Veteran award-winning screenwriter and producer Rodney Barnes has established himself as a Hollywood mainstay, with his vibrant, emphatic voice and producing expertise securing him an overall deal with HBO in September 2020. From Adult Swim’s The Boondocks to Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Barnes has displayed versatility across a variety of genres in the industry’s largest and most influential programs.
Barnes is an executive producer for HBO’s Showtime pilot, which chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Showtime Lakers during the team’s wild and fast-paced golden years, executive producer of Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, a TV show based on Michael Bennett’s book of the same name in development with John Wells, and executive producer for Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga. The second arc of his critically acclaimed graphic novel Killadelphia was released in August 2020, with a television show in development at Levantine TV.
After attending Howard University in Washington, DC and working his first industry job as a production assistant on the film The Pelican Brief, Barnes was encouraged to venture to Los Angeles to pursue his writing dreams by actor and comedian Damon Wayans, whom he met while serving as a production assistant on the film Major Payne. Wayans guided Barnes through his early years in the industry, hiring him as a consultant, then later as a writer and producer, on ABC’s hit show My Wife and Kids from 2001 to 2005, for which Barnes was nominated for a BET Comedy Award.
Barnes then began work as an executive producer and writer on the critically-acclaimed animated series The Boondocks, garnering him a Peabody Award as a producer for the episode “The Return of the King” and a nomination and win for an NAACP Image Award. During that time, he also served as co-executive producer and writer on Chris Rock’s TV series Everybody Hates Chris from 2005 to 2009, for which he won an American Film Institute Award and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award. He was also a co-executive producer of ‘Til Death in 2010, consulting producer of Brothers in 2009, consulting producer on the TruTV sitcom Those Who Can’t, co-executive producer for the second season of Comedy Central’s Legends of Chamberlain Heights, and nominated for another WGA Award for his work on the 88th The Academy Awards hosted by comedian Chris Rock.
Soon after working primarily in network sitcoms, Barnes quickly established himself as a force in drama, fantasy, and horror, serving as a co-executive producer and writer on shows Marvel’s Runaways, Starz’s American Gods, and penning graphic novels Marvel Vs. DC/ Lucasfilm’s Lando: Double or Nothing, Lion Forge’s Quincredible, Marvel’s Falcon, and Secret Empire, leading him to his robust portfolio of projects today.
Aside from his work in the entertainment industry, Barnes actively participates on the speaking circuit, discussing his career, the media landscape, cultural/race issues, and comic book culture. Barnes resides in Los Angeles.Veteran award-winning screenwriter and producer Rodney Barnes has established himself as a Hollywood mainstay, with his vibrant, emphatic voice and producing expertise securing him an overall deal with HBO in September 2020. From Adult Swim’s The Boondocks to Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Barnes has displayed versatility across a variety of genres in the industry’s largest and most influential programs.
Barnes is currently executive producer for HBO’s Showtime series, which chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Showtime Lakers during the team’s wild and fast-paced golden years, and showrunner/writer/creator of Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, a TV show based on Michael Bennett’s book of the same name in development with John Wells at HBO Max. The second arc of his critically acclaimed graphic novel Killadelphia was released in August 2020, with a television show in development at Levantine TV, has been tapped to pen a creative feature for New Regency with Jordan Vogt-Roberts attached to direct, and is writing a miniseries based on the life of golf great Tiger Woods. As well, he has signed a two-year overall agreement to write, direct, and produce original content for HBO. He has also formed Zombie Love Studios, a graphic novel production studio that will both adapt and create original graphic novels published through Amazing Comics Publishing, Barnes’s publishing company. Currently, he writes Killadelphia for Image Comics and is scheduled to release three new titles through Image Comics in the Spring of 2021.
Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Barnes’s childhood was filled with books, comic books, television, and film, particularly in the horror, science fiction, and hard drama categories—influences that resonate in Barnes’s work to this day. Enamored by the power of words and language in forming compelling stories, Barnes dreamed of a career in screenwriting. After attending Howard University in Washington, DC and working as a production assistant on the films The Pelican Brief, Clear and Present Danger, Quiz Show, Major League 2, and a host of other films, Barnes moved to Los Angeles. Here, he continued to work as a PA on films such as Blade starring Wesley Snipes and was a stand-in for actor Michael Clarke Duncan on the film The Green Mile, where he met his lifelong hero, famed horror author Stephen King.
Barnes was encouraged to venture to Los Angeles to pursue his writing dreams by actor and comedian Damon Wayans, whom he met while serving as a production assistant on the film Major Payne. Wayans guided Barnes through his early years in the industry, hiring him as a consultant, then later as a writer and producer, on ABC’s hit show My Wife and Kids from 2001 to 2005, for which Barnes was nominated for a BET Comedy Award.
Barnes then began work as an executive producer and writer on the critically-acclaimed animated series The Boondocks, garnering him a Peabody Award as a producer for the episode “The Return of the King” and a nomination and win for an NAACP Image Award.
During his work on The Boondocks, Barnes also served as co-executive producer and writer on Chris Rock’s TV series Everybody Hates Chris from 2005 to 2009, for which he won an American Film Institute Award and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award. He was also a co-executive producer of ‘Til Death in 2010, consulting producer of Brothers in 2009, consulting producer on the TruTV sitcom Those Who Can’t, co-executive producer for the second season of Comedy Central’s Legends of Chamberlain Heights, and nominated for another WGA Award for his work on the 88th Academy Awards hosted by comedian Chris Rock.
Soon after working primarily in network sitcoms, Barnes quickly established himself as a force in drama, fantasy, and horror, serving as a co-executive producer and writer on shows Marvel’s Runaways, Starz’s American Gods, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and penning graphic novels Marvel/Lucasfilm’s Lando: Double or Nothing, Lion Forge’s Quincredible, Marvel’s Falcon, and Secret Empire, leading him to his robust portfolio of projects today.
Aside from his work in the entertainment industry, Barnes actively participates on the speaking circuit, discussing his career, the media landscape, cultural/race issues, and comic book culture.
GUESTS INCLUDE :: Reggie Hudlin, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, N Steven Harris, Alitha Martinez, Greg Anderson Elysée, Brandon Thomas, Carl Reed of Lion Forge, Newton Lilavois, Kenesha Williams, Bryan Edward Hill, Kris X, Selwyn Hinds, Larry Stroman, Tony Puryear, The Mad Twiinz, The Udeh Brothers, Kevin WAK Williams, Bizhan Khodabandeh, Khary Randolph, Chuck DragonBlack Collins, Dorphise Jean, Aiesha Little, Kimson Albert, Deidre Hollman, Ka’ramuu Kush, Dewunmi Roye Okupe, David Walker, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Troy-Jeffrey Allen, Nick Allen, Whitney Taylor, Joe Illidge, TaLynn Kel, Kadiatou Tubman, Nicole Smith, Bill Johnson, Michael Flood, Lynne Marie, Tyrone Jackson, Deirdre Hollman, Brian Johnson, Games on Krack’s Krack & Slapz, BeddoArt, Chris Herod, Dr Shamika Mitchell, Maia Crown Williams, and many more!
Reginald Hudlin is a writer, producer, director, and executive, born and raised in economically poor but culturally rich town of East St. Louis Illinois. Reginald grew up two doors down from the childhood home of Tina Turner, and two doors down on the other side from Brother Joe May, a famous gospel singer, placing him two doors away from heaven and hell. Warrington Hudlin Sr., Reginald’s father, ran his own insurance agency and was involved in a wide array of civic charities. He was the founding president of the local State Community College. Helen Hudlin, Reginald’s mother, worked in special education her whole life, from running a mental health center to designing and implementing teaching programs for gifted and learning disabled children. She worked full time while raising three boys and earning a PhD.
Hudlin graduated from Harvard with a magna cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies. His senior thesis was a 20 minute short called HOUSE PARTY! That short film lead to a deal with New Line Cinema to write and direct a feature film version of HOUSE PARTY, which starred Kid and Play, Martin Lawrence and Robin Harris. The film won the prestigious Filmmakers Trophy and the Best Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival and also received the Clarence Muse Youth Award and a New Visions, New Voices Award from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. HOUSE PARTY is one of the most profitable films of its decade and was critically acclaimed, receiving reviews from film critic Roger Ebert, the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and USA Today. The film launched a franchise, inspiring three sequels; a Saturday morning animated series and a comic book. When New Line Pictures successfully raised 100 million dollars in a public stock offering, HOUSE PARTY was the only film touted in their advertising campaign to the financial markets.
Reginald then directed BOOMERANG, a romantic comedy starring Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Chris Rock, Robin Givens, Grace Jones and Eartha Kitt. BOOMERANG made 130 million dollars worldwide, and the soundtrack by LA Reid and Babyface went double platinum, spawning one of longest running #1 songs in Billboard history, Boyz II Men singing END OF THE ROAD. That soundtrack also introduced the world to multi platinum singer Toni Braxton.
While directing BOOMERANG, Reginald also wrote and produced BEBE’S KIDS, the first African American animated film. BEBE’S KIDS was based on the comic routines of the late Robin Harris, who played “Pop” in HOUSE PARTY. Hudlin then created COSMIC SLOP, a Twilight Zone style anthology hosted by George Clinton for HBO. The special went on to win two CableAce Awards and is still taught in universities across the country.
Expanding into new genres, Hudlin directed THE GREAT WHITE HYPE, a boxing satire starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, Jamie Foxx and Jon Lovitz. That film was followed by THE LADIES MAN with Tim Meadows, Will Farrell and Julianne Moore and SERVING SARA with Matthew Perry, Elizabeth Hurley and Cedric The Entertainer.
Hudlin produced Quentin Tarantino’s film DJANGO UNCHAINED, starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Don Johnson. The film has won numerous awards, including two Golden Globe Awards and two Oscars, and it has become one of the top grossing Westerns of all time. Hudlin adapted Quentin Tarantino’s original screenplay for DJANGO UNCHAINED into a graphic novel. He is the executive editor of the direct to comic book sequel, DJANGO/ZORRO.
The next film Hudlin produced was Gerard McMurray’s BURNING SANDS, starring Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris and Trevante Rhodes for Netflix. It’s a powerful drama that digs deep into the world of Black Greek life that people could not stop talking or tweeting about. Reactions to the film had Twitter going crazy. Critics agreed, the film garnered tons of praise and is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
During his more than three year tenure as the first President of Entertainment for Black Entertainment Television, Hudlin created some of the highest rated shows in the history of the network including the award-winning KEYSHIA COLE: THE WAY IT IS; AMERICAN GANGSTER; and SUNDAY BEST. Under Hudlin’s stewardship, BET had its first ever telethon, which supported Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. He created the BET HIP HOP AWARDS and the BET HONORS – two successful network franchises. He created a profitable home entertainment division for the network and completely rebuilt the news division, which went on to win 13 awards in two years.
