Michael Davis: 28 Days Of… Afrofuturism?
It’s Black History Month!
Here’s a list of some of what’s happening in comics to celebrate the annual spotlight on Black America!
Let’s see now…
Over at the fantastic website Comic Book Resources (CBR) my friend and Milestone Media alumni Joe Illidge is doing a wonderful series of articles called The Color Barrier. I just finished a three part series over at Bleeding Cool titled Code Black.
Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture & Beyond, the major exhibit currently showing at the Geppi Entertainment Museum, has Black History month programs planned although I’m not sure why.
The exhibit itself is history all year round so I fail to see why special programs are needed for an already special exhibition. I can’t see it but by NO means does that mean Black History month should not be recognized as such at the gallery. I don’t see it but don’t go by me—I didn’t see the need to disclose to a woman that I once dated her mother.
THAT was a mistake.
What else is happening in comics for Black History Month?
Well, on February 12th Denys Cowan and I will be part of a round table discussion at Loyola Marymount University. The topic is: Milestone, Graphic Novels, Animation and Afrofuturism.
I have no idea what that means. I’m fairly sure it has something to do with Black people and the future but don’t quote me. Yeah—I could look it up or ask John Jennings what it means but what fun would that be?
Not knowing something about Black culture does not make me less Black. In fact it’s fair to say I’m not up to date on everything “Black” and I don’t know anyone that is. Oh—I’ve met Black people who think they are up on all things African American and as such think they can tell you why you are not as Black as them. Those folk think not knowing the words to “Lift every voice and sing” makes one less Black as does not celebrating Kwanza.
The truth is (at least to me) being Black has no special test you must pass. It’s about who you are and what gives your life substance as a person of color that has value. If you are Black you cannot be less or more Black because your point of view is not mine or mine is not yours.
You can however shape how others view Black people and that, most times (unfortunately) is the rub.
Joe Illidge, John Jennings, Denys Cowan and myself are always aware of how Black comics and creators are viewed in the industry. Our agenda for Black History Month is our agenda every month-there is nothing new about what any of us are doing,
We do these things all of the time although many in comics only notice during Black History Month. Most Black creators are always trying to share our experiences as Black creators. We work within an industry that still feels the need to celebrate February as Black History Month.
That’s not a dig—that’s most of America and all of the entertainment business.
I’m naïve enough to think that the comic book industry will one day celebrate creators not because they are Black or because they are a woman or gay but just because they are.
Some may only concede it in February and some not at all but the reality is African American History is American History, every month, every year, every day.