Author: Michael Davis

Michael Davis: From The Edge – The Hidden Beach

This will be hard to believe, but the truth is I seek neither understanding nor accolades regarding my work here and at Bleeding Cool. The bravado and swagger I write with is, more often than not, part of the attitude I’m trying to convey in the article. Frequently, that does not come through – what does is my seemingly “I could give a damn” attitude.

Once that becomes the takeaway from what I’ve written, admittedly I do enjoy throwing fuel on a fire. That is a dick move and it’s clear I can be a dick.

That’s not hard to believe.

There is a reason and a purpose behind everything I write and how I write it. It’s not just the rewards that come with it. One day I’ll write the “Why” of what I do, but today I’d like to give my little contribution to Black History Month.

My secondary goal in the comic book industry is to grow the industry. Grow it with people of color who come in with a keen business sense and unquestionable professionalism. My Bad Boy Studio Mentor Program has done a pretty decent job at that. Unlike a great many studios that produce talent, the artists and writers who come out of my studio, don’t draw or write like me (Thank you Jesus! is now being shouted at DC Comics) that’s never been my thing. I’m about young creators being successful to that end; I’m not looking to influence anybody with my technique.

That’s my secondary goal and for years I’ve tried to do away with it as a goal, I’ve been unable to.

Surprise! Yeah, I’m tied of all that mentoring shit. What I really want to do is direct.

Unfortunately, try as I might to leave the future of creators of color to others, so I might pursue my real first love (Directing? Nope; was joke) unrestrained by the wailings of those bastards ungrateful for my invaluable teachings. Alas that is not to be, I’m simply much to good at it and vanity prevents me from leaving. Yeah, I’m vain. That cannot news to anyone.

In certain circles I have a reputation as a deal maker and I do so love to close a good deal. With that in mind, some may believe my first goal is business. How little you people must think of me if money is what above all is what I seek.

It most certainly is not.

It’s money and power.

Remember, first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the pre-nup, then you get the woman. What?

Okay, bad jokes aside, my first goal in comics, what I delight in, is the creation of a new universe.

My greatest joy professionally is constructing worlds, building narratives filled with infinite possibilities limited only by my imagination. Yes, they feature but are not limited to characters of color, but just as important to me is making something so damn cool it boggles people’s minds that it has not been done before.

But to do that, I had to take care of some business first. A business that started a longtime ago in a housing project far, far away…

For as long as I’ve been in the industry, I’ve wondered why certain things that seem obvious to fans are seemingly impossible tasks to achieve in the industry. Since I was a kid, a shared TV and movie universe was a dream all of my fellow comic book fans wished for. We just did not understand why it couldn’t be.

The biggest superhero television moment of my life is still when The Green Hornet showed up on Batman, and that was 40 plus years ago! It’s incredible; although I was decades away from being born I remember that. What?

Almost 50 years since Kato kicked the crap out of Robin, Marvel now has a shared film and television universe and DC is trying to establish theirs. How Barry Allen showed up on Arrow was lame but I’ll take it. The comics industry only seems to act when pushed. Case in point: Disney had to buy Marvel before a Justice League film became a reality. So in a very real way, Marvel green-lit DC’s movie.

Twenty years ago, while speaking at Pro Con, I proposed to the industry we set up Ad Council. One of the things I wanted to do was a comic book TV commercial. I thought it was a real easy sale. It made sense and I volunteered to pay the entire up front costs to set up the council and the first commercial.

I would have gotten more interest if I suggested we start doing snuff comics.

I know what you’re thinking and I’m with you – I still can’t figure that one out.

What I’ve learned to do is not wait for the comics industry. That’s enabled me to get comics into markets sought after but not served by the rest of the industry. I’ve been able to get major comic book lines into the African American Church and mainstream Christian market, public schools, hospitals, and related health care facilities. The series are distributed nationwide, and in the case of The Guardian Line, nationwide and Africa.

These are really major comic book and graphic novels, produced by major comic book creators. Creative and production costs for each, The Guardian Line published by Urban Ministries Inc. and the Action Files published by Simon & Schuster and Pearson Learning, were budgeted well over a million dollars.

The Guardian Line debuted 10 years ago. The Action Files turns 20 this year. Each universe is still sold today. One of the reasons the lines were successful in aimed markets is with targeted television (gasp!) commercials and venues.

More than two decades ago at the same Pro Con I saw my Ad Council and commercial idea shot down like an unarmed black kid, I suggested targeting conventions, tradeshows, and book fairs outside of the comic book market. My Pro Con pitch to creators and publishers netted me a big “you stupid” from the audience – it simply did not add up for them.

Maybe it’s the new math, they’re having a problem adding up. Let’s see now, take 20 years in the schools add 10 years in the African American Church and Christian market, that equals 30 years of revenue.

Who’s stupid now?

Publishers scoffed at my new market suggestions; however, some retailers embraced them. In a series of articles I wrote for Diamond Retailer, my recommendation was met with a resounding thumbs up. I received tons of thank you letters from retailers who followed my advice or were intending to do so.

Underserved markets can still be reached with very little outlay of capital.

Black Expos, Latino Festivals, Block Parties and civic organizations are ripe for the comic book market. And not just for books that feature characters of color. Comic books are great sellers regardless at these venues.

The end user is very often not who is buying the product at these forums.

Parents and grandparents buy for their kids and teens. Siblings and significant others of comic fans purchase for them. Extended family, friends, and teachers are among the many types of folk who would not typically be inclined to go to a comic book store. This approach makes sense for retailers and creators who are trying to build an audience outside of the mainstream comic book market, which is a mess. Comic book publishers still and have always cannibalized off each other. Everyone’s chasing the same buck.

