BLACK Friday: H(afrocentric)
It is extremely tough being Afrocentric in a Eurocentric world. On this Black Friday, I introduce a Black Comic Book series that goes by the name H(afrocentric). H(afrocentric) is a Black comic strip series that forces the world to talk about both the comfortable and the uncomfortable. Introducing controversial topics, H(afrocentric) challenges people to think about race, class, gender and sexuality through comic stories. It shows the direct correlation between social injustices such as racial inequality, gender inequality and political injustice. H(afrocentric) is often compared to Boondocks, but with more of a feminist approach.
Quick rundown of some of the characters: Naima Pepper is a Black feminist, Mile Pepper is a powerful musician who is apolitical, Renee Brown political sense is centered around sexuality completely ignoring racial politics, and El Ramirez is a Mexican and is very, very patriotic about being one. This gives us the blend of diversity we need to discuss the various social problems in the world today.
I think it is really important to show the world how interrelated oppression is. Oppression is one huge umbrella with racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, able-ism (the list goes on-isms) all coexisting under it. Imagine... just imagine being Black, and a woman, and poor... and gay. That's 4 struggles. No, that's 4 triumphs. Oppression is interrelated. There is no hierarchy in oppression. One cannot be better than the other.. or struggle worse than the other. We must spend less time comparing struggles and more time focusing on why there is a struggle to begin in. Who is the culprit? Better yet, how to rise above it? Often times we use our differences to divide us, when instead we should be using them to unite us. If you are not part of the 1% (male, white, rich, straight) then welcome to the rest of the world. I love that this comic book series exposes the reality of the world that we live in through the oppressed point of view.
H(afroentric) is curated by a team of three. Julia Smith, the writer, is also an educator, writer, cultural worker and organizer. She is the co-founder of Red Bike and Green in Oakland, California. Red Bike and Green is a grassroots Black urban cycling organization that focuses on the environment, economic and health in the Black community. Julia Smith is pro-people and I am loving it! Her contribution to the world is important. We need more writers who are culturally involved in our communities inspiring us to exercise our minds, our bodies, and our world. We should be reading these comics, exercising, and giving back to the world.
The illustrator, Ronald Nelson, is a NYC native. He is a creative who has worked in the fields of logo design, illustration, licensing, and tattoo flash. Nelson is extremely talented. He has exhibitions at the Jazz Heritage Center in San Francisco and Adobe Art Center in Castro Valley. He also created the illustrations for Original Ideas (company that creates workout equipment). Last but certainly not least, we have the colorist/letterer – Mike Hampton. Hampton’s work consists of an art portfolio packed with self-published comic books, pop culture references, digital coloring books, and graphic designing logos, album covers and business cards. He created Hot Zombie Chicks, Captain A-hole, and Eagle eye and the Quail.
Now this is a pretty cool team! H(afrocentric) brings awareness to the issues African Americans experience on a daily basis. It is about being afrocentric in a Eurocentric world mixed in with an outspoken sense of humor. I want great things to happen for H(afrocentric). Hopefully next time we see H(afrocentric) is on television as a cartoon. In the meantime, check out H(afrocentric) and tell me what you think!