Moon’s arms. I’m really fortunate to know Nalo. One because she’s cute as all hell. Its not just her looks but its that Caribbean/Canadian accent peppered with words like “bloody” and “Yum”. She’s also one of the most consistently banging sci-fi/speculative fictive/magical realist writers today. I first met Nalo after she came to my rescue on an internet forum which will remain nameless. Since then we’ve been buddies. She was gracious enough to take time away from her adoring public to sit down with the Afrogeek and let him pick her brain.
Me: How does it feel to be one of the primary science fiction/ speculative
fiction writers of color?
Nalo: You know I’m going to argue with the term, right?
Me: I’m hoping you do.
Nalo: It feels bloody weird. I’m not one of the primary anything. I’m one of the few, so de facto I’m one of the primary. It still feel bloody weird. No, I’m not going to tell a story, but I could.
Me: Why don’t you tell me about your latest book?
Nalo: You want me to summarize one of my plots, don’t you? (Laugh) Ok,
you have a 53 year old woman living in the Caribbean in an archipelago that
doesn’t exist, because plausible deniability is good when you come from
the Caribbean. She was christened Chastity as a girl, when she was ten her mother
went out to sea and never came back. When she was 15, she got pregnant by her
friend Michael because she was trying to help him figure out if he was gay or
not. Her father was so angry by this that Chastity moved out to the big island,
the main island, and raised her child out there. And even though Michael wanted
to co-parent she pushed him away. At some point she looked over her life and
decided she needed a name that more reflected her life and re-has renamed herself
Calamity. So when the novel opens she’s fifty three and at her father’s
funeral. When she was a child she could find things but she suppressed that
power when her other went missing, she was afraid of what she would find. But
now as she’s approaching menopause, all these years of accumulated suppression come bubbling to the surface. So every time she has a hot flash, something from her past literally materializes in front of her. Plus there’s the little boy on the beach and the monk seals (Laughter)
Me: I hear good writers are always trying something new with their novels. What
were you trying with this novel?
Nalo: I was trying to write something with a more conventional plot than the
Me: So you failed miserably?
Nalo: (Sticking her tongue out at me) Not according to Gary Wolf. I was trying to do that and I was also being spurred on by the whole Black men on the down low thing which gets on my last hairy nerve. It just feels like a media ploy to keep black women pissed off and scared of black men and I’m tired of it. So I don’t know how effectively I wrote to that because writing a
message novel is very rarely a good idea but it was definitely on the forefront
of my mind.
Me: A lot of your work has to do with sex, sexuality, and gender. I’m
thinking of the Salt Roads in particular. What’s the reason behind that?
Nalo: Blame Chip Delany. I don’t know the reason behind it. Sex is fun to write. With science fiction and fantasy you can actually take things beyond where people want you to go and sex is a good place to do that.
Me: In the latest novel there’s a lot of time spent of menopause, which
isn’t a popular topic amongst sci-fi/fantasy writers. Are you afraid of
the books reception?
Nalo: It never occurred to me to be afraid. Fantasy readership is aging. And I was thinking about the phenomenon of the poltergeist which is not a ghost but the suppressed sexuality of a girl going into adulthood. I thought if there’s magic that happens at that end then we need magic at the other end too. Because menopause bloody well needs some magic. I don’t see why not menopause. So much of the idea of power, especially for women, is linked to menstrual cycles. But I don’t believe that women lose their power after those stop, so I
played with it.
Me: This book tour is not just your work but a tribute to Octavia Butler. You
want to talk a little about that?
Nalo: Octavia, E. Butler, as far as we know, the first black woman science fiction
writer. She was not much older than me. 58, I believe, when she fell outside
her home February 8, 2006, and died. She’s left a lot of people grief
stricken and missing her. And when I spoke to my editor, the day after Octavia
past, was when my editor said that they were intending to send us both out on
tour together. This is a way of sort of…knowing that she’s going
to be on the tour with me anyway…This is a chance for people to have a
little bit of her, to invoke her presence by having people come and read a bit
of her work.
Me: What's your favorite Octavia
Nalo: You mean something she wrote or something
Me: Something she did.
Nalo: I was once with her at a convention in France and the last day of the
convention in the last panel the topic was “Whose future?” And there
were about nine of us on the panel. And we were all trying to figure out what
we were going to say. This is a convention that happens in multiple languages
with simultaneous translations. It’s just a huge thing. When we go to
the panel, we found that the moderator had been switched. The woman that was
supposed to have been moderating wanted to talk about women and the future.