Hudlin was a producer and director of THE BERNIE MAC SHOW and directed the pilot of EVERBODY HATES CHRIS. Hudlin has also directed episodes of sitcoms like MODERN FAMILY, MARRY ME, THE OFFICE, THE MIDDLE, WEIRD LONERS, BAD JUDGE, OUTSOURCED, SONS OF TUCSON, BETTER OFF TED, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS and ARE WE THERE YET?, as well as dramas like BONES, MURDER IN THE FIRST, PSYCH, RAISING THE BAR and CITY OF ANGELS.
Reginald has produced the 44th, 45th, 46th and 47th NAACP IMAGE AWARDS for TV One. The live broadcast and the red carpet pre show (which he also produced) for the 44th and 45th were the two highest rated shows in the history of the network. Reginald continued that streak by producing the 48th NAACP IMAGE AWARDS for TV One in 2017. Winners included such stars as Denzel Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Here’s an inside look at the red carpet and show.
One of Reginald’s bucket list items was fulfilled when he produced THE BLACK MOVIE SOUNDTRACK in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Hollywood Bowl. Hosted by Craig Robinson and featuring an all-star musical line up, it was a critical and commercial success. It has become an event that happens every other year. That achievement led to Hudlin producing the 6th Governor’s Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, honoring Maureen O’Hara, Jean-Claude Carriere, Hideo Misayaki and Harry Belafonte. He didn’t stop there. He went on to complete a crowning achievement in his third collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, executive producing The 88th Academy Awards.
Later that same year, Hudlin executive produced the revival of SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO. The special featured elements of the Apollo’s weekly Amateur Night competition, which has been running for 82 years and helped launch the careers of artists such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five and D’Angelo. The show was hosted by Steve Harvey.
Another one of Reginald’s dreams came true when he was commissioned to write THE BLACK PANTHER comic book series for Marvel Comics. THE BLACK PANTHER is the most successful black superhero series ever, and Hudlin went on to adapt a six episode animated series, which became the top selling DVD in the Marvel Knights home video line. Hudlin also wrote an award-winning run of SPIDER MAN, Marvel’s flagship character.
Hudlin met Aaron McGruder when he was still an undergraduate writing and drawing THE BOONDOCKS for his college paper. Hudlin helped develop the strip as it went national, then was executive producer of the animated series (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim). Hudlin also co-authored the graphic novel BIRTH OF A NATION with McGruder, with art by Kyle Baker. BIRTH is a comic novel about Hudlin’s hometown of East St. Louis seceding from the United States. The Random House publication received glowing reviews in Time, Entertainment Weekly and Publisher’s Weekly, among others.
Hudlin is now a partner in Milestone Media, a comic book company that develops and produces properties for a wide range of media. Hudlin is also a founding partner of New Nation Networks, a joint venture with Google to create premium content for the web. Reginald has directed television commercials for McDonalds, Burger King, AT&T and the Illinois State Lottery. He’s also directed videos for George Clinton, Heavy D and The Boyz and other artists.
Reginald has been a featured speaker at Vermont Law School; the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Yale University; the Montclair Art Museum; The Directors Guild; the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the American Bible Society; the San Diego Comic Con; and more. Hudlin sits on the Board of Governors for the Motion Picture Academy and the board of UCLA Film, Television and Theatre Department. He is a member of the Motion Picture Academy, the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
David F. Walker is an award-winning comic book writer, publisher and founder of Solid Comix, filmmaker, journalist, and educator. His writing career started in the 1990s with the self-published ‘zine, BadAzz MoFo. In 1997 he produced and directed Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered, and Shafted, a feature length documentary on the history of #blaxploitation films.
Walker is best known for his work in graphic novels and comics, which includes The Life of Frederick Douglass (Ten Speed Press), the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards-nominated series Bitter Root (Image Comics) w/ Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene, and the critically acclaimed and also Eisner Award nominated series Naomi (DC Comics). He has written for Marvel (Marvel’s Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers, Power Man and Iron Fist, Nighthawk, Fury, Deadpool), DC Comics (Cyborg, Young Justice), Dynamite Entertainment (Shaft), and Dark Horse Comics (Number 13).
Author Nicole Givens Kurtz is a weird writer, publisher and educator. She works to amplify marginalized voices in speculative fiction and writes stories that explore race, sexism, and the weird. Her works have appeared in Stoker Finalist Sycorax’s Daughters, Baen’s Straight Outta Tombstone, and her Cybil Lewis SF Mystery Series.
Khary got his start in the comic book industry in 2003 on Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider-Clan. Since then he has had several multi-issue runs on books such as New Mutants, Starborn, Charismagic, Tech Jacket, We Are Robin, and Mosaic. He has also been a prolific cover illustrator, having provided covers for every major publisher on books such as Static Shock, Batman Beyond, Spider-man, Harley Quinn, Black Panther, G.I. Joe, and Teen Titans.
In animation, Khary got his start doing turnarounds for The Boondocks. He then graduated to doing design and story boarding work for such shows such as Wolverine & The X-Men, Hellboy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Voltron and Chaotic.
In 2007 Khary worked on Upper Deck’s All-Star Vinyl line, designing toys based on sports superstars such as Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, David Ortiz and Michael Jordan. In 2015, in conjunction with Brooklyn Brewery and Reed Exhibitions, he created and designed a character called the Brooklyn Defender as the official beer and mascot of New York Comic Con. The beer was highly successful and sold all over the world.
Khary Randolph is currently the co-creator and artist of EXCELLENCE (along with writer Brandon Thomas), published monthly from Image Comics/ Skybound Entertainment), as well as the cover artist for the award winning (and soon to be a motion picture) series BLACK and its forthcoming sequel WHITE, from Black Mask Studio.
The Los Angeles Times listed Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine as one of the biggest breakout stars of Sundance 2020 for his lead role in Ekwa Msangi’s film “Farewell Amor.” Mwine was also singled out in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter reviews of the film, with the latter stating that “Mwine stuns with his elegant pauses and piercing stares that seem to jump through the screen.” Furthermore, the film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Mwine also stars in Solomon Onita Jr.’s film “Tazmanian Devil,” which premiered at ABFF 2020. Mwine’s upcoming film credits include a cameo opposite Golden Globe winner Idris Elba in the Netflix film “The Harder They Fall.” Previous film acting credits include Mira Nair’s “Queen of Katwe,” opposite Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and “Blood Diamond” opposite Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio from Oscar winning director Ed Zwick, to name a few.
Mwine’s work as a feature length and short film director have received multiple awards. His short film “Kuhani,” won the main prize for Best Achievement in Directing at the Oscar qualifying International Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at Slamdance. Mwine is set to direct an upcoming documentary on Ugandan studio photographer Kibaate Aloysius Ssalongo, which Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh is Executive Producing.
Mwine’s television work includes his critically acclaimed portrayal of Ronnie, the complex anti-hero in Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe’s Showtime series “The Chi.” Variety, The Boston Globe, Roger Ebert and The New York Times all singled out Mwine in their reviews with NY Times stating that “Mr. Mwine is especially remarkable as the precariously balanced Ronnie.” Mwine’s upcoming television work also includes the lead role in the series finale of HBO’s “Room 104.” Additionally, Mwine played recurring roles on Emmy winner Steven Soderbergh’s Cinemax series “The Knick,” Emmy winner David Simon’s HBO series “Treme,” Emmy nominee Eric Overmyer’s Amazon series “Bosch,” and Emmy nominee Tim Kring’s NBC series “Heroes.”
Mwine’s first effort as a playwright, “Biro,” a multi-media solo performance piece, held its World Premiere at Uganda’s National Theatre and subsequently premiered in London and in New York at The Joseph Papp Public Theatre, where it made the “New York Times Critic’s Pick List.”
Born in Hanover, New Hampshire and a dual citizen of Uganda and America, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine has consistently worked across the mediums of photography, theatre, film and television.
Alitha Evelyn Martinez is an Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and GLAAD Award winning artist of the Black Panther: World of Wakanda series. Her professional career began in 1999 penciling Iron Man for Marvel. Since then, it’s been a great ride getting to work on titles like X-Men: Black Sun; Marvel Age Fantastic Four; Black Panther, and Black Panther: World of Wakanda; X-Men Gold Annual; Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur; Mark Morales Spiderman; and Fearless; Voltron; NBC’s Heroes; New 52 Bat Girl; Archie Comic’s New Crusaders and Riverdale; Omni for Humanoids; WWE Superstar, WWE Slam City, and Barbie for Paper Cutz. She’s also done larger projects that required more than just penciling and inking in graphic novels like Vampire: My Boyfriend Bites; Kung Fu Masters; Quest for Dragon Mountain for Lerner Publications; also, Political cartooning for the New York Post.
In her spare time, Martinez works on her creator-owned titles Yume and Ever, and Foreign, which she publishes through her company, Ariotstorm Productions, LLC. She is also a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, NY. The most rewarding part of her career is participating in the US State Department’s World Speaker Program. Martinez travels to parts unknown to teach comic book workshops and bring the art of storytelling to people who would have no other way of getting such information, for she too was once in the same position, practicing a craft that she didn’t know was a profession.
Lion Forge is a trans-media studio with a focus on comics publishing across all age groups. In its first year of solo-branded print publication, Lion Forge Comics relased over 20 tiles approximately 20 titles (single issues, serials, trade paperback collections, and original graphic novels) to market. As a company committed to “Comics for Everyone,” they strive to publish titles that reflect the diversity of our world in the characters, the creators, and the Lion Forge team, and to create content that is just as original.
The short film “Hair Love” also won Lion Forge Animation an The Academy award earlier this year, and now it plans to bring more diversity to the medium.
Kadiatou Tubman is the Manager of Education Programs and Outreach at the Schomburg Center. Kadiatou is the director of the Schomburg Center’s renowned Junior Scholars Program, founder/executive producer of the NY Black Lives Matter Teen Conference and the lead producer of the annual Black Comic Book Festival.
Kadiatou has been working as an educator for as long as she can remember. In her work, Kadiatou’s pedagogy centralizes historical literacy, social justice, and critical race and gender theory. She is a host of the Schomburg Center’s Live Conversations, which have featured scholars like Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., Dr. Imani Perry, activist & author Ilyasah Shabazz, and Superbowl athlete/activist Michael Bennett. When she is not teaching or organizing, Kadiatou can be found attempting to learn choreography via youtube or reenacting scenes from her favorite films.
Since 2013, Lynne Marie’s passion has been cosplaying. She has attended many East Coast comic conventions as her favorite comic or original character such as Wonder Woman, Storm, Misty Knight, She-Ra, and other historic women of genre. This and her charitable endeavors have made Lynne a role model for young girls everywhere looking to embrace their geekiness and be comfortable with who they are. In her leisure time, Lynne also enjoys reading and crocheting.