Back in the day this was a concern to publishers. Now, they could care less about the comic book market. Disney didn’t buy Marvel to sell comics. They bought Marvel to sell everything based on comics. Make no mistake – the real play in comic book publishing is the movie or TV deal and the merchandising that intellectual property will generate. Comics are still the redheaded ugly stepchildren of Hollywood and their corporate parent companies.

How ugly? So ugly, Time Warner rarely included DC Comics as anything but a line item in its Annual Report to stockholders.

That ugly.

While this article and many before have focused on the comic book business, that’s a secondary objective to me. I seek alternate markets, distribution, and new talent to reach diverse audiences who continue to be underserved because the industry gave me little choice but to do so.

So, back to me my greatest joy…

My greatest joy professionally is constructing worlds, building narratives filled with infinite possibilities limited only by my imagination. Yes, they feature but are not limited to characters of color, but just as important to me is making something so damn cool it boggles people’s minds that it has not been done before.

I think I’ve done that. I hope I have.

The Hidden Beach is the story of a very near, dark future, where the government dictates music, art, literature, relationships, and worship to the citizens of the United States. Anything that isn’t sanctioned by the current administration has been outlawed.

Anything.

You will pay the IRS one way or another, you will obey the law. If the police knock on your door, there’s been a mistake. They no longer knock. All government agencies regulate and enforce the new world order with extreme prejudice.

Any citizen caught enjoying unapproved music, worshiping the wrong God, loving the wrong person is subject to severe persecution. In a very real way, any free will you think you have, you don’t. The government of these United States of America wants to own what makes you… you.

America wants to own you – and if it were possible, your soul as well.

In the midst of this time of total and absolute subjugation, a talented Los Angeles singer named Angie Fisher continues to make illegal music in underground concerts, where the audience shows approval through hushed whispers of respect rather than loud applause. She’s resigned to her life of unlawful music and black market performances, but she’s heard whispered rumors of a group fighting the government and a place where she and others like her can live freely.

If they exist, the Guardians of Soul are said to be seven men rumored to have incredible abilities. Alone, they stand against the new American sovereignty with a singular purpose: to protect the one last thing the government needs to kill all hope of its citizens, the legendary safe haven for America’s soul – the Hidden Beach.

Angie prays the Guardians are real – they have to be. If not, she’s dead. The IRS is looking for her, and except for $2000, they are the only thing that can save her life.

Yeah, it’s one of those “in the not too distant future” yarns…with a twist.

Angie Fisher is a real person. The ‘7’ are real people with incredible abilities. The Hidden Beach is a real entity. Most of the supporting characters in the story are real also.

The American government I speak of is real…almost.

Think if you will what would happen if the most extreme of the extreme of any political group comes to power. It happened before in Nazi Germany and it’s happening now in North Korea and a few other places.

Both Angie Fisher and the 7, known as Naturally 7 have added something to this new universe, never done before….

Naturally 7

A soundtrack.

This is not a gimmick. This is a merger of music and comics I’ve been trying to accomplish since my days at Motown Animation.

The universe was created to be a part of the music. Indeed some music was created just for the universe. Its never been done before, except in the minds of comic book fans.

It’s got a beat and you can read to it. The Hidden Beach Graphic Novel Book One: Hidden In Plain Sight hits the stores December 2015. Angie Fisher’s IRS and Naturally 7: Hidden In Plain Sight, the album on sale now, notice the album design with artwork by yours truly and Bad Boy Studio alum Felix Serrano.

The beginning…

 

Michael Davis: Milestone 2.0 – I Was There, I Didn’t Get It.

There’s much more to this story at Bleeding Cool.

On January 21st of this year, the Washington Post broke the story of the return of Milestone. Missing from the Post and every article since about the new Milestone 2.0 was any mention of me. I’m a founder and co-creator of the original Milestone’s best-known property, Static Shock.

There was to be a statement from Milestone explaining my absence, but in the three weeks since the story broke, Milestone 2.0 has not issued any statement.

Because there was no statement, comic book fans, Milestone fans, and my fan (I had two, one died) took to social media speculating as to why I was missing. Missing from news stories and missing from interviews, which was curious. I was no longer a part of the new venture, but in all the interviews, I was missing from the history of Milestone 2.0.

When I did begin showing up in the news about Milestone 2.0, the articles were about me…missing.

I assumed I was left out because when interviews took place I was no longer involved with Milestone 2.0, even if I didn’t know that. Deciding not to mention me at all was a mistake. If consulted, I would have pointed that out. I did point out what a mistake it would be not to issue a statement once the story broke. I was told they would, but they didn’t. As it turns out, I was right.

I should clarify “right” in this instance. I think not mentioning an original founder, more active than all of the partners combined in keeping the Milestone brand in the public eye in the four years since we decided to re-launch, was a bad idea. It became a distraction, which could have and should have been avoided.

Milestone just may not see things the way I do, and “may” is a bit of a stretch. I think it’s safe to say “does” in place of “may” – all things considered. For their purposes, perhaps it was a good idea. Although what purpose that could be is beyond me. I freely admit I’m a different type of bird. Three weeks ago for a bit I wished I wasn’t – I wished I could just go with the flow. I did this wishing while crying like a little bitch. I actually started to wonder whether or not I’d made a mistake.

Before I continue, I think it’s wise to address my new readers I know are out there. I know this because of the massive amount of emails being forwarded to me since this started.

I write with few inhibitions – I am who I am. I cry when in pain. My favorite movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding. I collect Barbie dolls. When I met Barbara Streisand, my first words were “Now I can die.” She gave me this huge hug and I wept.

Yes, I’m gay. I’m a lesbian. I like women.