She had to leave and she handed it over to a man who thought the panel was how
astonishing it was that everyone on the panel was a woman . (Laughter) And as
we were passing microphones back and forth as we tried to get through this,
I saw Octavia reach for the mic a few times then pull back at the last second.
She leaned over to me and whispered. “No No No, mother always said if
I can’t say anything good I shouldn’t say anything at all.”
And then one of the local writers in the audience stood up and said “You
know the wonderful thing about having women in the field is that men write about
the big things and the women write about small things.” And Octavia said
“Give me that microphone.” I’m sure she said it in a more
polite way but that was the effect. And then she proceeded to very gently, tell
him what it was like. She never tore him a new asshole because she wasn’t
like that. That man did not realize his guts were being served to him on a platter.
She simply made her point and the panel went on. But I clearly remember that
“Give me that microphone” moment. (Laughter).
Me: For people that don’t know her, why should someone read Octavia Butler?
Nalo: Because she was seemed to have no fear looking last the present day. Sci-fi isn’t the future, it’s a funhouse mirror on the present where you can focus on one thing or another. She was one of the people who did cautionary writing, the sort of “If this goes on.” And she was so good at it.
She talks about power, she talks about race, hybridity, even when she isn’t
specifically talking about races on this earth, she talks about the problem
of people having power over each other. She talks about how, as a species, we
like those on top, we always like to dominate each other and how that could
be out undoing. The cool thing is that when I first read her work I thought
of it as harsh. But now when I go back I see the humor, she had a sort of sly
humor, I see the humanity I see the hope. Reading those books is like visiting
with an old friend. So many people from so many different backgrounds have had
a similar response to her work. It’s worth reading just to figure out
what that is all about.
Me: What’s next for you?
Nalo: Get through the tour without such a bad Fibromyalgia flare that I can’t
get out of bed.
Me: where are you next?
Nalo: D.C. ,Baltimore, then New York, and finally
Ft. Lauderdale. Then I have to finish a novel by Nov. 15
Me: Any advice for Afrogeeks?
Or sci-fi people in general?
Nalo: Don’t limit yourself. Don’t assume
you have to look for a publisher who is black. Don’t assume no one will
understand your work. Don’t put up the barriers yourself because then
Sunday, April 08, 2007
You big koala bean head.
Sheila E is incredibly hot in Krush Groove. That is all.
Keith Knight Interview! Respect the prophet!
Keith Knight is pretty much the chilliest socially conscious funny black man
doing comic strips today. He’s one of those cats I see kicking it at all
types of conventions giving and getting love like its going out of style. He’s
always fun to interview because he’s always got something going on, either
a new cd with MarginalProphets, a new art project, or just something funny
to say. He just sold a copy of “Are we feeling safer yet?” Only
$14.00. He signs it for a girl named Martine then tells her the best place for
the book is the bathroom “Then invite friends over.” He smiles.
She just bought a magazine rack for her bathroom so she’s happy. While
I’m sitting there shooting the shit with him another artist who has a
strip in the Daily Planet comes over and genuinely thanks Keith for taking the
time to respond to an e-mail the other man has sent. “It’s Barry
with a B right?” “Yeah, you’ve got a great website by the
Keith: The size of the books,
I made them so they’d fit perfectly on the back of the toilet or on the
magazine rack in the bathroom. They’re the same size as the old Archie
digest from back in the day.
ME: So what’s the upcoming project you’re
most excited about?
Keith: Ok, man I’ll say something. I’m working on
the K chronicles as a daily strip. I’m not exactly sure when its going
to happen but folks should anticipate seeing the K chronicles in a new way,
but also in the old way, but also in the new way.
ME: A new angle that’s come
up in your work is the political. It’s always been broadly socially critical,
but there’s a lot more pointed political critique. Any particular reason
Keith: I suppose after September
11, it got more political because of all the crap that went down and continues
to go down all over the world especially with the Bush Administration. But I’d
have to say lately it’s been getting away from that. I think everyone
now knows how horrible the administration is and so I’m not on that tip
for too much longer. Now I’m just figuring out where to go next, which
for me is the move. To see how the strip is going to change with the move (Keith
Knight has abandoned the Yay Area for Hollyweird and we wish him the best).