Lynne Finley, a native of the DC/MD/VA area, holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from HBCU Johnson C. Smith University and a Master’s of Science degree in Information Systems from Strayer University. For the past 20 years, she’s served as an Information Analyst in the Maryland Hospital system.
Kenesha Williams is an author, screenwriter, speaker, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag a speculative fiction literary magazine. As an, essayist she has written for, Time Magazine’s, Mottoand Fireside Fiction. She is also a screenwriter currently in pre-production on a horror web series and a short film. Kenesha has been a panelist and speaker at StokerCon, the Horror Writers of America convention; Boskone, ECBACC, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention; the 2017 African Americans Expo, and MECCACon.
Kenesha took to heart the advice, “If you don’t see a clear path for what you want, sometimes you have to make it yourself,” and created a Speculative Fiction Literary Magazine featuring characters that were representative of herself and other women she identified with. She has happily parlayed her love for the weird and the macabre into Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine, finding the best in undiscovered talent in Speculative Fiction.
She has been interviewed by Black Nerd Problems, and several podcasts: Katara’s Café, Cinema After Dark, Talking with Authors, SORMAG’s Writers Café, Minister Faust’s Galaxy, and RCR Reviews.
His comic work includes AMERICAN CARNAGE, KILLMONGER: BY ANY MEANS, and BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
From high school drop out to university professor, native Detroiter Ka’ramuu (pronounced kah-rah-moo) earned his reputation as a self-taught creator of independent short form cinema before earning top honors at AFI Conservatory. His graduating class was ranked #1 film school in the world by HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. His AFI thesis film SALVATION ROAD was acquired for distribution by HBO in addition to garnering a bevy of awards, inclusive of the DGA JURY PRIZE. At heart, he is a guerrilla filmmaker with roots in NYC theatre, evidenced by the dramaturgical core and classic precepts of character and conflict in all of his work. Kush flows seamlessly between the worlds of theatre and film by maintaining work in both. His award-winning work as an actor and/or director has screened to millions, touring internationally in film festivals including CANNES, SUNDANCE, HAMPTONS, TRIBECA, PAFF, ABFF, LA FILM FEST, HBFF and on the CBS, BET, HBO and CINEMAX networks.
Ka’ is a LINCOLN CENTER THEATRE Director’s Lab Alum, NEW FEDERAL THEATRE Artistic Associate, 2ND STAGE THEATRE Van Lier Directing Fellow, NBC Directing Fellow and ABC/DGA Directing Fellow finalist. Current work includes numerous writing/directing projects and acting when the spirit moves him. He teaches as a Lecturer / Professor at HOWARD UNIVERSITY and CAL STATE LA, and is an avid practitioner of Vipassana Meditation http://www.dhamma.org/
From 2010-2019, Saxton founded and ran his own animation production house that developed entertainment properties for books, websites, and television. He’s produced and directed over 20 animated shorts for Nickelodeon, 2 music videos, and an adult animated series for Fuse.
Specialties: Animation direction, Art direction, Animation production, Children’s entertainment, series development, writing, Illustration, Logo Design, Character Design, 2D Character Animation, Flash Animation, Team Leadership, IP development, App development.
CLIENTS: Netflix, Nickelodeon, Fusetv, Cartoon Network, Cloudco, Sesame Street, A&E, the Martin Agency, Penguin Randomhouse, Silvergate Media.
Creative Strategist and Career Consultant, Allyssa A Lewis, is also a prime-time television Emmy winning Animator most noted for her animation on over 75 episodes and promos of FX’s Emmy winning series “Archer”. She has also produced content for NBC’s “30 Rock”, i am OTHER, Animation Domination, Apple, ComicCon San Diego, and Captain Planet’s Planeteer Movement.
Lewis is on the Board of Directors for ASIFA South, one of the largest international animation societies in the southeastern United States, and a judge for The EMMY® Awards. Recently, she was a Career Advisor for Digital Media and Entertainment Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta campus, where she worked to maintain a 99% employment rate for all alumni within ten months of graduation.
After founding Georgia’s first animation resource and staffing agency, My Animation Life (MAL), where she created Georgia’s most inclusive animation map, calendar, and classified listing, she began public consulting. Currently she works to prepare emerging artists in film and digital media for professional employment and entrepreneurship.
Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the Consumer Marketing Editor for PREVIEWSworld.com and Diamond’s pop culture network of sites. His comics work includes BAMN, Fight of the Century, and the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics. In addition, Allen has been a contributing writer for ComicBookBin.com, OfNote Magazine, and ForcesOfGeek.com. Troy’s work in comics also includes the action-adventure series Frontiersmen and the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics. His work has been featured in the City Paper, The Baltimore Sun, Bethesda Magazine, The Examiner, and The Washington Post.
Nick Allen (AKA Jon Jebus AKA The guy who wants to be your new favorite author) is a writer, letterer, and proud patriarch from Baltimore, Maryland. He has helped to produce, create, and/or self-publish several comic books including The C-Listers and the Kickstarter-funded projects: Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew, Deadland’s Raven Graphic Novel and Fight Of The Century. Jon is a huge fan of comics, martial arts, martial art movies and science fiction. He’s also a student of traditional Wing Chun, and lover of puns. After gaining his nerd street cred by earning a physics degree, he double-downed and got a second B.S. in simulation and digital entertainment (bka video games).
Michael Flood is a writer, cosplayer, actor, and activist who always wants to fight for the little person and be a voice for the voiceless. His two favorite cosplays are Superman and Captain Benjamin Sisko from Staten Trek: Deep a Space Nine. Some of his favorite hobbies at a con are attending panels and dressing as a civilian while buying lots of merch!
Michael is a Los Angeles based classically-trained artist. Notable projects and roles he’s worked on include: African Company Presents Richard III as James Hewlett, Macbeth as Banquo, Angels in America as Belize, and The Mountaintop as Martin Luther King Jr. As a current student at the Groundlings Theatre for Improv he always tries to find the humor, intention and true purpose in everything tragic, comical or tragicomical.
Joseph Illidge is the Co-Managing Editor for Heavy Metal, the seminal illustrated magazine and company for science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and a freelance comic book and graphic novel editor for various clients, working with writers and artists from around the globe to develop books celebrating heroism and inclusion.
A worldbuilder with experience in high-profile characters and universe development, Joseph was featured in the 2017 History Channel documentary series, “Superheroes Decoded”, discussing popular heroes from Batman to Luke Cage.
In his career, Joseph served as the first Editor of color on the “Batman” line of comic books for DC Entertainment, Executive Editor for the Valiant Entertainment Universe and line of monthly comic books, and Senior Editor for Lion Forge Comics where he spearheaded “Catalyst Prime”, the multicultural superhero comic book imprint.
Joseph’s first job in the comic book industry was at Milestone Media, Inc., the groundbreaking comic book publisher of inclusive superhero stories and creators of the award-winning animated series “Static Shock” from Warner Bros.
Joseph is the co-writer on the upcoming graphic novel MPLS SOUND, the story of a fictional Eighties Minneapolis funk band that is the prototype for The Revolution, the band created by Prince. The book will be published by Humanoids.
Kris Ex was published for the first time in June of 1994, in the literary magazine African Voices Magazine, and in the inaugural issue of ego trip. He has heavily written for VIBE, The Source Magazine, XXL Magazine, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Complex, Billboard, NPR and NPR Music, Interlochen Public Radio, Pitchfork, SPIN, Simon & Schuster, The FADER, and more.
Kris Ex is also co-author of 50 Cent’s FROM PIECES TO WEIGHT, as well as Damion Scott’s HOW TO DRAW HIP HOP.
Elgin-Bokari T. Smith, aka Kari the Illustrator or L O Kari, is a Chicago based DJ, visual and performing artist, social activist, and educator who grew up in Saint Louis Missouri. Elgin has performed domestically and abroad – ranging from New York, St. Louis, Ohio, Seattle, South Korea, Japan, and all over the Chicago land area. He has shared stages with the likes of Bone Thugs and Harmony, Ruby Ibarra, The Terra Godz, Saba, Da Brat, Clark Airlines, Mega Ran, Bop Alloy, No Name Gypsy, DJ Esco, Young Chop, Lil Crazed, Rebel Diaz, Twista, and Ching, just to name a few.
Discovering a passion for art in elementary school while drawing his favorite cartoon characters on his homework, his 6th grade teacher encouraged Elgin toward the arts, where he moved onto comics and public murals. He then attended Central Visual and Performing Arts High School where he studied visual arts, ceramics, and piano. In 2009, Elgin received a BFA in Graphic Illustration and Sculpture. Elgin began work as an artist assistant for Chicago ceramic artist and Whitney Bi-Annual artist-in-residence Theaster Gates.
Elgin has collaborated with Hull House and the Northwestern University School of Law to produce zines such as I Know My Rights, I Want a Lawyer, a kid’s guide to the Juvenile Justice System in Illinois, and taught drawing and graphic design to incarcerated young people. He’s worked as a teaching artist for various organizations such as the Gary Comer Youth Center, Changing Worlds, Columbia College, and Kuumba Lynx. Elgin is currently the Program Director for Free Write Arts & Literacy.
Born and raised in the exotic town of Frenchtown NJ, David Crownson grew up with a passion for storytelling which started with comics and film. This has served him as an actor and writer. His next comic after Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer is Nightmare In Newark. He loves his mom, Red Lobster biscuits, long walks, petting your dog and can be seen on the YouTube series Bubbly Brown Sugar.
Damon Young is a writer, critic, humorist, satirist, and professional Black person. He’s a co-founder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas—coined “the blackest thing that ever happened to the internet” by The Washington Post and recently acquired by Univision and Gizmodo Media Group to be a vertical of The Root—and a columnist for GQ. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, LitHub, Time Magazine, Slate, LongReads, Salon, The Guardian, New York Magazine, EBONY, Jezebel, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Damon’s writing—which vacillates from anthropological satire and absurdist racial insights to razor sharp cultural critique and unflinching indictments of privilege and bias—has often generated praise from from his peers. Ava DuVernay called his voice “clear and critical.” Micheal Eric Dyson said he’s “one of the most important young voices in humor writing today.” And Kiese Laymon called his work “the best of American twenty-first century writing.”
Damon’s debut memoir—What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays (Ecco / HarperCollins) —is a 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and is a tragicomic exploration of the angsts, anxieties, and absurdities of existing while black in America. NPR called it an “outstanding collection of nonfiction” and The Washington Post “hilarious” and “unflinching.”
A native Pittsburgher who attended Canisius College on a basketball scholarship, Damon is also a member of ACLU Pennsylvania’s State Board. He currently resides in Pittsburgh’s Northside, with his wife, two children, and his faithful bottles of Nexium and Lisinopril.