I also grew up in what’s now considered, one of, if not the worst housing project in New York City. Two of four of my immediate family were murdered. My sister Sharon Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s sister Sharon Hawkins among the two. The last two people who stepped to me regretted it instantly and I ended up in jail, see theme song below.

My life can be summed by my motto: Each One, Teach One, and my theme song is Ice Cube’s, “Wrong Nigga to Fuck With.”

But I digress. Peter David owns that line. I stole it; I had to – look where I’m from. Many people think my bravado is from the hood I came from. It’s not. I get that from my mother. It was because of my mother that I thought for a few days that perhaps I should adapt my outlook.

And it was because of my mother I was crying so fucking hard. The Milestone decision piggybacked onto her death, still as fresh as the day it happened. Don’t misunderstand me, I was crying over the Milestone decision, but the severity of my outburst had much more to do with pain I was already in.

Otherwise, it never would have hit so hard because I saw it coming.

I knew years ago it might turn out like this. In fact, I documented my thoughts in writing and in person. I shared my apprehension with some of the biggest names in the industry.

In emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings, I’ve had the, “It seems the way this is moving may prevent my involvement” talk with 10 people. If ever something I claim is questioned I’m not going out like some bitch, I’m providing proof. Brian Williams, I am not. If I say a bomb hit me, out comes the videotape.

And a bomb did hit me. Believe that. I keep telling people I see the future, but no one listens. Pity.

I’ve wanted this (Milestone 2.0) and worked towards it for 16 years. On Bleeding Cool I wrote 15 years, but that was wrong – I double-checked and it was 16. Yeah, I keep everything, and I keep it forever.

16 years ago I met with Bob Johnson, then CEO and owner of Black Entertainment Television (BET), and one of outcomes of that meeting was BET’s interest in funding Milestone. Also present in that meeting was Debra Lee, who is now CEO of BET, and my producing partner E. Van Lowe. The meeting took place at Mr. Johnson’s suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

That night I was on the phone with all three Milestone founders, but not together.

I talked to two on one call and spoke to another separately. We were all to sleep on it and decide whether or not to pursue it. Founders were knee deep in their own careers, so it wasn’t an easy decision.

The next day I was again on the phone, first with two founders, then with the other. On one of those calls, the idea was floated to do the BET deal without one of the original founders. This was a business decision, for whatever reason.

I said no.

It was my deal; once I said I wouldn’t do it unless we all did, the deal was dead. For a long time I was conflicted on whether I’d made the right choice.

Nah. I wasn’t. I was fine with it.

16 years later, here we are again, kinda. Dwayne’s gone. The big guy was more Milestone than all of us put together. There’s some talk that Dwayne and I were on the outs when he died and that’s just bullshit. I’ll be addressing that in an article fairly soon. Like I said, I keep everything, and there’s a lot of history Dwayne and I shared few people know of.

Dwayne’s gone and Reggie Hudlin has joined Milestone. There’s talk that Reggie is replacing Dwayne. More bullshit. Reggie has been interested in being a part of Milestone for as long as I can remember. In fact, Reggie was on our short list when Denys and I went over names to invite in. That was the very weekend when Denys came up with the idea for Milestone at the San Diego Comic-Con 22 years ago.

I don’t remember if we asked him and he said no, or we didn’t think he’d be interested because even then Reggie was making big movies. Whatever it was, it does not change and no one can deny that Reggie has always been a major supporter and fan of Milestone. Thinking anyone could replace Dwayne is as stupid as thinking Reggie would even try. Before Dwayne died there was talk of Reggie becoming a part of Milestone.

That would have been something – really, really, something.

Denys Cowan and Reggie Hudlin have been a team on a few projects, all great. Partnering to do Milestone is a motherfucking throw down to the rest of the industry to look the fuck out. Yes, the rest of the industry. Not just those who do Black Comics.

Milestone never did “black” comics. Milestone is and has always been a black-owned company, yes, but producing comics that feature but is not limited to people of color.

Three weeks ago, I was sad at first. Then I was livid. Livid because of things that were said to me and how they were said. Now? Now, I’ve moved past all of that. I can do that because I see the future and I can prove it. Remember how I was left out of the Milestone 2.0 announcement?

Kinda like this:

All the Milestone partners, save one, will receive credit. 

Let the name of Davis be stricken from every book and tablet

Stricken from all press and news

Stricken from every mention of Static.

Let the name of Davis be unheard and unspoken,

Erased from the memory of Milestone, for all time.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

I wrote that for a ComicMix article last November. Scary eh?

Like I said, I’ve moved past anger and sadness, like Jay Z: I’m off that. 

I’m off that, but I’m on a path, both creative in practice and righteous in my mind. It was right for me to make a stand for all four founders in 1999. To me that wasn’t business, that was the right thing to do. That was my mother’s influence and I’m my mother’s son.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails from people telling me they won’t support Milestone without me.

No. Wrong. Don’t do that. The world needs Milestone 2.0.

The world needs Darryl to keep on making comics, DMC, Mad Square Enterprises, Boondocks, Aaron McGruder, The East Coast Black Age Of Comics, Brandon M. Easton, N. Steven Harris, Watson and Holmes, Paige Tibbs, The World Of Black Superheroes, Ryan Fraser, Erika Alexander, Tony Puryear, Concrete Park, Joe Illidge, Walter McDaniel, David Walker, Shaft, Maia Crown Williams, MECCAcon, Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle. Hell, the world needs Ania and Big City Comics. The former did horrible books and hated me then; the latter does fantastic books and hates me now.