The one thing I don’t want to focus on is the obvious L.A. stuff. I actually
want to show the good side of L.A., you know the stuff you don’t talk
about. Especially in the bay Area. Everyone up here is all “Oh you’re
going down to L.A? You’re such a traitor” (I was one of those people)
Expect to hear about some good stuff about L.A.
ME: Yeah, ok. So you’re black.
Keith: Oh really?
ME:: How has that blackness thing
worked out for you lately in comics? Has it gotten easier or harder?
Keith: Well this interview taking
place in early March, is coming right after Black history month which is always
the busiest time for me. I always get lectures and stuff like that ( We get
interrupted by fans and Panell, a local artist who has done back up work for
Lil Gloomy and was on crew for the Afro samurai videogame until it flopped in
his face like a dead fish. We all start talking about Black snake Moan. I refer
to it as a great Uncle Remus story. That’s when Keith says)
Keith: You know when I went to
see Hustle and Flow at the Sundance film festival I couldn’t believe that
thing won. I was like “Are you kidding me? The heart warming tale of a
black pimp and his hoes? And all these white people are “Oh my god this
is beautiful.” And someone asked the question to the director, “Do
you feel awkward being this white guy doing this black pimp story?” He
did this awkward answer, then someone from the audience was all “Don’t
be ashamed to be white.” Yeah it was weird and bad and horrible. I mean
it was an Ok movie but the fact that it won Sundance as the...It was like Oh
My god. Whatever. That’s a whole other interview. What were we talking
ME: Black history month being the busiest time for you.
Keith: Oh yeah. I just did an
interview with the Chronicle about how when I first started out the only time
I got calls was during black history month. What’ I’d say was “Thanks
for contacting me and just to let you know I also work the other 11 months of
the year.” Now that I work all throughout the year I anticipate February
being the busiest time on the month so I send out business cards out and all
that to make sure I get the work. So in that sense, it’s good to be black
in the industry. And in another sense it’s just bizarre. I’ve had
editors say “Oh we’d love to have your strip but we don’t
have any black people in our town.” But the editors are white and they
love the strip. So I say “You’re a white guy and you like my strip
so why don’t you think other white people will?” Then they just
think about it for a minute and walk away. So you know, its just a weird weird
thing. But its nice to see a lot of people coming up and doing their work. More
and more you see people of color coming up in conventions. I was just talking
to this one young lady who does a strip I think would be a great daily and I
told her its an angle you should use, The first Asian American female doing
a daily. I mean that’s the way they market you. It makes you cringe but
anyway to get in, and then you show people how great you are no matter what
color you are. And I understand that people will probably market me as a replacement
for Aaron Mcgruder , but anyone who knows my stuff knows its different. And
that will be proven once I’m in.
ME: Any words for aspiring artist
wanting to break into the strip industry?
Keith: Perseverance. Keep taking stabs at it, keeping working
keep grooving. Look at stuff you like, and stuff you don’t like. Find
out what it is you like and why and what you don’t like. Then proceed
as you see fit. Do a comic you’d like to read. Don’t try to anticipate
the editors. They’ll be enough people out there trying to hinder you so
just do yourself. If its an idea in your head, get it out on paper and hopefully
it’ll help spawn another idea.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Should We Be Afraid?
Poster urges revenge for 'Zebra Murders'
Friday, April 6, 2007
Some Berkeley residents found a poster on their doorsteps this week from a white supremacist group calling for skinhead "death squads" to take up arms in an "Aryan people's insurgency."
The materials also included a flyer saying, "Avenge the Zebra Murders," a reference to the 1973-1974 Bay Area killing spree of 14 white victims by what prosecutors described as a black racist cult. The material was published by a group in Oroville (Butte County) linked to former KKK leader Tom Metzger, said Anti-Defamation League regional director Jonathan Bernstein.
The language is too vague to fall under Berkeley's hate crime law, said police spokesman Ed Galvan. Greg Withrow, leader of the group promoting the pamphlets, said Berkeley was targeted because "people there enjoy flying their little Communist flags."
America is so screwed up.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Its rare that I get to post something genuinely “Cute” here. But at the African Diaspora film fest in Oakland the other day I came across this flash movie and went “Awww” like a little white girl who has seen a poster of puppies or some shit. Peep it, its cool.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Honestly, no lie, I have no idea what the fuck to do with this video. If you can actually make out the lyrics, they aren’t that bad, kind of tender and all that noise. But the presentation? I mean at first I really thought the dude had down syndrome. But then I have to think, where else but Youtube is homie gonna get noticed? And he’s out there, doing his thing, as tweaked as it sounds. Now I will say that absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, explains him in the shower. You ain’t D’angelo playboy, nobody wants to see that. Anyway, tell me if I’m just being hyper critical or is ok to be embarrassed to be a black person whenever someone makes reference to this dude.