Yolonda Ross (Actress, Writer, Director, Producer) is a two-time Film Independent Spirit Award nominee and Gotham Award winner for her feature film debut as a leading actress in HBO’s Stranger Inside and John Sayles’s Go For Sisters. Ross, a native of Omaha, Nebraska is recognized from her wide range of work including: the Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez film Lila & Eve, Angela Bassett’s Whitney, and Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher Story. In Television, she’s worked on 24, Law and Order, and Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet’s, The Unit, in which Mr. Mamet wrote the part for her himself. The two teamed up again on HBO’s Phil Spector. Ross has recurred as “Claudia” on How To Get Away With Murder, portrayed the memorable “Ms. Green”, in the Baz Luhrmann/ Netflix series, The Get Down, and played a documentary filmmaker in HBO’s Treme which inspired her to step behind the camera for her directorial debut, Breaking Night, which aired on VH1 Classics. Yolonda is also a member of New York’s famed Labyrinth Theater Company.
She can currently be seen opposite Rob Morgan in the Samuel Goldwyn release, BULL. Yolonda is cast regular, “Jada Washington” in the critically-acclaimed Lena Waithe Showtime drama, The Chi premiering Season 3, June 21, 2020. She will be making her feature film directorial debut with her romantic drama, Scenes From Our Marriage, which was chosen for Film Independent’s, Fast Track & Directors’ Lab, along with the Cannes Marche’ du Film Producers Workshop.
A self-published author and cosplayer whose cosplay has been featured in the New York Times and on NBC, TaLynn Kel is a multi-media content creator and curator located in Atlanta, Georgia. An avid cultural critic, TaLynn has published numerous essays on her intersectional identity as a fat, Black, femme geek. In addition to writing, TaLynn conducts educational panels at conventions throughout the U.S., co-hosts the podcast New Wakanda, and co-created Black Girl Geek Out, an event that centers Black womxn creatives in the Atlanta area. She is currently working on her first graphic short story for the Kamikaze comic anthology, Short Circuits, and planning surviving while Black during the 2020 multi-phase apocalypse.
Bobby is a second-generation Chinese American director & writer from New York City. He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans and holds a Masters degree from NYU in Visual Effects. A six-time Emmy Award winner for Sports television, he has directed and edited over one hundred music videos and commercials. With five narrative shorts under his belt, Bobby was recently chosen to be a part of the ABC Disney Directing Program as well as Ryan Murphy’s HALF Initiative Mentorship program.
Preparing to transition into episodic directing, he has shadowed on Marvel’s Agents of Shield on ABC, Black Lighting on the CW, The Chi on Showtime, and Ryan Murphy’s The Politician on Netflix.
Bobby is currently in development of his first feature film inspired by his own life story, an Asian American coming of age comedy-drama that fuses culture and music together.
Larry Stroman is an Boston born artist who has honed his craft in New York City, Berkley, Chicago, and Detroit. After first gaining attention illustrating Epic’ Alien Legion, he went on to illustrate various comics books such as The Uncanny X-Men, Ghost Rider, Punisher, Cloak and Dagger, Wolverine, Bishop, Black Panther, and the most popular run of X-Factor. He worked on Dark Horse’ The Mark and cocreated DC Comics Darkstars.
In 1993, along with writer Todd Johnson, he published a creator-owned series called The Tribe with Image Comics. With over one million sold, Tribe still holds the title of the largest selling African American comic of all time. His 35 year long career has spanned three decades and he still remains a sought after artist.
An illustrator, comic artist, and storyteller, Jason has worked on projects such as: Raising Dion, (recently adapted as a Netflix series), covers for Archie Comics’ Sonic and Mega Man titles, the Patriot Tales comics for the Valley Forge Tourism Board, the Champions of Hara comics and board game, and his creator-owned sci-fi adventure comic Spaceman and Bloater.
Having a passion for classic line work and mixing it with his flare for modern storytelling; his work feels at home in a variety of subjects and genres. From more grounded slice of life and historical fiction, to swashbuckling super heroes and sci-fi/fantasy worlds, his style is malleable but distinct. Having always had a love for illustration, comics, super heroes, sci-fi, and anything related to narrative imagery and storytelling, he’s fortunate to have made a career from those passions and create something new everyday.
Jason graduated from The University of the Arts in 2012 with a BFA in illustration. He currently works as a freelance illustrator on a variety of projects for book illustration, comics, comic covers, storyboards, concept art, editorial illustration, t-shirts, posters, album art, and more. www.jasonpiperberg.com
Bill Johnson is an actor, activist, & highly respected cosplayer from Baltimore, MD who now lives in Harlem, NY. He has appeared in several television programs and movies including Luke Cage on Netflix, Saturday Night Live, The Kitchen, God’s Pocket, Broken Angels, Last Love Lost, and For Life. He has a BFA in Theater from Towson University in Maryland, and also studied at Morgan University.
Bill Johnson started cosplaying in 2010. He strongly feels that both #RepresentationMatters and #BlackHeroesMatter. His favorite cosplay characters are Black Panther, Luke Cage, Green Lantern, The Joker, Dr. Frank N Furter, Soul, Poison GuyVy, and A Pimp Named Slickback (say the whole thing, like a Tribe Called Quest!)
Chris Herod is an illustrator, playwright, marketing talent, employer brand consultant, and ancestral vindicator. He seeks to motivate and inspire African people through strong visual affirmations. His work primarily explores cultural identity and has been featured in international marketing campaigns, album covers, neighborhood corners and art shows.
“My work is similar to that of a DJ. The DJ, like drummers before them, I have a critical responsibility to keep time for the community. When they feed the people a singular voice and that voice happens to be nihilistic, the people suffer the consequences. If they truly play the array of voices representative of the diaspora, the people prosper.I have attempted to create art that is the next step in this legacy-a mesh of visible/audible politics, spirituality and culture. If performed correctly I also hope to move the crowd.”
Bizhan Khodabandeh is a visual communicator who moves freely across the professional boundaries as designer, illustrator, artist and activist. His works vary from small graphic art projects to major public campaigns. Khodabandeh is particularly fascinated by how art and design can be a catalyst for social change.
He has received numerous international and national awards for his work, including: a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators for comics, a silver medal from the International Design Awards, a finalist in the Cross-Cultural Design Competition, and best in show through the American Institute of Graphic Arts. He has received recognition for his work as both an illustrator and designer through various institutions such as: The Society of Illustrators, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, Creativity International, the International Design Awards, Adbusters, and Creative Quarterly. Khodabandeh has had work featured in publications such as Print, Creativity International, Adbusters, Comic Bastards among others.
Some of the comics he is known for The Little Red Fish (artist/designer), The Little Black Fish (artist/adaptation), Kitty Meow Meow (artist), Outdoor/Indoor (writer/artist), Richmond Monuments (writer/artist), Yasamin (writer/artist). His anthologies include Once Upon A Time Machine vol 2 (artist), Artists Against Police Brutality (artist), New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Take, Magic Bullet (artist/writer for multiple volumes), Haawiyat: A Syrian Comic for Syrian Children (artist).
Currently, Khodabandeh is an assistant professor at VCU’s Robertson School of Media & Culture. He also freelances under the name, Mended Arrow.
Brooklyn-born, Long Island-bred, Stefon Bristol is writing his own success story as a fresh face with a creative voice in the indie film world. Bristol graduated from the best college in the United States of America, MOREHOUSE College and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, just like his Oscar-winning mentor, Spike Lee. The New Yorkers eventually became collaborators on SEE YOU YESTERDAY, adapting Bristol’s 17-minute student thesis — which screened at 35 film festivals — into his feature debut, a magnetic celebration of Caribbean culture and everyday superheroes which continues to resonate with audiences globally today.
See You Yesterday, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival before premiering on Netflix globally to outstanding reviews. The film (currently available on the streamer’s Black Lives Matter collection) is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, was named one of the “Best Non-Theatrical Releases” of 2019 by Online Film Critics Society and garnered Bristol the nomination for the Best First Feature at the 2020 Independent Spirit Award where he actually won for Best First Screenplay with writing partner, Fredrica Bailey.
Bristol’s next project is the intense sci-fi thriller BREATHE from Thunder Road Films. The script, written by Doug Simon, was on the 2019 Black List. Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk and Brendon Boyea are producing and Will Flynn will executive produce.
Some of his favorite films are Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. Don’t judge…!
Chuck DragonBlack Collins is a freelance artist and animator of Haitian descent based in Brooklyn, NY. Chuck is the lead artist at RatRonin Studios providing the art work for most of their titles. From the supernatural, punk project Aspects to Chuck’s Dread Society X, his art is a mixture of the visual culture of hip hop, graffiti, and punk mixed with the influences of Japanese anime and manga.
Chuck long-running webcomic, Bounce by Chuck Collins, is a multiple The Glyph Awards winning series that is inspired by his time as a bouncer for a New York City night club. Bounce has also been featured by SYFY Wire, as well as other publications. Chuck is an over twenty-year veteran of the graphic arts industry and is a highly skilled and critically acclaimed storyboard artist, graphic novelist, cartoonist, art director, and animator.
The Microphone Misfitz can entertain you if that is what you came for, from music to dance to a party-good time. Now, if you want quality for your time then let the Fitz engage you in the arts & sciences of the 21st century’s preeminent culture. Based in Chicago, the Microphone Misfitz are more than a band or crew, creating music but using the pillars of HipHop (turntablism/DJing; MCing; breakin’; graffiti/street art; knowledge & overstanding) and their shared dynamics to enlighten and sustain their audiences and themselves.
Kin Solo, DFEX, and Jet Nam/ Jet9 are the choreography & movement artists; Ray of Light is the high-octane hype-man & MC; Mel L. is the Graff artist, vocalist, & road DJ; DJ Mar & Mike Knobel (aemka) are the production team; and D-Nick is the lead MC, lyricist & artistic director of the group. The Microphone Misfitz have toured worldwide from grassroots gatherings to South By Southwest; from Algeria to China and elsewhere; Sharing stages with luminaries such as Crucial Conflict, Black Star, KRS-ONE, Jeru tha Damaja, Saul Williams, Æsop Rock and more.
Focused on the themes of living for a healthier state of mind; and uplifting those who are trying to find their path in this world, the Fitz embody the acronym Healthy Independent People Helping Other People.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe is an award-winning filmmaker, author, speaker and entrepreneur whose passion for comics and animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue that would allow him to pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Under that umbrella, Roye wrote, produced and directed several animated productions including, but not limited to, the award-winning and critically acclaimed Malika – Warrior Queen Animated Short. These productions have allowed Roye to attain many prestigious recognitions such as being #5 on Ventures Africa’s list of 40 African innovators to watch (2016) as well as being part of NewAfrican Magazines’ 100 most influential Africans two years in a row (2016 & 2017).
