Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vortex 9/29

"Vortex is a peek into the diverse richness of black music centering on musical genres such as: Rock, Punk, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronica, Avant-Garde Jazz, Ska and Future Soul as well as the heroes and heroines that are bringing this music to the forefront." -SOB's

I dearly hope to make a future Vortex event *_^ If you attend and flash pics and/or vids you'd like to share with the underground, drop a sistah a mail or comment.

Props to Kaos Blac for the intel.

Am I Not Human: Finding New Ways To Make A Difference


3 points struck me deeply, and somewhere inside of myself the night I finished watching it, I committed to finding a way to do more to support our human siblings in re-developing countries struggling to survive, through different methods. Lots of ideas passed through my mind. I thought maybe a 'PeacefulPens collective' could somehow connect with folks providing relief in refugee camps so we could put a face to some of the people suffering and write their stories. Not sure if that was the exact idea, I turned the idea around in my mind thinking maybe it should be a 'HappyEndings' children's story collective that would feature children from the refugee camps in Darfur and other areas in the world, with the proceeds going completely to funding [healthy] education and survival needs, but I want to begin something I'm sure I can finish surely and thoroughly, and am unsure I could handle writings hundreds, or thousands of short stories in a small space of time without assistance, as it can be hard (especially during difficult financial times like these) to find folks willing to offer their assistance with no promise of profit. Enough working pens would be necessary and no child refugee's story should be left out of such a venture.

So for now I've decided that I can have a trusted non-profit collect monies accrued from 2 forthcoming fantasy anthologies and have them donated in full to ensure healthy education, and survival needs are supported for survivors living in refugee camps, looking to start their life anew, with security, and hope.

Have you been giving thought to what you can do that might go beyond petition-signing, and days of blogging (both good and powerful things, but for those who can do more the need is certainly there)?

On behalf of all of my human siblings barred from communication, or denied the technology to express what they've been enduring at the hand of greedmongering and unimaginable inhumanity, I ask:
Click for more information.

Please see today's guestpost at the Roots of Humanity blog.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reviewed: Fame (The Remake)

Admittedly, I wasn't terribly excited about the Fame remake, but made it the advanced screening anyways, as I've liked Naturi Haughton's voice and presence since the 3LW days, and was happy for her that she landed the role.
She deserves the shine.

So myself, the teenager, and nephew waited through a disorganized intro-screening presentation, and a foreboding "If you're recording video we'll hang you by your boots and flay you" warning... I jest *_^ (They claimed they'd only have bootleggers ejected from the theatre), we were finally able to watch the film.

Fame-2009 kicked off with a gorgeous, even perfect intro into the film remake of a classic many of us know and still treasure. And because of that perfect intro my hopes for the film raised pretty high early on in the viewing, and I tell you, they almost did it.

They almost made the perfect remake.

The setting was a 10, the choices of instructors? 10, the actors/performers? 10.
Seriously, these kids worked magic with a script riddled with plot holes, managing to make the audience care because they pulled off the impossible with a mind-bogglingly poor script.

If it weren't for the script which is in itself a 3 out of 10 (in the spirit of generosity), the magic that was put into A+ musical and dance performances, solid acting, and a kick a-- setting, would not have been wasted. I hated that I could only say this movie is a C, when it had almost everything it takes to be an A. I feel for the actors. They deserved far better than what they were given. They deserved the award this film would have been destined to receive (maybe it still will receive one- The musical and dance performances were incredible) if only it had been organized in a way that allowed a set of stories within a story to be told.

The movie ended up being sweet.
That's what I can say walking away from it. It was sweet, and 'aawww'-worthy at times, because you fall in love with Naturi's character Denise, and all of the others, even though the script writers thought it would be okay to tell her and their stories in 7 or 8 mostly hollow scenes.