Explain the absence
I know that’s the question you’ve all been asking. “Is he dead?” “Did he have an aneurism?” “Have the sonic psychic sexy sirens from Saturn stolen his soul?” No No No. It’s all good in the boogie hood over here. The real reason is because I’ve been sitting on two interviews that I really want to put up but just haven’t had the time to transcribe yet. So I didn’t want to put anything up. But in that delay I managed to miss the one year anniversary of Afrogeeks. I’m a tard. Afrogeeks is gonna be doing bigger and better things in the very near future, that’s a promise. I’m talking full on website and shiznet, video, audio, cartoons, crack! Ok, maybe not crack. But all the other stuff. Stay sharp. In the meantime I’m going to re-post my initial musing on what Afrogeeks is as I believe its even more important now than ever before.
Given: That the relation between a people and their technology
is worthy of study.
Given: That black people/Negroes/peoples of African descent/darkies manifest flexible
interfaces with technologies not crafted in initial design.
Given: Said Negroes/ Black folks/cultural children of slaves/ Blacks, who consistently
search for new synchronic relationships with Mech (as in the mechanized technologies
designed for end users who have minimal understandings of software coding), have
an ambiguous relationship with mainstream Black culture and form an antagonistic
dyad with corporate commercial “Black” culture.
Given: The deification/(Archetype making project) of the Smith is a cultural practice
that still exists today physically in the continent of Africa amongst the Dogon
and within the psyche of all those whose melanin count is a consistent consciousness
making quality; It can be given credit for magical thinking/magical realism/science
fictions/ and speculative frictions.
1. The digital divide is nothing more than a ride around the real issue, an undeserving
educational system which is self-perpetuated by slave mentalities.
2. Black youth are consistently the trend setters in non computer based Mech (see,
pagers, cell phones, Bluetooth, Blackberries, DVD players in cars, etc) and yet
are still mislabeled as being technologically behind
3. You can’t be a part of the real hip-hop for over three months without
knowing what dope producer programmed her/his beats with.
It has become necessary
…for a symbol, a nime, phenomenological psychopomp
that can encapsulate everyone from Octavia Butler to Alice Coltrane and still
leaves room for the unborn un-reality makers who perform in the void that we all
coalesce from; A banner that those geeks of African descent who can quote Deep
Space Nine can join under; A standard by which those Samuel Delany junkies who
bump Outkast can stand by; A flag black comic book readers can wave to distinguish
themselves with; A sign posted on the doors of houses where little nappy headed
children are educated about orishas, griots, the symbology of the dollar bill,
while given sonic guided tours of John Coltrane’s Interstellar space; A
warning in the form of an E.M.T. ray (Etic mech tech- Non sentient technology
that offers any new technology it encounters such a foreign interface that the
tech begins to break down, either quickly or slowly depending on the intensity
of the ray.) to the cultural pimps, the scavengers of custom, the marketing maggots,
the acidic academics that lack praxis, telling them in no uncertain terms that
the afrogeek is here fore and ever more strongly associated with their anti-hegemonic
brethren, the alternablacks, the non thug associated celebrators of post soul
anti-commodity negritude plus X-And they are no longer to be FZUCKED WIT.
We invite the new rituals, the sacrifices of sweat,mech, tech, soft and hardware.
We refute the nationalization project of some of our folks but wish them well.
We see the nation as a colonial project that has no choice but to copulate with
the corporate structure. We on some other. Some party and some bullshit…but
with lazer guns.
Also, Totally random, but as some of you may or may not know, I love black people with accents. I can do a pretty good Ghanaian accent, and my British accent had some yardie boys fooled. But I swear to all the gods you’ve forgotten about I love me some cute sexy black British sci-fi accent. And the new companion to the longest running sci-fi series ever on TV, Doctor Who, is a Black Iranian woman. Love her, be her. The actress is half black and Half Iranian. She’s cute and all, but it’s the voice. I’d say run out and check out the new Doctor Who but its only available in the U.K. Unless you do like you supposed to do with the technology thing and get yours!
Meanwhile, expect more soon. I’ll be posting much this week and the next. Stay smart chillins. And remember the original black woman coda:
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."