With the superhero genre currently at the height of popularity, Roye has made it a goal to create a connected universe of superhero and fantasy stories inspired by African history, culture and mythology. In August 2015, Roye released his debut graphic novel titled: E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams Part One, a superhero story set in a futuristic Nigeria. E.X.O. was received with critical acclaim and has since been featured on CNN, Forbes, The New York Times, NBC, The Guardian, ABC7, BBC, The Huffington Post, Mashable, and more! Roye’s sophomore graphic novel: Malika – Warrior Queen was also received with critical acclaim, selling more than 40,000 copies of its chapter one special during Diamond Comic’s Free Comic Book Day (2017). Both books have gone on to win several awards including multiple Glyph Comic Awards and Comic Fist Awards.
Whit Taylor is an Ignatz Award winning cartoonist, editor, and public health educator from New Jersey. Her comics have been published by The Nib, The New Yorker, Radiator Comics, Rosarium Publishing, and others. She is currently a contributing editor at The Nib. Her graphic novel with Kazimir Lee, Harriet: Toward Freedom, will be published by Little, Brown Young Readers in 2021.
Solomon Onita Jr. is first and foremost a storyteller. He recently completed his debut feature film “Tazmanian Devil,” starring Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation/ Netflix),Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (The Chi), and Adepero Oduye (When They See Us, Pariah). The film was executive produced by #BirdMan and #BennyBoom, and is a 2020 official selection for American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
In creating original stories, it’s clear that Solomon has been influenced by both his Nigerian heritage, and American upbringing. Solomon uses a blend of both worlds to tell stories from a first generation perspective, allowing him to create a voice for people who are not often heard from.
Solomon is an alumnus of the The University of Texas at Arlington, and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television program where he received an MFA in Film Production.
His films have garnered global acclaim. He also directed a 15-minute short film entitled JOY that dealt with the complications of female genital mutilation (FGM). The film has taken him around the world including New York, Nigeria, Egypt, and Paris to name a few. It screened in over 40 film festivals, and earned Solomon over 10 filmmaking awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Additionally, JOY screened on all of HBO’s platforms as well as Cinemax, as part of being a 2016 HBO Short Film Competition Finalist.
Solomon has served as a director for the television network TAG Channel, and has written on five different shows for the network. Solomon’s film Witch Hunt, a proof of concept based on his pilot script FOLK, recently screened in Lagos, Nigeria and has earned international acclaim. Solomon strives to bring emotional and relatable narratives to a worldwide audience.
Stephanie Williams is a prolific tweeter and a thread of comedy. You can hear some of her pop culture commentary on past podcasts, #TheLemonadePodcast, and get a taste of her comic book expertise on the first two seasons of #MistyKnightsUninformedAfro. She is currently a freelance writer for SYFY FANGRRLS where she, you guessed it, write about comics. Stephanie is also currently writing webcomics, Parenthood Activate!, But What If Though, and Kickstarter backed fan comic, Living Heroes.
Kay Henderson, a lifelong nature lover, was the little girl who stayed under her great grands’ skirts — going everywhere Mother Dear went. Of course, that was usually the garden. She learned how to care for houseplants, fruit trees, roses, and other tasty treasures that peppered the yard. This love for plants and nature stayed with her through adulthood.
After decades of serving in corporate America, she realized that climbing the traditional ladder of success just wasn’t quenching her thirst, she needed a change. Herein, she sought to serve in a new capacity and returned to her roots: plants. As she grew her budding urban jungle, she realized there were a lot of folks selling low quality, colonized plants at high prices. So, this California native coupled her passion with her business background and launched SisterSunflower.com, an e-based plant shop and blog. Her mission is to educate plant parents—old and new—on the origin of plants in tandem with care instruction, “Serving plant life with a side of culture,” if you will.
Henderson currently resides in the very Black metropolis of Philadelphia. Houseplants and gardening made her West to East transition a little greener. While her e-shop is thriving, she is currently developing a launch of a physical storefront to offer classes and workshops to Philly locals, making good use of her prior leadership knowledge and skillset… and that MBA she’s still paying for.
Kevin A. Williams is an artist on a mission, but his is no solo trip: He wants to take you on the journey, too. His destination is a place where more African-Americans will appreciate, own and even create fine art that honors their rich heritage and hope filled destiny. So far, tens of thousands of people have willingly followed Williams to that vista – including talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, and actor comedian Bernie Mac. From celebrity homes to small businesses, corporate offices and women’s spas, Williams’ original and lithograph artwork hangs from coast to coast. As the best-selling artist in the African-American print market, Williams is a popular personality at national art shows, conferences of African-American groups and major international events, including the Essence Music Festival. His art has been featured on television’s “Law & Order” (NBC) and “Soul Food” (Showtime). An artist who has received no formal training Williams’ success has been in what some may call non-traditional methods of reaching art consumers. Kevin A. Williams/WAK Urban Fine Artist CEO, WAKART, LLC
Born and schooled in New York City, Kimson Albert has been directing and producing animation on various animated projects for TV and film for over 25 years. Starting his career on MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head, he worked his way through the New York animation scene. After being the Supervising Animation Director on season 6 of Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers, he moved on to Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe, OK K.O. Let’s Be Heroes, and Victor and valentino.
Currently, he’s the Supervising Animation Director on HBO/HBO Max’s Adventure Time Distant Lands, and lives in Burbank, California.
Critically-acclaimed writer Brandon Thomas has written comics for several publishers, including Marvel, Lion Forge, Dynamite, and DC Comics, and has published over 300 original columns as part of the Ambidextrous series. His notable creator-owned projects include the action fantasy series EXCELLENCE (co-created with artist Khary Randolph), the sci-fi action serial THE MANY ADVENTURES OF MIRANDA MERCURY (co-created with artist Lee Ferguson), and the sci-fi conspiracy thriller HORIZON (co-created with artist Juan Gedeon).
He lives and writes in Southern California with his wife and son.
Sebastian A. Jones is the Founder and President of Stranger Comics, where their mission statement is to create stories with a philosophy of quality, where both story and art are sacred and authentic representation matters. Jones is the creator of the world of Asunda, which is published by Stranger Comics and is in development at HBO where he is Executive Producing and Co-Writing. Asunda has been a labor of love for Jones for three decades. Growing up as a mixed kid in England, Jones developed the inclusive fantasy world through tabletop gaming and live action role-playing. During that time, he moved from London to Los Angeles, and at the age of 20 he founded the critically acclaimed MVP Records, releasing 25 albums that featured such artists as James Brown, John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday. He also became involved in film and television. He starred in scores of national commercials and recently a feature film (White Space).
Jones wrote, produced, and directed the comedy pilot Cast Off starring Scoot McNairy (True Detective), Scott Adsit (Big Hero 6, 30 Rock), and Kimmy Robertson (Twin Peaks). He partnered with actress Garcelle Beauvais (Spider-Man, Jamie Foxx Show) on the I Am Book Series, a collection of children’s books which feature forewords by Halle Berry, Dr. Charles J. Sophy, and Angie Harmon. He has co-written the psychological thriller video game, Hektor. As a teacher, Jones has held panels at comic conventions and taught lectures and classes at schools and universities around the world, including BTH in Sweden to FAMU in Florida.
His most well-known creation, however, is the comic world of Asunda where the character Niobe Ayutami rests firmly at the center. His first Asunda release, The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer, was acclaimed by Bleeding Cool who called Jones “the Robert E. Howard of our generation” and master storyteller Clive Barker who dubbed it “an epic tale, conceived and crafted not only with a great love of comics, but also a profound understanding of the power of visionary storytelling.” Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games, The Hate You Give) and Ashley A. Woods (Tomb Raider) collaborated on Jones’s next offering, Niobe: She is Life, which became the first nationally distributed comic with a black female author, artist, and lead hero in history. Niobe received praise from Comic Book Resources, Ebony, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, People Magazine, and many more. Academy Award winner Viola Davis wrote the foreword for the hardcover edition.Titles Jones has written include: The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer, The Untamed: Killing Floor, The Untamed: Still a Fool, Niobe: She is Life, Niobe: She is Death, Dusu: Path of the Ancient, Erathune, Essessa: The Fallen, Tales of Asunda: Silver Blood, Morka Moa: Rise of the Jade Lord, Salvador, Pinata, I Am Mixed, I Am Living in 2 Homes, I Am Awesome.
Jones is executive producing and co-writing the Asunda television series with Prentice Penny (Insecure, Uncorked). Executive Producers also attached are Mimi DiTrani and former EVP of HBO and President of Television at Anonymous Content David Levine. Jones is represented by the WME agency, and the law offices of Felker, Toczek, Gelman and Suddleson.
Danny Simmons, Jr., is an American abstract painter from Queens, NY, who once coined his particular style of painting as “neo- African Abstract Expressionism.” His talent and passion for the arts reaches beyond the canvas; He is a published author, poet, painter and art philanthropist. He has become a leader in the art world with his philanthropic ventures, artistic talents and creative mind and drive.
Simmons is the eldest of three sons. Raised by parents who emphasized the importance of education as well as individualism, Danny embraced fine arts while watching his mother, also an artist and painter. He’d eventually take on her love for painting and his father’s love for the written word – becoming renowned in both avenues of expression.
The New York Times, in reviewing one of his art exhibitions, stated that Simmons “injects freshness” into his abstracts, and that they are “meticulously rendered and decoratively impressive.” Today, his works appear in prominent locales around the globe, including: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Museum, Chase Manhattan Bank, Deutsche Bank, Schomburg Center for Black Culture, The Smithsonian, United Nations, and, on an international scope has shown work in France, Amsterdam and Ghana. In 2015, he will serve as a scholarly consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC.
Simmons brings an equal passion to the written word, thanks to his father, also an outstanding poet. The elder Simmons’ example during a time of racial strife and social upheaval impressed upon Danny the importance of maintaining integrity and serving as an advocate for truth and right.
These experiences prompted Danny to pen the critically acclaimed ‘Three Days as the Crow Flies’ and ‘I Dreamed My People Were Calling But I Couldn’t Find My Way Home’. In his most recent release, titled ‘Deep in Your Best Reflection’, Simmons takes on an even more personal tone in a compilation of real-life texts and emails shared with a former girlfriend.
Danny Simmons also played an instrumental role in the nation’s newfound love for poetry, particularly in the conceiving of and co-producing the hit HBO show Def Poetry Jam, a weekly TV series that exhibits an eclectic blend of old-school poets (such as legendary expressionists Nikki Giovanni and Amiri Baraka) and new-school poets. Its success is quite evident: Def Poetry is now offered as an elective at the University of Wisconsin, and Simmons won a Tony Award for the Broadway version of the show.