[Spoiler alert] Literally, the experience was like this: 'Bookish piano player meets fellow extremely talented musician type. Several scenes later she breaks down during piano practice and sings Coco's 'On my own' from the first film (which with scanty dialogue we can assume is a big deal because she's always doing as she is asked, making this a rebellious 'breakdown' moment we're supposed to record so we can make sense of the rest of the jagged puzzle pieces to come), Other musician type overhears Denise's breakdown moment and drags her kicking and screaming to an additional musician type (he claims 'She's way better than the other girls we've screened" [paraphrased]--- Of course we never saw the other girls screened), Music made by the three of them (we never see their studio sessions or even her first audition for them) is played at a party and though it's a hit Denise is scared to have her name attached to it because of her strict father, Major producer shows interest in song but only wants Denise as a vocalist (we never see demos being mailed or discussed), finally we see a gig where Denise has to perform and risk her parents finding out that she sings... and that's it. Choppily organized, I would say reasonably acted and definitely charming, but extremely hollow. This should have involved more scenes with 'show don't tell' , ethos. This film deserved that.

The plotlines of the other characters are pretty much delivered the same, with even less scenes in most cases. [/end Spoiler alert]

The original is a long movie (like 3 hours). Viewing the remake I realize 'Fame' has to be a long movie if we're to get to know the characters at all, and be spared leaving disappointed.

Grade: C (as in 'See if you can do better' in the words of my former think-teacher)

If you go to see it, see it for the incredibly delivered music and dance performances. They alone are worth the trip. Don't expect the well-executed story.

Do expect promising young actors you'll want to see again.
Do pray there will be a 3rd remake at some point that does it right.

Note: I am usually very gentle with my reviews, but I was very upset to see the script half-stepped when everything else was so meticulously delivered. It was very disappointing to walk away from something that could have been the perfect homage to a classic, but failed through no fault of the cast, casting director, music, dance and/or set director.
Alot of people obviously worked hard on this, only to have someone or a group of someone's drop a very necessary ball. Giving it a C was gracious.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Black Age of Comics- Chicago 2009

For those who missed other conventions this year, and equally for those who've attended, The Black Age of Comics convention organized by Onli Studios will be held in Chicago on October 10 from 9am to 5pm at 5015 so. Blackstone ave. in Chicago Illinois.

The event is described as:

The 12 annual edition of the original Black Age of Comics celebration of the movement and its contributors. Exhibits, fans, writers, artists, vendors, and workshops.

$5.00 Adults
$2.00 Kids

Check the details of the event page on The Black Science Fiction Society

Related conventions:



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Audiovisual Splendor- Del The Funky Homosapien & Tame One, Camp Lo

Del The Funky Homosapien & Tame One -Flashback

Hilarious and appreciated, feel-good, check-the-industry HipHop ^_^

Camp Lo - Son of A ""

The video message is questionable, but the lyrics, delivery, and beats are insane [in that good way].

Props to OKP for the intel.

Related Intel:

Qtip's Abstractionisms Album Promo for Kamaal The Abstract [Scroll down past performance vid]

Semi-related Intel:

Busboys and Poets celebrate The Harlem Renaissance [video]

ConsciousInk's Ever-growing List of Completed Diverse Spec Fiction Works

Peace *_^

Thought a list of completed Spec Fiction works from all genres would be good to have that we can bookmark and check back on when diverse fantasy and sci-fi finds emerge, especially so we can keep the fire going in spreading the word about under-known works [ahem Charles Saunders Sword and Soul, Sam Delany's High Fantasy stuff and of course the stars shining in the BSFS].

As you post a work with its creation year, I'll add them here. Would be really helpful if you could post with a purchase link online. If a book is out of print a link to a review of it so it's identifiable works. This list will include ALL spec fiction works by authors of color featuring characters of color, not just those released by traditional publishers. No one offering enchantment within the community for the community should be left out.

We'd like at some point to publish the list in Purple Mag. issues, to make sure the word is circulating out there about what's available.

