Black History Month ’10: Gonna Work It Out

January 20th, 2010 by | Tags: ,

We’re about a week and a half from February, so I figured it was high time to talk a little about Black History Month ’10.

I made a mistake focusing so much on superheroes and the past in the last two Black History Month marathons I’ve run on 4thletter!. This year, for the third volume, I want to do something different. I want to focus more on context and more on the future. Sometimes, that will involve examining the past, but I’m hoping that it won’t be so… bitter.

I’m twenty-six years old, black, and male. I grew up listening to rap, jazz, and gospel. I like movies where everyone smokes cigarettes, violence lurks in dark corners, and bad men do bad things. I’ve been reading comic books since I was six or seven years old. Superheroes, rap, and crime fiction are in my DNA. The only black experience I know is my own, but over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to both clearly illustrate my personal experience and to step outside my comfort zone.

As far as the past is concerned, it is what it is. We’re stuck with what happened and we have to live with what we have. I’m bored with getting angry over things that happened ages ago, and I’m tired of being mad at comics. I’d much rather talk about the future. There are a lot of things happening that I like and I’m hoping to shine a light on them. Life is good, man.

I want to thank everybody who pointed me toward a bunch of black creators. There are a lot of people I’d like to talk to, but my own weakness with their work or time constraints prevented me from getting in touch with them. Sometimes I just couldn’t get into it for whatever reason. Sometimes, honestly, I just didn’t have anything to say. I have some people lined up whose work I enjoy, though, so keep them fingers crossed.

Posts won’t be daily this year. Quality over quantity. I’m currently planning two or three a week, not all of them from me. I have a lot of ground I want to cover, and I’ve done a lot of thinking about this over the past year. At the same time, by this time last year, I had ideas for every single post written down. This time, I’ve just got a few blocked out, some little more than titles, and am gonna be flying by the seat of my pants and trusting that it’ll come together in the end. I may fall flat on my face, I may end up retreading old ground, I may end up writing something good. I dunno. Time will tell. I’m still taking suggestions as well, so if you’ve got ’em, shoot ’em on over.

Stay tuned.

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

4 comments to “Black History Month ’10: Gonna Work It Out”

  1. I’m looking forward to this year’s Black History Month feature. I’m a big fan of previous years’ articles. I’m actually of mixed Asian/Caucasian ancestry, born and raised in a very multicultural part of Canada, so although I can’t directly relate to some of the issues that are brought up in an American context, quite a lot of it still resonates. (Forgive me for not being able to pull any specific examples, just that I wanted to say that Black History Month is important for everyone of all origins.)

    As for article suggestions, perhaps something on stories with people of mixed ancestry, whether they’re black, asian, native, white, latino, etc.? I don’t know if there is enough comic book material to work with, but that’s something that maybe could be chewed on. I personally can’t think of any characters off the top of my head. It’s hard enough to think of any non-stereotypical Asians in comics.

    Thinking back, I used to be a big fan of the Generation X version of Jubilee when I was a kid in the 90’s because she one of the very few Asian superheroes characters who wasn’t a martial arts master. Who else was there available that I could remotely relate to? The enterally angry Sunfire? The Silver Samurai? If there were other options, I wasn’t aware of them in the zeitgeist of the 90’s. Some good options like Cassandra Cain showed up later, who despite being a martial artist, honestly can be written as a terrific character.

    Another angle, to quoth Public Enemy from “Fear of a Black Planet:”

    “Man, you ain’t gotta worry ’bout a thing
    ‘Bout your daughter, no, she’s not my type
    (But suppose she said she loved me?)
    Are you afraid of the mix of black and white?
    We’re livin’ in a land where the law say
    The mixing of race makes the blood impure
    She’s a woman, I’m a man
    By the look on your face I see ya can’t stand it”

    Maybe there can be a comic book exploration of these themes?

    Just an idea. Don’t forget to have fun with the writing too!

  2. Looking forward to this year’s Black History Month. Looks like a lot of productive discussion is coming.

    Oh, quick thing. The fourth paragraph looks incomplete at the end.

  3. Interesting plans. I’ve noticed you seem to be talking more about manga in the past few months, do you suppose there’s any intersect between the two topics worth exploring? Probably not, I don’t think, but it’s worth asking.

  4. Maybe we should mix your Black History Month posts with my wrestling posts and discuss what a magnificent human being Mark Henry is.