And the world even needs Tyrone Cash, if, for no other reason, than to show how not to do a black character. We need as many African American comics, creators, and publishers as we can get. We cannot let anger, righteous or not, keep our eyes off that prize. Although there are some who don’t think so, they need Michael Davis. They will find that out soon enough. I do big things and what I’m about to do is the biggest.

Like I keep saying, I see the future. To be fair, I was wrong, once. Nah. That’s bullshit. I’m never wrong.

Those who are interested, watch this space. Those who doubt me, watch me work.

 

Michael Davis: No Respect. No Wonder. Part 2

Part 1 of this series can be read at BleedingCool.com

static comicmixHollywood, I’m sorry. I’ve been wrong.

You’re not responsible for the overwhelming opinion the general public has of my industry being just for kids. Yes, SDCC is our house, but our house is all fucked up. We deserve to be viewed as nothing but geeks, nerds, and children. We are not ready to play at your level, not even close.

We’re selfish, shortsighted, and stupid. Not all the time, but so often we’ve become a joke to the French and Japanese comics industries. Comics, one of the few original American art forms, are recognized as such by a country whose ass we had to save and a country whose ass we nuked. Yet we’re the joke.

And we deserve to be.

As an example, in about two weeks it will be a year since I sent an email to Variant Comics. It was my tongue-in-cheek attempt to be funny while addressing an important issue. The fantastic video they produced featured wrong “created by” credits.

The response I received wasn’t exactly what I expected. They said they would correct the issue: “We have already added a correction in our next episode to explain that we missed you and Denys as additional creators.”

But they did not think I was funny:

“I have not responded (quicker) because I do my best to steer clear of rude or aggressive correspondence.”

They thought I was being a heavy-handed bastard. Not my intention, and I immediately apologized with the following:

I bear you no ill will. I was being sarcastic, and if you read my Bleeding Cool piece, you will see I underscored time and time again how much I admire what you are doing. My goal was to show how a great piece with wrong information could do some injustice, but in no way did I ever think you guys would take to heart my FB email. I “liked” your page, I took every chance I got to say just how good your stuff and site is.

Clearly you don’t remember we met some time ago, and as such I thought you would get the joke.

My bad.

Really. My bad.

On the real, I meant to do nothing but poke fun and draw attention to the credits; it was never my intention to insult (except in jest) you or your people. Please accept my apology. It pains me (really) to think my attempt at satire fell short.

If need be, I will say what I just said to you privately in public.

I have no problem with that.

Again – I’m sorry. Try as I might, sometimes I just don’t see what others do. Truth be told most times I care not. This time I do.

The Bleeding Cool article I was referring to foreshadowed possible future events and the real damage that short film could do. That article was not the only article I wrote about this over the year – there were several. Some here on ComicMix, some on Bleeding Cool, and some on my Facebook page, and yes, they were tagged.

Occasionally, I wrote another lighthearted appeal that ended when the “possible” became reality, and the damage sure as hell followed. Since then, I’ve been that Nigga.

Variant has changed nothing on the Static Shock film, and they have had a year to do it. The credits are still wrong. If they added Denys and I to the “next episode” explaining the oversight, how the fuck would anybody know? Those watching an episode of what may be a totally unrelated “History Of” may not even give a fuck.

Anyone going to the History of Static Shock video will see what I’ve asked to be rectified for over a year: the wrong credits. Nothing has changed there.

Nothing.

In that same year, plenty has changed with Static Shock.

Static’s getting a live action television show; Milestone 2.0 was announced; my mother, Jean Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s mom Jean Hawkins, died. In death Jean (that’s what I called my mom) joins my sister, Sharon Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s sister, Sharon Hawkins.

As I predicted, the credits cited for Static Shock when the two major media announcements were made are exactly the credits cited in Variant’s film.

I predicted this. The film was so damn good people assumed it was the official version put out by Milestone. The Static live action show and the Milestone announcements went all over the world.

The death of Static’s real life mom?

Nope. No one knew. Not even some young Static fans, cousins of mine from North Carolina who I met for the first time at my mom’s funeral. I’m not naïve enough to think my mom would have gotten a “Static” mention when she died. She wouldn’t have. But it sure would have been nice if my newfound cousins knew who she was before I met them.

Not caring about getting a creator’s credit right is just one example of the unprofessional, childish antics that are commonplace in comics. Missing deadlines, missing shipping, quitting books, taking advances and not delivering work.

Some publishers paying established talent page rates far below what they are worth while using any excuse they can to justify it. Some creators having no choice but to take pennies on the dollar. Artists and writers blackballed on someone’s personal whim regardless of what work they have produced or what they bring to the industry. Been there, had that done.

Hollywood fires and/or sues people who pull what’s routine in comics. Try pulling that missed deadline dead grandmother bullshit at DreamWorks. You’re gone. Take an advance from Disney and decide not to do the work. Rumor has it Tupac and Biggie did that. Yeah, that’s a joke, but once Disney gets done with you, you may well wish you were dead.

Hollywood does not play our games. Disney wouldn’t wait a week after the initial letter sent to you to fix some something that was wrong. Ignoring them, just like I’ve been ignored, (not a word since my apology almost 12 months ago) would just make them increase the level of legal pain they will inflict on you.

And if they think you fucked with their brand, costing them revenue? Wow. Just wow.

Despite our flaws, I love the comic book industry. I love this business even though some in the industry have not loved me back. On a few occasions some serious power players have tried killing me in the industry.

I roll like a boss; people are always trying to kill a boss. They try. I survive and grow stronger. I don’t go public when these things happen – what good would that do? Give Hollywood another thing to look at, point and say, “Look what these children do to their own kind.”

But sometimes … sometimes, there is no other choice.

I don’t want to hurt or hinder Variant in any way. I don’t want to sue or threaten to sue. They do great work, are good for the industry, and I really do like their site.