List of Diverse Speculative Fiction by POC authors

1978 Dossouye Charles Saunders [reprint in 2008]
1979 Survivor by Octavia Butler
1980 Wildseed by Octavia Butler
1981 Imaro [reprint in 2006]
1984 Imaro II [reprint in 2007]
1979 Tales of Neveryon by Sam Delany
1997 Dawn: Xenogenesis Book 1 by Octavia Butler
1998 Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
1998 My Soul To Keep Tananarive Due
1999 Shades of Memnon by Gregory L. Walker
2000 Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
2002 Across Time: A Love Eternal
2001 Dahlgren by Samuel Delany
2003 Charisma by Stephen Barnes
2003 Lion's Blood by Stephen Barnes
2004 Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand by Samuel Delany
2004 Hogg: A Novel by Sauel Delany
2006 The Books of Zambarau-Maji Omnibus [previously titled MAJI] -YA
2007 Fledgling by Octavia Butler
2007 Seed to Harvest
2007 Immortal by Valjeanne Jeffers
2007 New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
2008 Zahrah The Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor [YA]
2008 Monsters 101 Book three- Graphic Novel [appears to be YA]
2008 Taste by B. Sharise Moore
2008 Meji by Milton Davis
2008 Immortal II: Time of Legend by Valjeanne Jeffers
2008? Retro-km Edward Uzzle [Wasn't this created way back? Please share proper creation date if you have it?]
2008? Ancients&Immortals Book 7 by Cailloux Williams
2008 Millennia War by Ashley Woods
2008? Fallen Heroes by Barry Nugent
2009 Shadow Speaker Nnedi Okorafor -YA
2009 Blood Colony by Tananarive Due
2009 A Kiss by Ashen Twilight by Rae Lori
2009 Meji II by Milton Davis
2009 Delroy In The Marog KIngdom by Billy Elm -YA
2009 Night of the Indigo by Michael Holgate -YA
2009 Long Juju Man by Nnedi Okarafor -YA

I know there's way more than this, but wanted to start off the list with ones I know off the top of my head *_^ There are definitely books ConsciousInk's already announced that need to be added to the list. Bear with a sistah. Been multi-tasking like crazy all-year.

Please help enter creation year and book links for the ones you know of, by adding them to the comments?
This could be a valuable tool for everyone overtime, and will definitely give us a list to direct others to when we're evangelizing Diverse Spec Fiction. If you list Euro-American writers, please indicate it in brackets next to the selections you add [in those works people of color should be main characters or at least very prominent to the story]. Please also indicate if works are YA [Young adult] so folks know what's meant for adults and what can be consumed by all ages.

Completed works only please.
I'll check comments and add books to this list as we go along.

Shine on

This page wouldn't be complete if you weren't given quality linkage of other Diverse Media Cheerleaders *_^

Enjoy them regular-like [check for updates]:

Black Science Fiction Society


ComeBien Books (Accepting submissions)


Black Eyed Susan

The Bottom of Heaven

Expanded Horizons (Spec Lit section)

Beyond Victoriana

Speculative Fiction Directory


Recently Launched and Calling All Black/Multicultural
Faery Whisperers: Black Faery Collective-[Satellite]

Sword and Soul [Media Group]

Know of others?
Please drop links in the comments *_^

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Moment of Yay.

Two legends have released their loooong-awaited albums for your listening elation.

Click the images to purchase.

Props to Rob Fields and Negrita for the intel.

Related Intel:

God, I love Pink! {a majestic performace}

Unrelated Intel:

Arise: African fashion

Infant mortality in the Black community

The first twitter novel gets signed

Rage: A Mini-episodic film.

Original Diaspora-Obscura

It's always refreshing to see representation of underrepresented culture in blogs that aren't necessarily set up to feature it. Ashe Mischief gets respect not only for her glamourous eye [as displayed quite regularly] but also for shining a light on Native South African fashion. Click the image to visit her blog post about the abundant flyness shining in the Motherland.

The original source of the photos can be found via Black Cigarette [the above layout was organized at Dramatis Personae].

Saturday, September 12, 2009

3 points

Peace. Protection. Punishment.

Our voices and ingenuity are still needed. How can we get the attention of politicians that will make a positive difference in the struggle Darfurees and Chadians have faced at the hands of the Janjaweed and the Governing of Omar Bashir that empowers them?

Are you a solid indie game designer? Can you create a game that will attract interest in masses of Americans and other national citizens to take action? Can you write a song that makes a difference, and donate the sales to aid refugees in need? Would you rather write a children's story, or dedicate a collection of art to supporting aid, protection, and education efforts for Darfuri's and Chadians? Will you design greetings cards that remind loved ones that they have the power to save lives in areas where the voices of the people have been assaulted? Maybe you love to bake, and can organize a bake sale and create a special Peace cookie. There are many ideas that will remind your local news, national, and international news that we haven't forgotten what happened in Rwanda, and know what is happening in Darfur, Chad, The Congo, Uganda, and Somalia for that matter. We know we have to make our concern known.