Simmons is co-founder, along with his siblings, music mogul Russell, and hip hop legend Joseph Simmons aka “Rev Run”, and president of the Rush Arts Gallery. He is also founder and VP of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization “dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with significant arts exposure and access to the arts.” He is a former board member of the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Conference of Artists. And his own works have been obtained by art lovers and renowned celebrities everywhere, including: music industry executive/producer Lyor Cohen, film director/producer Stan Lathan, musical producer Andre Harrell, actor Ron Perlman, renowned businessman Olivier Sarkozy, actress Annabella Sciorra, actor Will Smith, and many others.
Danny Simmons holds a Bachelor’s degree in social work from New York University, a Masters in public finance from Long Island University, and is the recipient of an honorary PhD from Long Island University. He continues to thrive at his ‘home gallery’ in Philadelphia, PA.
Mark & Mike Davis are identical twin brothers making up the two-man art team known as The #Madtwiinz. They’ve worked in the fields of animation, comic books, toy design and live action film. Their versatility and dynamic style has them working alongside most major Hollywood studios. They’ve worked on a wide range of animated tv shows from The Boondocks & Black Dynamite, to How to Train Your Dragon: Riders of Berk. The twins currently work on animated series for FOX and DreamWorks Animation. Mark currently is a storyboard artist at DreamWorks Pictures. Mike works at Harvard University’s Hip Hop archive as Director of Creative Branding and Development, and separately at Harvard’s Online Education Department as a graphic artist.
Their creator-owned intellectual property, Blokhedz, has been published as a graphic novel in Germany, South America, and North America through Simon & Schuster. BLOKHEDZ also landed a development deal with Cartoon Network. BLOKHEDZ is an animated feature centered on magic-wielding musicians who use their lyrics to cast spells in an epic battle for control of a mythical city called Empire City. Imagine New York City, Tokyo, and Batman’s Gotham City were all smashed together to form one colossal mega-city. Then imagine that city times 100. Set it in the future and you’ll have a tiny glimpse into Empire City. In the words of Russell Simmons, “Blokhedz is not a watered-down version of street life” and “will sensitize people to the plight of poor people.” Famed comic book creator Stan Lee Foundation (Spiderman, X-Men) also praised Blokhedz: “the artwork is fantastic and the story couldn’t be more real.”
Whether working on animated tv shows, comics, or crafting original pieces for international pop art shows, the twins’ styles are constantly evolving while they continue to create engaging content across numerous media platforms.
Originally from Southern California, J.M. Hunter is a recent transplant to the Columbus, OH area after envisioning his purpose here for the last several years. Currently teaching and focused on The Young Adult Creator’s Alliance, (YACA), as well as attending The California College of the Arts for an MFA in Comics. J.M. Hunter and family are enjoying introducing creating comics and art to the next generation and Columbus’s unsuspecting comic fans. You can find Hunter at his new Art talk/Tutorial channel Hunter Art Lab on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/hunterartlab
SELWYN SEYFU HINDS is a prolific, award-winning creator and storyteller of all kinds—author, editor, music scribe, comics creator, producer, and screenwriter, to name a few. Selwyn is executive producer, showrunner and creator ofHulu’s Washington Black, an adaptation of Esi Edugyan’s esteemed novel that the network snapped up following Selwyn’s red-hot pitch—with Sterling K. Brown and director Anthony Hemingway attached—and a three-way bidding war. Selwyn is also writing AMC’s upcoming adaptation ofCaldwell Turnbull’s novel The Lesson, an alien first contact thriller set in the US Virgin Islands. And he recently served as a writer/producer on Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access, penning the critically hailed police brutality episode “Replay” starring Sanaa Lathan, which made Selwyn a finalist in the Drama Teleplay category for the 2020 Humanitas Prize. Selwyn’s other ecent television highlights include serving as Consulting Producer on HBO Max’s DC universe anthology Strange Adventures and developing at HBO with George R.R. Martin.
On the feature side, Selwyn’s current slate includes Legendary Entertainment’s adaptation of the RonaldWimberly graphic novel, Prince of Cats—a wild mash-up ofShakespeare, hip-hop, and samurai warrior culture — with Spike Lee set to direct; an adaptation of enslaved couple William and Ellen Craft’s true-life tale of extraordinary escape, Running A Thousand Miles For Freedom, which Selwyn developed for Big Beach Films and has Hanelle Culpepper set to direct; Arkham, a Gotham City set thriller for DC/Warner Bros; and he’s also adapting the classic David Eddings fantasy series The Belgariad (over 20 million books sold) for City Hill Arts and Game of Thrones producer Vince Geradis.
Selwyn’s storytelling life before screenwriting includes co-creating the Vertigo comic-book series, Dominique Laveau:Voodoo Child; serving as Consulting Producer of Original Programming and Executive Producer of News and Docs atBET Networks; penning two critically hailed non-fiction books, his memoir Gunshots in My Cook-Up: Bits and Bites ofa Hip-Hop Caribbean Life, and To a Young Jazz Musician: Letters from the Road, written with Wynton Marsalis; andserving as Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine during its late-90s heyday. Selwyn’s also written for a wide array ofmajor publications, including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Spin, and Vibe Magazine, and his essays have been collected in numerous anthologies. Longtime DJ, poet, unrepentant shopaholic, and sci-fi nerd, Selwyn got cracking on all those journeys as a kid back at Guyana’s Queens College, one of the most storied schools in the Caribbean, before later attending Princeton University, where he received degrees in English and African-American Studies. But his most significant accomplishment is being the father of a teenage girl. Selwyn is represented by The Gotham Group, and though he lives in LA, he remains a die-hard Brooklynite.
Dehanza is a Panamanian-American filmmaker born and raised in Georgia. Her work intersects race, gender, and class. Her films explore the Diaspora, Blackness, as well as statehood and nationality in reference to race. She was a Film Independent Project Involve Directing fellow, as well as a fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.
Dehanza is a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Film Studies department at Emory University. She teaches Film Production and Directing courses, as well as a course on Black girlhood, “Viewing Black Girlhood.” She previously held an academic appointment at Cornell University in the Performing and Media Arts, teaching Film Production and Directing. She lives and works in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
For about 10 years, the Udeh Brothers (Onyi and Obichukwu Udeh) have been leading the charge in creating a space for Africans in the animation industry. The two creators were born in Los Angeles County and raised in the Igbo-Nigerian community in the Inland empire. Their rich upbringing in African history and folklore, along with their love for animation, inspired them to create Kolanut Productions. This animation studio addresses what they believe to be a lack of representation when it comes to Africa and the Diaspora. The brothers pride themselves on telling new and exciting culturally-rooted stories “Through the African Lens”.
The first major accomplishment the brothers shared came in 2015 when they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for their Red Origins comic series by introducing a fascinating African animated short. The two would continue to produce shorts, comics, and develop over 60 Ips that exist in what the brothers refer to as the “NCU” (Neo-African Cinematic Universe).
The Udeh Brothers believe their background as well as their experience, working for companies like Apple, Buzzfeed, and Disney, has equipped them to be the next big thing in Hollywood.
Beddo is a Toronto based visual artist who uses a unique combination of traditional fine arts, comic book art, and graffiti. His multimedia and digital artwork attacks modern society with a vengeance that produces a refreshing outlook on pop culture.
Beddo has showcased his artwork in Boston, Montreal, New York City, and of course also in his hometown of Toronto. He is currently working on his latest art series due to be unveiled in early 2021, and continues work on his premier graphic novel ‘Udeja’.
Andre Owens is a former Director of Photography who spent the majority of his early career shooting music videos, commercials, and low budget feature films. He began his writing career in the early 2000’s by publishing the critically acclaimed Force Galaxia anthology. A featured speaker at a variety of Comic Cons around the nation, he has been on multiple panels at the massive Comic-Con International over the past two decades. He has gone on to write and publish many more comics including the well-received and popular #BovineLeague series about genetically altered super-powered cows from Switzerland. He is also the co-writer for the upcoming Sony/ Screen Gems feature film, Reparations, as well as the sole writer for the optioned script, Karen. Andre has been hiding out in Los Angeles for the past 23 years.
A self taught artist from Saginaw, Michigan, Devon Camel has been drawing characters for nearly 30 years and started his publication Gaijin Studios as a means to create unique comics and graphic novels. Devon’s flagship title Trojanzer high is a love letter to the Japanese superhero and giant robot genre which has been met with modest success. Devon has spent over 10 years creating fan art and all ages material including the upcoming Jukebox legends which he’ll drawing alongside fellow MECCAcon alumni writer, Alverne Ball. His current graphic novel, Love Is Sketchy, is his first adult title that explores love and romance from a black pop culture perspective with the lead character being a comic artists and the love interest being a plus sized cosplayer and how they navigate their lives of creativity to find love.
During the current pandemic, Devon worked as a custodian and an essential worker for Michigan public schools while creating drawing tutorials to help children learn to draw after the schools closed and children could no longer go to class while under quarantine. Since the quarantine has been lifted, Devon has become active in his current community of Jackson, Michigan where he helped paint two Black lives matter street murals and a street mural that says “it takes a village ” as away to spread the message of unity of equality.
Devon is currently working on his graphic novel Love is Sketchy, Volume one will be available for preorder through kickstarter in 2021 and also works as a freelance illustrator designing logos, tattoos, mecha and character designs.
Dorphise Jean is a comic creator and screenplay writer who began their career in 2015. Spirit’s Destiny was their first published comic book. Their most recent accomplishments include: Creator & Writer of Spirit’s Destiny, Fauna, Y2K, and now, Nia Caler.
Dorphise is currently a freelance writer for the comic book community. They also continue to persue diverse projects, including creating content from film scripts to video game scripts.
Stories meet style in the fierce entity known as the House of Kofi. Born in Flint, Michigan, Kofi has loved manga, creating art, silent stealth and storytelling from his first drawing on his mother’s paycheck (and survived lol) to the signature scented fan thworping comic book artist today. His flagship story, the Legendary House of Sirens, was the beginning of a dream to create his own comic publishing dynasty. To be legendary is to be golden! That library now includes print and web-based series including titles such as Spectrum’s Arch, Amazing Charis, and the latest installment Imani Angel, about a young woman with the powers of human mythology at her disposal. House of Kofi seeks to slay the world, one creative page at a time.
The Black Plant Chick is more than a plant woman; she has a real appreciation for nature, and the significantrole it plays in our lives. Jade takes comfortin knowing that her influence not only helps in saving plants but also saving humans. She is a real advocate for plant and garden therapy; her story will prove that.
The Black Plant Chick Podcast follows the journey of new plant mama Jade. Jade shares her knowledge of houseplant care and more. Follow as Jade navigates through the life cycle of the various plant genus. Throughout season one, Jade will share her platform with plant professionals and novice plant owners. Jade is a professional podcaster offering a healing and soothing listening experience.