However, they have done serious damage to my brand. Repeatedly over the course of a year they have been reminded that they were doing so. I’m not alone in being ignored. Those who posted comments echoing me were treated the same.

I’d very much like them to correct the credits on their Static Shock film. I’d like the same credits that appear in every episode of Static Shock and Milestone comics, with one exception: add Christopher Priest. He was a creator and he deserves credit.

Variant, I’m asking you once again, make this right and at least in this instance prove Hollywood wrong. Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, Christopher Priest, and Michael Davis.

Let’s show the world we know how to act in matters like this. I’m sorry to say that if no action is taken, you leave me just one option.

End, Part 2. Part 3 can be read on Bleeding Cool and ComicMix next week.

 

Michael Davis: Never Say Never

AjalaHappy New Year!

I was never so glad to say those words as I was at midnight, seven days ago.

2014 was the best year of my life professionally. Without saying why, that’s saying something. On the flip side, 2014 was the worst year of my life personally.

All my life I’ve known that money can’t buy happiness. This pass year I’ve learned money can’t buy anything of real value. Not in my life anyhow, or so I thought.

What I want and need, I can’t have. Dead Presidents can do a lot but raising the dead it can’t and with that, way to telling line, I’m done with my self pity shit.

In six days, if Mr. Gold is nice and runs this piece today or in five days if he runs it tomorrow, the crowd funding efforts of Bad Boy Studio alumni, Eisner Award Nominee, N. Steven Harris and writer/creator Robert Garrett, will come to an end.

Hopefully it will come to a successful end because what they are attempting to fund is nothing short of fantastic.

Ajala: A Series Of Adventures is a coming of age story about a young black girl growing up in New York City’s Harlem. Among her series of adventures, discovering what it means to be a hero in a time and place where just being can be trouble is worth the price of admission.

Promoting a crowd funded project is something I’ve never done and for good reason. Once done, I can no longer tell people, “if I do it for you I’ll have to do it for everybody.”

Yeah, that’s out the window, just like I was when her husband came home. Be that as it may, this project is incredible, so I’ll gladly make an exception. I wrote earlier that money couldn’t buy anything of real value but added, or “so I thought.” Well, after seeing what this creative team has done I stand corrected, this story has value, this project has value.

If you take a look and find it interesting, please, drop some coin on the project and lets make it real.

Again, Happy New Year. Make it a good one.

 

Michael Davis: Without A Doubt

My beloved New York City had, until recently, a law on the books known as “Stop and Frisk.” In a nutshell, it meant if a police officer suspects, for any reason, that you may be up to no good, they can detain and search you. Guess who the majority of people being stopped are?

Black and Latinos. Or, as they are known to NYC cops, niggers and spics.

A New York State Of Mind. Nov. 1, 2012 Michael Davis World

I forgot that I’ve written about this racist bullshit law before. (Stop and Frisk) NYC is going to appeal the court ruling. Of cause they are, because NYC is run by a bunch of racist motherfuckers. The law has done nothing to curb crime, and the vast majority of people stopped are young black men. What’s funny is the vast majority of people found with weapons were white guys.

Seriously. Check the stats.

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy, Aug. 16, 2013 Michael Davis World

What happens when I don’t take my meds and voicing my ire on Facebook is not enough? What happens when I’ve had enough of seeing Unarmed Black men choked because They Were Black? What happens when I realize that I don’t eat skittles anymore because it just reminds me of an unarmed Black Child Killed Because He Was Black?

The Middleman Aug. 15, 2014 ComicMix

My life is not my own. It belongs to any cop having a bad day. Any D.A. wanting to get an uppity nigger, regardless of proof. My life belongs to any white racist punk ass bitch drunk in a bar or any racist coward with a gun who hates hoodies.

Like I said, why not cut out the middleman out and kill myself?

The Middleman Revised Aug. 15, 2014 Bleeding Cool

Despite the often-racist policies of City Hall and its Choke-An-Unarmed-Black-Man-to-Death police force, NYC will always be my home.

The Great New York Con Oct. 29. 2014 ComicMix

No resistance, whatsoever. None. Nada. He made No Move to resist while they were choking him nor did he make any aggressive move Before they threw him to the ground. While on the ground he repeated, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” His death was Ruled a homicide by the Medical Examiner.

Oh, did I mention the choke hold the officer applied was illegal? That’s right,

NYPD Forbids the use of that particular way of restraining someone.

Why? Because, it may cause severe injury or death. Watch the video on line; don’t take my word for ANY of this.

So, with none of this in dispute, it’s clear to me the officer will not have to stand trial.

Why? He was an unarmed black man.

Duh.

My Facebook Status in response to: New York bracing for grand jury decision in police chokehold case. Dec. 1, 2014 2 days before the Eric Garner Grand Jury announcement. Yahoo News (AFP)

As if there was any doubt.

My Facebook Status in response to: Grand jury declines to indict officer in chokehold death of Eric Garner. Dec. 3, 2014 day of the Eric Garner Grand Jury announcement. (PIX)

No. No doubt at all. Those are just a few of thousands of words, in dozens of articles, I’ve written about race over the years. Most have been rants about how black men are targets nearly all have forecasted the trend of killing unarmed black men will continue.

My Facebook status on Dec. 1 if this year, wasn’t my reaction upon hearing the cop who shot Mr. Garner was free to live his life. I let everyone know two days before there was no doubt he would walk. No black person I spoke to beforehand thought the cop would get indicted.

Not a one. My Facebook post described the overwhelming evidence against this man. The tape was clear as day, this man was guilty as sin and I wanted it on the record I knew that cop would walk.

He walked.