Our job is to raise awareness, write letters to our local representatives, to our President, to make our desire heard. Omar Bashir and those complicit in the inhuman atrocities that have targeted the innocent [likely over the oil in Darfur] must be brought before the International Criminal Court. It is essential to the safety of Darfuri's and Chadians, as well as the rest of the world. If crimes against humanity such as those exacted upon the innocents of Darfur and Bordering Chad are allowed to continue without punishment, these kinds of crimes can easily spread throughout the rest of the world and become seen as commonplace. We have the power to do something now.

What are you going to to do?
I'm over here brainstorming a master-plan for something I can do from my level of creativity, but for right now I can write letters to the government, and keep writing them, at least.

Eventually the government will have to start listening to what the people truly ask for, rather than invade lands criminally themselves. There's alot of clean-up to do and it starts with us.

Aqua Island- Hand on the Roc

I love dem.

Visit their Online Dimension here.

Unrelated Green Intel:

Currently eyeing the eco-chair. and the magnificent Flexible Love. Found during cardboard furniture research for Purple Mag.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Libertad Urban Farm


Pure inspiration.
The Blk Projek's first planting, which they dedicated to MJ [Rest in Peace], is an example of actions everyone of us can be a part of in our own communities.

Visit Tanya at SocietyHAE.
Visit the Blk Projek site here.

Related Green Intel:

Make your own seed mats
Indoor Bokashi Compost Buckets
Refugee Radio
Flower Chairs
Cardboard Bench
Composting toilets

Indiefied: Ramon Martins

Ramon Martin's work brims with magical realism in a cryptic 'you-can-wonder-but-you-can't-enter' sort of way. He has a very unusual hand on the fantastical, and suggested wonder-dark.

Visit his online dimension here.

Props to Marisa for the intel.

Related Intel:

Lynn Fraser

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lee and Low's New Voices Award Contest

I'm extremely hyped to hear about this contest. Props to Sir Trujillo for the intel.
If you have a never-before published story available that is 1500 words or less, multi-culturally focused, and you haven't published a picture book previously, get your submission in by the 30th of the month.

The details are here.

This press gets serious love for striving to produce fiction for everyone. May they flourish and prosper.


Indiefied: Marissa of Soul Goddess

The color and wonder in Marissa's work lushly retains its sense of curiosity and wonder, with inspiration becoming adventure upon the page. Gorgeous.

Visit her online dimension here:

Plg Arts Announces Openings for Makers [Handmade/Original works only]

PLG Arts is making slots available exclusively to vendors of original and handcrafted items [the resale of manufactured and mass-produced goods is forbidden] to participate in their 4th Annual 11225 Craft Fair on October 3rd. The streets will be closed off from traffic for the event this year, which means larger vendor spaces will be available. Bringing a 10x10 tent or canopy is suggested. Tables and chairs will not be provided.

The vendor fee is a gentle 30 beans [US Dollars]. The event has been organized not for profit but to provide opportunities to artists in the community so they may showcase and sell their work.

Click the above images to visit the events page at Society HAE.

The registration form can be found here

Related Intel via SocietyHAE:

Art space opening in Transformational area in NJ drawing comparisons to South street in Philly, and Soho[Affordable space]

Lisa Mclendon -If I could put the world on pause

An offering we can all relate to under current conditions.

Visit her online dimension here.

Props to Shevon for the intel.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blk Jks Release After Robots

The new Blk Jks album arrives today.

It's already reviewed as: "After Robots is probably the most important South African album to have appeared in the past 20 years."

After you finish with your cartwheels click the cover image for details and tour dates at Bold As Love. Click here to order.

Related Intel:
Click the poster to view the 1st part of the episode.

Props to Mz.Report for the intel.

Mr. Boyd- At What Cost

Lawd, there are a mind-boggling many gems in the underground. It blows my mind to come across an artist of Mr. Boyd's well-packaged caliber, and further drives home a point that can't be stated enough: The Mainstream is still slippin'.