Brian Johnson, more commonly known throughout as Brian_Da_Artist on social media, is an illustrator, creator and comic book artist who is becoming known for his unique take on character art. In addition to his various commission work, he is currently working on original selfpublished titles: “BDA Presents: (an anthology series) and CHILD, both slated to be released in late 2020. He currently resides in his hometown of Detroit, MI with his family.
Tyrone Jackson has been writing and drawing since he was a little boy in elementary school. He’s always had a vivid imagination and loved writing about horror and science fiction genre stories because of the books and tv shows that he watched growing up (Stephen King, even then, was his favorite author/creator.). In the first grade, Tyrone wrote his first horror story and began writing short stories and comics from there.
In 2011, Tyrone created SoveReign Comics, his first comic book universe where he wanted to put inclusivity as well as amazing storytelling with dynamic and diverse characters at the forefront. He then also decided to go back to college and major in Business Administration w/ a Bachelor’s Degree, and a concentration in Business Development. He followed it with an MBA in Marketing.
Tyrone’s first gig in the comic book industry was as an inker on Lucid World issue 2. After that, he has helped others with editing their comic books and creating their universes and characters. In the industry, Tyrone is a published inker (Ludic World #2, Orisha EXOS i01), colorist (Orisha EXOS i01, Cypher Team i01 Cover), cover artist (Orisha EXOS i01), letterer (Orisha EXOS i01 and i02, TEMPLE High i01, Ayanmo Stigmata i01, STARS i01, and Cypher Team i01 and i02), writer (Orisha EXOS i01 and i02, TEMPLE High i01, STARS i01, Ayanmo Stigmata i01, and Cypher Team i01 and i02), and editor (Orisha EXOS i01 and i02, TEMPLE High i01, STARS i01, Ayanmo Stigmata i01, and Cypher Team i01 and i02).
Aiesha Little is a writer, editor, cosplayer, and co-founder of the Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance, an organization which connects fans of, and champions speculative fiction works by African American and African diasporic creators. Aiesha has presented at numerous conferences and conventions, including the International Steampunk Symposium, Pandoracon, and the Marianne McComb Biennial Conference on Creative Writing.
Scheherazade Washington Parrish is the Speakers Bureau Associate for Allied Media Projects/ Allied Media Conference in which she manages the event bookings. She has been in the AMP network through Allied Media Conferences, one of its Sponsored Projects, Detroit Lit, and joined the staff in 2019. Prior to joining AMP, Scheherazade was an educator with the The James and Grace Lee Boggs School in Detroit, where her days were spent teaching children that they matter and how.
Scheherazade is a mother to an awesome teenager, a poet, a model, founding member of the @Vanguard Artists Collective, and a moderator. She’s way more fun than this bio; a “ray of sunshine”, if you will.
Writer. Publisher. Graphic Designer. Educator. Victor Dandridge is a leading, new voice for innovation and production within the self-publishing market. He’s found acclaim with his own imprint, Vantage:Inhouse Productions, the weekly internet review series, Black, White & Read All Over, and the pop culture podcast, Hall of Justice.
Wanting not only to entertain, but also to educate, Victor launched his U Cre-8 Comics line — a unique bridge between comics and classroom fundamentals.
Haitian-American writer and publisher, Newton Lilavois, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and grew up in Brooklyn, New York City. When Newton is not writing computer code, he’s writing stories for graphic novels and comic books under his publishing company, Dream Fury Comics. His ultimate goal is to grow Dream Fury Comics’ fan base by producing unique stories and characters unlike anything seen in mainstream media. Newton the winner of the 2020 Glyph Comic Book Best Writer Award.
Newton currently resides in the Bronx with his wife, two daughters, and their chocolate lab. Newton also works full time as a senior consultant for an IT consulting firm.
Greg Anderson Elysée is a Brooklyn, NY born Haitian-American writer, educator, filmmaker, and model. He has been teaching various forms of filmmaking, including narrative and documentary, from elementary level to the elderly since 2012. A former journalist for theOuthousers.com, he also ran his own column, (Heard It Thru) The Griotvine, where he showcased independent creators of color and LGBTQ creators. He now writes for the independent pop culture news website Bleeding Cool. He is known through the community for doing this on a broader scale, all while presenting his thoughts on diversity.
Is’nana: The Were-Spider was his first comic series and is a multi award winner, including 2018 Fan Award, Rising Star, and Best Male Character, and 2019 Best Writer and Story of the Year (Glyph Awards). Is’nana is based on Anansi the trickster god of the Akan people of Ghana, whose stories have spread for centuries throughout Africa as well as the Caribbean. The Gentleman: Darkness of the Void and Marassa, both published by Evoluzione Publishing, debuted in 2018. Elysée has also published work with Lion Forge via the nationally recognized project Puerto Rico Strong.
The 2 time Eisner Nominated, 4 time Glyph Award winning, and recently, a VLA (Virginia Library Association) Graphic Novel Diversity Award winning, Watson and Holmes, published by New Paradigm Studios, and co-creating, the 2 time Glyph Award winning book, for Best Female Character, Ajala: A Series of Adventures, along with Robert Garrett,
N. Steven Harris has had a career spanning over 20 years in the comic book industry. His highlights include DC Comic’s Aztek: The Ultimate Man, a character which he co-created along with Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, for DC Comics. His credits also include Batman: Officer Down, Batman 80pp Giant The Huntress (DC Comics), Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, Generation X, X-Force, and Deadpool Annual ’98 (Marvel Entertainment). Within the last 5 years he has worked on titles such as Voltron, New Money and Solarman.
Mr. Harris’s most recent publication is DC/Wildstorms Michael Cray. He also has participated in gallery shows showcasing comic book art in New York, Philadelphia, Georgia, Chicago, California, and Japan.
Vault of Midnight is the Eisner award winning, family owned comic shop, originally based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with other locations that include Detroit and Grand Rapids. We were sent from outer space to satisfy all of your comic book and board game needs. We pride ourselves on having the best customer service in this or any industry. We also carry numerous sundries such as designer toys from KidRobot and Toy2R, apparel, posters, action figures, and tons of more stuff. Visit us or regret not visiting us today!
Games on Krack is your best source for the latest in gaming, animation, and nerd culture without the lame cold takes and mainstream filler. We are generational black nerds frequenting your local Comic Cons, arcades, and bars searching for a good people and a good time! All in the name of GAMES!
The 4Cast Podcast is a DETROIT BASED Podcast Network wit a RANGE of shows, including “The4Cast”, “Unsportsmanlike Conduct”, “Urban Kings & Queens”, & “Games On Krack. They are primarily ran and operated by Krack Diesel and Young Slapz.
Deirdre is an afrofuturist educator with over twenty years of experience engaging teachers and teens in the study of black history, art, and culture. She served as Director of Education and Exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for fifteen years and is now a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Shamika Ann Mitchell, PhD, joined the Rockland Community College/ SUNY – The State University of New York faculty in 2005. She served as an adjunct faculty member for two years and earned the rank of Instructor in 2007. She previously served as an adjunct at Pace University and Temple University, and was a Writing Instructor at Seton Hall University. Dr. Mitchell has taught a broad spectrum of English courses, including composition, world literature, modern fiction, research methods, African-American literature, Asian-American literature and children’s literature. She is an advocate for using comics in the curriculum. Her teaching and research interests also span a gamut of themes, encompassing many theories, cultures, ethnicity, genres and eras. Her PhD thesis is titled, The Multicultural Megalopolis: African-American Subjectivity and Identity in Contemporary Harlem Fiction.
“My name is Kamili and I’m the Plant Lady behind PlantBlerd. My interest in plants has surprisingly lead me into the homes and yards of others—neighbors, friends of friends, past co-workers. I love helping people bring more green into their home both inside and out. With such a busy life I wanted a easy and creative outlet to share my passion and love of plants and interior design with a few other like-minded people. So I started an Instagram page dedicated to my plants, in March 2019. I never imagined a few pictures of my beautiful houseplants would lead me to growing a whole community on both PlantBlerd and then BlackPeople.wPlants, with a over 30,000 followers combined.”
Travis of @plantsdecoop is a Black, queer creative that shows up in the Instagram space through plants as a way to connect with the plant community. He initially started his plant focused Instagram (plantstagram, if you will) account to have a space where he could simply connect to other likeminded folx, but after seeing how few Black bodies were represented in pictures with plants he decided he needed to be in front of the camera, because representation matters.
As a hyper creative person and a 14 year background in movement/dance, Travis’s page has naturally become a space to explore his own creative voice through movement, art and plants as well as showing up as in all his Black, queer glory. The @plantsdecoop space values creativity, vulnerability, and community so the content he creates is filtered through those lenses.
Reggie Hudlin, N Steven Harris, Greg Anderson Elysée, Brandon Thomas, Newton Lilavois, Kenesha Williams, Alitha Martinez, Bryan Edward Hill, Kris X, Selwyn Hinds, Kevin WAK Williams, Bizhan Khodabandeh, Khary Randolph, Chuck DragonBlack Collins, Dorphise Jean, Aiesha Little, Victor Dandridge Jr, Kimson Albert, Deirdre Hollman, Ka’ramuu Kush, Dewunmi Roye Okupe, David Walker, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Troy-Jeffrey Allen, Nick Allen, Joe Illidge, TaLynn Kel, Nicole Smith, Bill Johnson, Michael Flood, Lynne Marie, Tyrone Jackson, Brian Johnson, Larry Stroman, Games on Krack’s Krack & Slapz, Tony Puryear, BeddoArt, Chris Herod, Ijania Cortez, Games On Krack, Maia Crown Williams, and many more! +++++
11am – 7pm EST Schedule as follows::
11 VAULT OF MIDNIGHT: Comic Shop Spotlight- Live at their downtown Detroit location. Kienuwa Davis, Mary Harvey
11 MY EYES ARE GREEN : Planter Spotlight – Sister Sunflower, PlantsDeCoop, PlantBlerd, and BlackPlantChick
12 ORGANIZED NOIZE: Black Comic Con Spotlight – Deirdre Hollman, Elgin Bokari, Aiesha Little, Kadiatou Tubman, Victor Dandridge (HOST)
12 MECCAcon FINE ARTS Panel Series – Danny Simmons, Kevin WAK Williams, Chris Herod, Maia Crown Williams (HOST)
1 LADIES FIRST: A Black Nerds’ Sista Circle – TaLynn Kel, Stephanie Williams, Nicole Smith, Kenesha Williams, Maia Crown Williams (HOST)
1 BACK2BLACK Panel Series #1 – Newton Lilavois, Roye Okupe, Jamar Nicholas, Nick Allen, Chuck Collins, JM Hunter, Kofi Brown, Troy Allen (HOST)
2 BACK2BLACK Panel Series #2 – Joe Illidge, Carl Reed, David Crownson, BeddoArt, Tyrone Jackson, Devon Camel, Troy-Jeffrey Allen (HOST)
2 GANGSTA RAP MADE ME DO IT: The Artivism of Comics panel – Bizhan Khodabandeh, Ezra Daniels, D-Nick, Tony Puryear, Whitney Taylor Becker, Victor Dandridge (HOST)
3 BLACK FILMMAKERS Panel Series #1 – Yolonda Ross, Ka’Ramuu Kush, Shawn Antoine II, Dehanza Rogers, Solomon Onita, J, Victor Dandridge (HOST)
3 GAMES ON KRACK / THE 4CAST : Live Podcast – Krack Diesel, Young Slapz
4 BACK2BLACK Panel Series #3 – David Walker, Sebastian Jones, Greg Elysee, Jason Piperberg, Dorphise Jean, Brian Johnson, Victor Dandridge (HOST)
4 HEROES UNLIMITED : Black Cosplay panel series – Bill Johnson, Lynne Marie, Michael Flood, TaLynn Kel (HOST)
5 BACK2BLACK : THE VETS panel – Alitha Martinez, Larry Stroman, Brandon Thomas, N Steven Harris, Khary Randolph, Andre Owens, Bryan Edward Hill, Maia Crown (HOST)
5 BLACK MEN IN MEDIA round table – Damon Young, Selwyn Hinds, Kris Ex, Troy-Jeffrey Allen (HOST)
6 BLACK FILMMAKERS Panel Series #2 – Reggie Hudlin, Stefon Bristol, Ntare Guma Mbaho Gwine, Evita Castine, Korstiaan Vandiver, Bobby Yan, Maia Crown (HOST)
6 BLACK ANIMATORS Panel Series – Kimson Albert, Saxton Moore, Allyssa A Lewis, Onyi Udeh, Obichukwu Udeh, Mike Davis, Mark Davis, Chuck Collins (HOST)
Donation tickets to our Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA convention are only $5!