Perhaps, for some, who believe I often play the ‘black card,’ my foreseeing this outcome with such certainty, would demonstrate to them racism does indeed exist in the age of Obama.

Not only does it exists it targets black man.

That’s the reality of black men in America. No, it does not happen to everyone, however, if you are not black but know someone who is black, they know someone it happened too, if not them.

I guarantee it.

I knew the cop would go free, but I wondered what explanation would the ‘man’ give when asked how that conclusion was reached. I would concede whatever bullshit reasons those fucking murderers on Staten Island gave for taking his life if they explained just one thing to me.

I’d accept, agree and explain why regarding the following:

Murderers: He should not have resisted.

I agree. His hands were up while stepping back. Clearly he was readying his Black Panda Strike.

Murderers: He was really fat.

Yep! Thousands of fat people die from choking every year. Mama Cass allegedly choked on a sandwich! She was Fat. Simple changes in his lifestyle, drinking more water, exercise, avoiding being Black. If he only did the latter, I’m sure he’d be alive today…and thinner.

Murderers: He should have not been breaking the law.

On this I could not agree more! This man’s crime, selling cigarettes is the reason this country is going to hell. Put him down. Put him down like the animal he and that other unarmed black fat kid shot in Ferguson were. I mean what is it with these fat black kids? The kid shot in Ferguson committed the second worst crime known to man, shoplifting.

Our police officers put themselves on the front line every. Let’s not forget that! Remember the confused young man whom shot all those people at a Batman screening? My God that poor misguided young man had enough firepower to start a war. The police managed to secure him without firing a shot! Now that young man can get the help he needs.

Just the other day some 12-year old black child was shot three seconds after the police rolled up. He was in a playground, playing with a toy gun. What else could the police do? Park their car a safe distance away and, using that for a shield, speak to the child through a loud speaker, which every police car has for reasons just like that?

No, absolutely not!

Someone may have shown up at the empty playground and if the child had a real gun no doubt would have been killed.

Again I’d concede every bullshit point to the murdering bastards of Staten Island, say one. His death was ruled a homicide by the Medical Examiner.

The Staten Island Medical Examiner.

Just on the basis of that, the Grand Jury should have ordered those cops to trial. Funny, no one addressed that during any of the post press conferences.

Those police officers murdered that man. Eric Gardner was murdered and the world knows it. How can anyone look at that tape and tell me how does this man deserve to die?

All he did was raise voice in frustration, telling the officers he did not feel like being harassed and choose not to be someone’s bitch that day. If this had happened to a white guy, Y E A H R I G H T, it would be the funny story he’d be telling at his company Christmas party. It would be a joke.

Well, the joke’s on Eric Gardner. He’s dead.

Some months ago I wrote an article about cutting out the middleman, “middleman” being the officer who’s going to put a bullet in my head if I dare to look at him the wrong way one day.  Why don’t I just put a bullet in my own fucking head because any fucking white cop can decide I’m the wrong nigger in the wrong fucking place at the wrong time.

More than one of my friends thought I was going to commit suicide. I’d just lost my mother she was everything to me the last of my family consequently, I’m now all-alone in the world.

At my annual dinner at the San Diego Comic Con last July, I broke down in front of some of the biggest names in entertainment, sports and finance, when that thought hit me while welcoming my guests. Trust me, you have not lived until you’re crying like a little girl and Neyo gets up and hands you a handkerchief.

This has been the best professional year of my life and the worse, absolute worse year of my life personally. So it’s fair to say my mental state is not one where a confrontation with a police officer because I’m just not in the mood to be treated like my fucking name is Toby is out of the question.

That’s fair to say but what’s blatantly unfair is ending up dead because I know my rights and the day I decide to practice them by not remembering my place, I’m choked or shot to death.

This is appalling beyond measure and as you can see from the new shootings almost every day of unarmed black boys and men, it’s common. Those on the far right no longer have to wonder why so many black people hate the police. It’s simple; many Black people hate the police for the same reason Americans hate terrorists.

They are killing our young men for no other reason than they feel they have a right to do so. They don’t, and America is letting them know it as I write this.

Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle and I created Milestone to give young kids of color heroes that looked like them. The police were represented as heroes and role models and they are; just not where poor black kids live. Not where I grew up. I don’t live in the hood anymore but still feel the same way about police and with good reason. Since I’ve been living in my nice house on my nice hill, I’ve been stopped repeatedly and arrested once.

I don’t hate the police. I fear the police. This is not North Korea; no American should hate or fear the police except criminals. In guess that does mean I’m allowed, technically, I am a criminal, having taken a plea deal, rather than go to court on a charge, even with videotape evidence of my innocence.

That’s how much I fear the police and the courts. I still can’t bring myself to hate the police because I’m too smart to paint all police with one brush. It would appear that although I hold out hope that things will get better, as a black man, I feel it’s best for me to hold on to my fear and I will.

I don’t hate the police but without a doubt, some police hate me.

Because of that, in America today, I can’t breathe.

Michael Davis: White Power

Rupert Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in American media” He’s a lot more Australian than American but I think he holds citizenship in both countries. Don’t quote me, I really don’t care to know if he does or not. I just find it amusing that darling of the Far Right was born “down under” and many of those on the Far Right don’t consider you really American unless you were born here.

Funny. Ted Cruz was born Calgary, Canada. That’s something, eh?

Last week Murdoch said “Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are.” This was his response to the severe criticism being leveled at the film Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Ridley Scott’s film has taken a massive media hit because the movie is portraying historic people of color as…wait for it…wait for it…Wait…For…It

…white.