Props to SocietyHAE for providing a platform that makes it possible to connect with a higher-level of artist than most are used to.

Visit Monsieur Boyd here.

Take this back to the cook. I didn't order another side of separatism.

I cannot believe there's a documentary such as this.

First, we don't need another Blue-vein society. It's wack, disrespectful, and reeks of a desire to reject the reality of one's roots in favor of striving to be as close to Anglo-Saxon [White] as possible.
At least in respect to The Ancestors who suffered in unimaginable ways for their beautiful and resultingly assaulted Black skin, let's embrace our Motherland roots. I am so tired of the idea of exclusivity attached to various shades of skin, and I feel continued labeling only empowers the mentality.

...Simply not seeing the need for more labeling.

Nearly everyone in America that is Black is on some level Multi-racial due to both forced and consensual race-mixing. It doesn't change the dominant genes that heavily-melinate us, and I for one am damn proud of my Motherland Roots.

Second, anyone who isn't 100% Afrikan-blooded can start calling themselves Multi-racial or bi-racial if they feel they have the right to say others [like President Barack Obama or Halle Berry, or Etta James, or... well you get the point] aren't Black enough to be called Black.

I know no one's going to tell me that my black behind isn't black-enough to be black. Them's fighting words. For real. The less than 100 percentage of Motherland-direct blood in my veins didn't stop the officer who ticketed me when my tire blew [literally ticketed me because my tire blew... True story], and then proceeded to insult me further by looking me over like I was a piece of meat he'd like to help himself to, did it?
It didn't stop my disillusioned and self-loathing Black Elderly Brothah the other day, who didn't know me from Adam, from calling me a Black B*tch, all-unprovoked like in the broad daylight of a Family Dollar parking lot, did it?
I mean he didn't call me a Bi-racial B*tch... or a White B*tch, as I was busy minding my business, did he?

Hasn't stopped some of the lesser enlightened European-rooted chics from trying to play the Superiorist-game [that Inferior minds play] with comments like 'Your hair grows so slow...'.

Black is Black.

The Black experience has struck all Blacks of varying shades and hair-textures, with separate-and-divide being the rule of the day that has successfully kept our community from achieving the level of self-love necessary for healing.

I cram to understand why it's so difficult to understand that the term 'Black' has been placed on those who, in reality, aren't White [Anglo-Saxon]. It's a political label, not a nationality. Do you know where you sit concerning these politics? If you're not Anglo-Saxon, you're not sitting at the White table. Even the Blue-Vein circle was criticized and called 'envious' by racist Whites. No matter how much 'white blood' they possessed, they were still considered Black.
Recognize that.
African [though even the name 'Africa' was imposed by invaders and isn't the true name of the continent] is a nationality. African-American is a nationality. African-Canadian, Brazilian-American, Asian-American, are nationalities as well.
[update for clarity:]When race is discussed nationality is used to identify all but the African descendant, and Caucasian descendant [in some cases Nationality is mentioned but not as a rule]. For the African and Caucasian, Black and White respectively become the terms used to identify race. Asians are not called Yellows on racial check-box forms. Native Americans likewise are not officially referred to as Reds. Latinos are often referred to as Hispanic [though the brown -skinned are usually referred to as Black also], and etc. The reality is simple. Black and White are social constructs. If you're the descendant of a kidnapped African forced into slavery, you're considered Black. If you're Anglo Saxon, you're considered white [some cultures may call a person White based on appearance, but in reality the imperialists wouldn't have it. White is Anglo-Saxon rooted. Period]. [end update]

Race is a social construct where the lines are blurred, because in reality we don't need it as a construct. White-supremacy needs it to fuel systemic racism and the power that comes from it for those leading the way into deeper levels of self-hatred for those who accept the idea that they're somehow less than, because they're not White.

Maybe I approached this as a rant. I don't know. All I know is, I am tired of this 'Not Black Enough' argument. It's just one more way to separate our community, when healing balm and unity are precisely what's needed right now.

While I'll acknowledge the 'Of Color' labeling, you won't likely catch me referring to myself or anyone else as bi-racial. With respect to my relatives of European roots, I am not European and would never be accepted by Europeans as European even with the degree of Europa in my blood. Hell, even the Irish aren't truly considered White, and were at one time considered Black.