I won’t get into the rather or not the ancient Egyptians were black… OK, maybe a little. Noted American geologist Robert M. Schoch has written that the “Sphinx has a distinctive African, Nubian, or Negroid aspect to it. “

The debate rather or not the ancient Egyptians were black won’t be settled anytime soon. Who the fuck knows, they may not have been black as I believe they are. I will admit there’s a chance I’m wrong.

However, they sure as fuck were not white.

Rupert Murdoch has the money and media reach to do a lot of things. Perhaps one of the things on his to do list is to change history. Change is so people of color are wiped out of it.

Or maybe he just flunked history.

Either way, I’m having none of it.

I’m boycotting that movie, and I don’t know one person of color who’s not.

So, if you would like to join us, great! If not, that’s your right, or at least it’s your right before someone decides it’s not.

 

Michael Davis: The Black Hollywood Shuffle, Part 2

Niggers, Get A Fucking Clue

Please read last week’s installment .

Last week I recounted what happened to me, at the hands of a black woman, while backstage at The Arsenio Hall Show some months ago. I’m not pointing out she was a black woman, that’s not important.

What’s important is she’s black.

Most, from what I could see of Arsenio’s staff is black. From my brief time there, I noticed most were pleasant and helpful. But the woman who threatened to call security on me was anything but.

She treated me as if I was a dark skinned nigger from the country and she was a light skinned lady from a well-to-do Negro family. There was a time when many light skinned blacks built communities and excluded any black person “darker than a paper bag” from living among them.

How fucked up is that, eh? Not as fucked up as those people with that mindset and their communities are still here today.

The following is from the book Our Kind Of People by Lawrence Otis Graham:

Debutante cotillions. Million-dollar homes. Summers in Martha’s Vineyard. Membership in the Links, Jack & Jill, Deltas, Boule, and AKAs. An obsession with the right schools, families, social clubs, and skin complexion. This is the world of the black upper class and the focus of the first book written about the black elite by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group.

This very real, very wealthy circle is very serious about keeping dark skinned, working class Negros away from their way of life. That way of life is filled with all sorts of perks, privileges, access and money. They have no intention of sharing any of it.

Some black people in Hollywood in power positions filled with perks, privileges, access and money also have no intention of sharing any of it with other black people.

That woman on Arsenio’s staff may not be that kind of person. But regardless if she is or not her actions towards me make her one of “those kind of people.” As such, to me, those actions were unforgiveable. She had no excuse for ignoring, both my back stage all access pass, issued by her show and the pleas of everyone involved telling her she was making a huge mistake.

Her actions are unforgivable because black people in a position of power should always remember how the fuck we got here and pay it forward.

I love America but black people are still considered by many here as second-class citizens. In the case of black boys and men we are measured by even a lesser standard. The lives of black men are worth far less.

Today, another white cop got away with killing an unarmed black boy. That explains my angry subtitle as well as why editor Mike Gold will be getting this in the wee hours of the morning, once the verdict was in I had to address it so this article had to be rewritten.

The staffer’s actions prevented an opportunity to enrich the lives of young black kids as well as disallowed the most influential forum in African-American pop culture, the Black Panel (TBP), from honoring Billy D. Williams, life and work.

In the almost 20-year history of TBP only once was such an honor bestowed. That distinction went to Bill Duke. Mr. Williams was chosen and as the premier black science fiction character of all fucking time should have been given his rightful props years ago. Props, BTW, he has never received.

I’m heartbroken that within the small world of black Hollywood there are “those kind of people.” How on Earth did some of these people achieve the kind of success where that’s even possible boggles my mind.

Don’t they realize all they are doing is helping those already out to destroy any and all black influence in media? Let’s say, by some miracle they succeed, are they so dense they think they are now part of the club? Are they so blinded with hatred for their own blackness they think themselves safe?

At any time, any unarmed black man could be leaving a studio lot and be shot dead like a dog in the street. The cop that shot him won’t give a fuck if the nigger was head of programming at HBO or a head cook in a food truck. All he will care about is how long after he’s acquitted should he wait to write his book.

I’m sorry. I hold accountable every black person in Hollywood who thinks only of themselves and not how to move of our talent into positions where they can tell more stories.

I mentioned how livid I was in the first installment and I’ve outed people for a lot less than what she who was not named because of Tiffany did.

Who’s Tiffany?

Tiffany Haddish is the reason I haven’t outed the woman who put me in this foul mood by name. Tiffany is Arsenio’s sidekick on the show, although ‘sidekick’ is most likely not the best description.

I met Tiffany in 2005 when I was writer/comedy producer for the Tom Joyner syndicated variety television show. She is a force of nature, one of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and for the briefest of moments mentor. When I wrote a sketch, she was always, the actor I had in mind. It’s only a matter of time before she owns Hollywood, in my humble opinion.

When I left the taping without losing my mind, it was because Tiffany is everything that woman wasn’t. She’s caring and committed to not just her craft or herself but to others.

Back in 2005, I invited Tiffany to sit on the Black Panel the first time I saw her perform. She did not have the credits, but she was already a role model for young actresses of color. I left the Arsenio show without saying hello to my old friend, and that almost brought out my dark side.

It seems that the dark side is always out for many in Black Hollywood. Perhaps that’s the reason we stay in the dark.

Michael Davis: The Black Hollywood Shuffle

ICONThe image of Icon to the left was on Arsenio Hall’s Facebook page last week. There’s a funny story behind that. Well, its funny to me.

I like Arsenio. I like him a lot. I’ve met him a few times but we are by no means boys. Whenever I see him I’d like to think he remembers me but I think he’s just being polite. Each and every time I run into him, what strikes me is how polite and straight up real the man is.

Polite, straight up and real is raised to another level by a woman of his staff. What level? Putting it as politely as I can, she’s a straight up bitch, for real.

That level.

I was invited to the Arsenio show some months ago. Guests on the show that day included Don Cheadle and Billy D. Williams. It’s fair to say each have earned countless distinctive accolades but some praise could easily apply to both. Each is respected as wonderful actors from a legion of fans. They get the sex symbol nod from others and many only see two cool as fuck badass mofo’s.

Every geek and nerd sees little or none of that above noise. They don’t see Don Cheadle and Billy D. Williams hardly or at all. It’s War Machine and the greatest Black Science Fiction character to ever grace the big screen, Lando Calrissian who they see and that’s who I saw when I made a beeline for Billy D’s dressing room.

So, there I was talking some, down right, up right, San Diego Comic Con and Black Panel smack to Billy, his manager and agent both who knew of the panel and me.

That was cool.

Billy knew me also, well kind of. Each time I see him at some event or party, I tell him if he attended The High School Of Art & Design, my school, instead of the much inferior High School Of Music & Art, he’d be a successful artist today. Instead of having to fall back on that “acting” bullshit. No, I never mention I know he’s a successful painter, which would ruin a running joke nearly 20 years old.

But I digress and every time I do, Peter David gets a check a angel gets his wings and more readers get sick of reading that.

Where was I?

Where I was, about to finalize plans to honor Billy D at The Black Panel, was his dressing room, invited in by Mr. Williams himself. Then, she who would have been named but I’m not without mercy, entered and that, as they say, is all she wrote.

No idea what her title was for the show but she seemed like she was the senior, Self Hating Unhappy Negro – or SHUN. SHUN ignored my backstage credentials, ignored Billy’s agent’s assurances I was invited to be there, and in no uncertain terms told me to leave Mr. Williams alone. I tried to talk to her, Billy’s agent tried even Billy tried. She refused to believe I was not some lowly actor out to sweat Mr. Williams.

Waving a finger a hair away from my face she informed me I was one more sentence away from security being called. She was about one more inch from me becoming that nigger, but I decided against it.

No clue how I walked the fuck away without another word. I was so fucking livid I had to get out of there as my heart was racing and I’m sure my blood pressure was dangerously high and, honest to god, I felt my head was going to burst a blood vessel.

I left the building but by the time I reached my car someone from the show called my cell hoping I was still on the lot. It seems someone told SHUN who the fuck I was and just what the fuck I was there for in the place. Hint: it wasn’t to stalk Billy D. No idea to this day who I talked to but for their trouble they received a fuck you so loud it shattered the last bit of shield my brain was using to ward off a migraine and I didn’t care.

This level of pissed is rare. Even for me.

This was a big deal. You may not see it as such but yes, yes it is. Not for most reasons you would think I think. All my wrath and indignation is not towards this woman, my anger has little to do with her or what she did to me.

My anger is rooted in Black Hollywood and our rush to destroy what little we have.

Many in Black Hollywood, forget we are Black in Hollywood and I’m about to remind them.

End of Part 1.

 

Michael Davis: Happy Birthday to the two Sharons

Two Sharon Hawkins

Today is my sister’s birthday.

She would have been 60 years old had she lived. She’s been dead twice as long than she was alive. My sister Sharon Davis was assaulted and left for dead in a South Jamaica Queens vacant lot.

People passed her all night, if just one would have stopped and gotten help, perhaps my big sister would be alive today. Sharon was my inspiration for Sharon Hawkins who any real animation and comic fans knows is Vigil Hawkins’ (AKA Static Shock) sister.

I named all of Static’ family after mine. Among them, Virgil’s mom and dad, Jean Hawkins and Robert Hawkins, named after Jean Davis Lawrence and Robert Lawrence, named after my mom and step-dad.

Sharon Hawkins was my way of honoring and keeping the spirit of my sister alive plus it gave my mom a hoot to see her family all together in a way. My mom passed away June of this year and with her went the last of my immediate family.

Sharon Hawkins was the most popular supporting character in both the comic and the show. I’m sure she will be again when the new live action show premieres next year.

I’m happy to see my mother and sister live on. Except they aren’t, not really and why is that? Because nobody outside of my peers and extended circle know I created them.

Why is THAT?

Because motherfucking hack ass websites like Variant have ignored my pleas to set the record straight and they were asked almost a year ago and have been reminded quite a few times since. I predicted some shit would happen and make an industry mistake a national one and as always I was right.

Happy Birthday Sharon, I love ya sis, and although pussies like Variant have prevented millions of people from knowing you, you do live on in dozens maybe even hundreds of people who know you’re the real Sharon Hawkins.

Michael Davis: The Milestone Contract

Michael Davis: The Milestone Contract

As luck would have it I now know why I’m not mentioned as a co-creator of Static, although I created the Static universe from my own life story. I’ve just found the original Static Shock TV deal Milestone did with Warner Bros. and it explains everything.

Here, in its entirety, is the 1993 Milestone television deal for Static:

In the unlikely event that someone here in Hollywood decides it’s a good idea to develop a live action Static show, said show can ONLY be broadcasted on B.E.T.

The show must air after Sanford & Son but before Good Times. It is to be broadcasted at 2am every MLK Day, but only during leap year. 

The role of Arnold Hawkins AKA Static must go to Gary Coleman and the role of Willis (formally Richie) must go to Todd Bridges. If one of those fine actors is dead or in rehab the network will wait until they are both available.

All the Milestone partners, save one, will receive credit. 

Let the name of Davis be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all press and news, stricken from every mention of Static.

Let the name of Davis be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of Milestone, for all time.

So let it not be written, so let it be done.

Bruce Seti I, V.P. Business Affairs, Jan.15, 1993

Yeah, we signed that deal. We were young, what can I say?