Check the history.

This doesn't mean I won't acknowledge that I have Canadian and Native-American blood in my line. It does mean that I live the Black experience, and have always, always considered myself Black. Because I am. In reality.

We have to heal and embrace ourselves while carefully avoiding empowering jacked ideals of 'Superiority' in the Black community based on skin color and degree of Blackness in the blood.

For those of you who can't stand to be called Black take it up with the Slave-master of old who invented the 'One-drop rule' to let you know just what he thought of you. Take a trip to the more racist areas of the US and if you come back alive, let us all know how you fared telling them you aren't Black, but Bi-racial.

I acknowledge for some children of color who appear to be more European ( Wentworth Miller, for instance doesn't appear to have Black roots) than Black it can be a difficult road when dealing with folks who would question your roots, but those who don't appear to be 100% European are easily identified as of-color, and endure the Black experience on varying levels.

Your thoughts?

Update: I feel you Wadella.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Indie Pages: Neet and Lipstick Royalty

Neet and Lipstick Royalty have updated digi-issues on site. Click the covers to visit.
Both magazines have been known to embrace diversity and the content is worth the flip-time.

J*Davey - End of your world (Mama's Back)

I like the new release. It's fun. Probably would have made a better Summer release, but seeing as Summer'09 was wack for quite a few people, Fall might be the precise time for this gem.

I'm also extra-hyped about the Anti-pop consortium.

Props to OKP for the intel

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A.R.M feat. Brother Ali- Heaven Only Knows

Props.This is the first I'm hearing of Krukid and Manifest [def developing a girly crush on Manifest... Good Lord]. Nice work. Excellent to see Brothah Ali sharing a few bars as well.

Props to Liberator for the intel.

Friday, September 4, 2009

ConsciousInk: Excerpt from The Books of Zambarau (Maji Omnibus)

Excerpt from the Novella [in the extras section of the Books of Zambarau- Maji Omnibus]:

Of Kai

lit: Dazjae Zoem

My lips?

Silver Moonfruit.

Not for you.

Never to fill you.

Skin of night am I because I am root of dream, root of life

Waiting for you in my lies.

Rebuking you in my truth

with sore eyes.

I live in my head

The statement is literal

It is why I still live

I have blood-speak with my Mama, and her mama, and hers before hers.

I weave through patterns of genetic memory

to find myself

Knowledge of self is the goal

Didn't you know?

I find thought treasures

to build from them worlds beyond

average comprehension or... your comprehending

You call me autistic?

I am genius.

Yours is the illness

of normalcy and futile war with progress, programmed in your roots

I see everything, and I want less.

Defender of the weak, am I?

No. Uplifter of liberators your mental prison wardens

forbid you acknowledge.

Foolish, blind, labrats!

Shadow reflections!

...Empty roles.

Lying archetypes!

I am Faerie tale.

Phupha, Halfling Elf Child/Human Liquid Mind; Maji.

I free them!

I free them when I find them, and break their enemies.

Perhaps next,

I come for you.

Cont'd in digital and print via

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Napptural: Nina Keita @ Lecoil

Nina Keita, model. (via Gorgeous Black Women)

The Lecoil Tumblr is a sublime celebration of Motherland roots [if you didn't already know].

Calling our sister Alterna-femmes [and Non-Everymen]*Um-G7cRspyKgSfWTkXKqglpG51P/l_61cc13b53aa842e992717830f6e56fb8.jpg

Peace lovely green-ladies and gents. We're nearing the next release of Purple Mag, and would love to feature a DIY Style Spread for Underrepresented Alterna-femmes. Afropunkettes, Ladies with locs wrapped in Black Rock guitar bows, Femmes of Mythic proportions:
Send up to a minimum 6 images and a maximum of 15 featuring yourself or your model (s) in a visual storytelling excursion celebrating the Alterna-femme to: purplemag at
Indie designers, you're welcome to display your line in the spread, so long as there is at least a subtle storytelling aspect to it. Email w/ any questions.

No worries Alterna-Gents. We are definitely accepting submissions bearing style-spreads that celebrate the underepresented non-everyman. Submissions deadline: Oct 10, 2009. Images not included in issue 8 may be featured in future issues.