Our participants have and will include creators from a vast amount of comics, graphic novels art, science fiction, and artisans, as well as live performances, MECCAcon International Film Festival aka MECCAcon IFF, Afrofuturism, social activism, art centered seminars, classes, hand on workshops, plays, and much more. We are once again interested in students participating the heaviest, and we are very much excited about that. Futurism means the FUTURE, right?
Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCAcon are large comic book, Afrofuturism, film, art conventions, artist residencies, and panels held all year long across the United States and abroad. Unlike many “comic cons”, we don’t just focus solely on comic books. Art has several mediums, and we want to highlight them all. MECCAcon highlights comic books, science fiction, steampunk, manga, authors, artists, publishers, international film, artisans, music, fine arts, and more. Attached locations have included Detroit, Los Angeles, the Bronx, Philadelphia, Texas, Atlanta, D.C., Toronto, Montreal, St. Louis, Nova Scotia, and more.
The primary reason MECCAcon was established was to instill knowledge primarily in the younger art culture. It is my mission to make sure that children know that all “heroes” do not look the same, that many actually look just like THEM. It is also important to learn the origin of comic books, what the historical facts come from, and what the word “hero” actually derives from. At these conventions, while comic books are the main focus, we want to make sure that ALL forms of art are highlighted. At the end of the day, art is and always will be ART, creative expression.
MECCAcon International Film Festival, founded in 2014, highlights independent short films starring & from creators of the African diaspora. MECCAconIFF is a branch of MECCAcon, and affiliated with BSAM, which travels across the United States and abroad. With MECCAconIFF, short films are primary, but feature films have been added as well. We always have some of the best filmmakers in the industry that participate. We believe in showcasing GREATNESS to the public eye.
Afrofuturism and astro blackness has been practiced in our community for years, especially thru literature, visual arts, and music. Artists like Sun Ra, Octavia Butler, Basquiat, Fela Kuti, George Clinton, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Samuel Delaney, Jimi Hendrix, Paschal B. Randolph, Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Tananarive Due, Afrika Bambaataa and the ZULU NATION are excellent examples. We have held events with Mark Dery, Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, Rasheedah Phillips, Danny Simmons, John Jennings, Nalo Hopkins, Nettrice Gaskins, Sheree Renee Thomas, Steven Barnes, and many other professors, scholars, and various artists who specialize in afrofuturism, astroblackness, black speculative fiction, black comics, and further in the past 7 years.
Filmmakers in the past have included but aren’t limited to Nate Parker, Stefon Bristol, Nadia Sasso, Jay Woo, Mariama Diallo, Jackie J Stone, Yolonda Ross, James Bland, Darius Clark Monroe, Evita Castine, Ka’ramuu Kush, dream hampton, Derek Dow, Xavier L Burgin, Donnie Leapheart, Eliciana Nascimento, Nosa Igbideon, Korstiaan Vandiver, Dehanza Rogers, Zo!, Jumai Yusuf, Rashad Frett, and many more.
MECCAcon IFF (International Film Festival), founded in 2014, highlights independent short films starring & from creators of the African diaspora. MECCAconIFF is a branch of MECCAcon, and affiliated with BSAM, which travels across the United States and abroad. With MECCAconIFF, registered under Ava DuVernay’s company, ARRAY, short films are primary, but feature films have been added as well.
WORKSHOPS or LECTURES
55 minutes max.
send full description, along with participants, emails, etc.
No more than 4 people, if a group workshop or lecture.
And then, there were my vendors, filmmakers, panelists, and workshop instructors. From those who had a packed gym for hours with sistas crying in the hallways, to those who didn’t have anyone in their audience and did their shit anyways, nah no one complained one drop to me. I also appreciate Dr. Mayowa Reynolds finding a new space for this year, via Detroit School of Arts, aka DSA.
It takes a LOT to do what I do, even when folks are doing all that they can to see that I can’t. (I gotta whole army of haters, and I’m kinda impressed at how systematic some are, while I chuckle at the sloppiness of others’ executions.) I’m so absolutely grateful for all of you who not only stayed across the block and pulled up to participate JUST as much as those who took planes, trains, and automobiles (LITERALLY) on their OWN dimes.
MASSIVE amounts of love to Tene Dismuke and House of Bastet for transferring a gym into a spiritual oasis! REFLECTIONS ETERNAL : Relaxation Suite was a HUGE success this year. Yoga, Reiki, Massages, and SOOO much more was to be had. ALL that I heard was elevated feedback about Tene and her ENTIRE crew. Thank you SO much for participating in my event. Thank you SO much for doing this SO many times. From belly dancing and more, all I get from Tene is undivided love. She’s believed in me since before day one, and it doesn’t go unnoticed in the least bit. I invite… They pull TF up. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Super mad I didn’t get all of House Of Kofi’s annual wardrobe changes. Apple needs to invent an emoji JUST for you, love.
Panels, panels, and more panels were held this year. There were TEN, lol. Yes… TEN FULL PANELS, from our standard multiple BACK2BLACK, multiple BLACK FILMMAKERS, and BLACK FINE ARTISTS series, to new ones like BACK GIRLS ARE THE GAME, BLACK RESTAURANTEURS, and ENTREPRENOIR, there were MANY, lol.
I wanna thank ALL of you, family. Each and every last panelist and moderator did a wonderful job! Shout out to the moderators who kept me from having to moderate ALL of them this year 🤣🤣 Thanks to both Lumumba and Mayowa Reynolds who made sure my film festival went off without a single hitch on Saturday.
At the end of the day, the youth are why I do exactly what I do, each and every year. Mrs Hall of DSA did SO much to prepare these students for , and did it for a year. The students were SUPER excited that their artwork would be seen by so many people from across the country, and were very proud. These babies not only did an artist installation, but many of them also vended. They sold comic and anime illustrations, art, food, and more. They attended and supported the visiting guests, as well as supported both days of the film festival. They promoted MECCACON on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Some passed out flyers & sent mass texts. Some brought their parents AND grandparents, who all also supported our guests. Words cannot properly express how grateful I am to the STUDENTS of DSA.
We are constantly grateful for the authentic love that Curtis Sullivan and Vault of Midnight Detroit has shown us since they opened their doors 4 years ago. Each and every single year, they have let me pull up whenever however, and I love them for that. Thank you to your entire team who since day one have treated me like family. MASSIVELY MASSIVELY MASSIVELY appreciated.
HUGE shot out to Colibri Harris’s ENTIRE family reunion for ALL that they did for MECCAcon, cuz good grief! Videography, photography, promotion, vending, AND live painting workshops for children.
EXTRAAAA special thanks to Xavier Jones, Omega Mallory, and David Chill for being PROLIFICCCC volunteers for me ALL WEEKEND LONG.Words canNOTTT express my gratitude cuz good grief, y’all are amazing. How much we had to do was overwhelming to say the least. I appreciate y’all dedication to my mission. Xavier dealt with HEAVY glitches, and came back like ain’ nuthn’ happen, lolol. David signed up for volunteering like 100000%, & came lookin’ like a Khemtic snack, lololol. Omega has been riding hard for me for YEARS years, lol. We ALL consider this brotha our MECCAcon mascot, lol!
MASSIVELY appreciated in FULL to each and every last person who made this ENTIRE weekend a success. Videos of panels will be coming severely soon!
All love, All light, All progression,
Maia “Crown” Williams, MECCAcon founder
*** rest in solidarity to baba Lite Shineth and baba Camera El, whom I lost right before and directly after this year’s convention. I love you both, and shall honor your names. Ase oooo ***
The Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA is a large comic book convention and international film festival held annually in Detroit, MI. MECCA was initially established to instill knowledge in the youth art culture, and mostly focuses on promoting comics, film, and art from black and other indigenous indie creators.
Now in its 6th year, MECCAcon is stronger than ever, and will once again have a special pre-show signing at Vault of Midnight Detroit featuring some of MECCAcon’s stars! This is our 4th year doing signings at VoM!
Vault Of Midnight’s Prime Directive
To provide our customers with a unique and remarkable shopping experience that confounds the expectations of what is typically associated with a comic shop;
To act as ambassadors for all things geeky and to present our wares as the awesome, fun, and universally accessible pieces of entertainment that they are.
2010 Eisner Award Winners
In 2010, Vault of Midnight was honored to receive the Will Eisner “Spirit of Comics” Award at the San Diego Comic-Con. It was really cool.
40 vendors from across the country. 8 panels. 26 MECCAcon IFF films. (some will also be on Thursday) 11 workshops. Food demos. Vegan & African/Caribbean food vendors. 11 multi award winning, heavily credited filmmaker panelists and film talks. 6 floor arts high school.
Black box theater. 800 seat, 3 floor theater. Aaliyah Hall. Multiple classrooms. Large breakout room. Large multipurpose room. Theatre lobby. Ticket box. Gymnasium. Art gallery.
Times are length of film. schedule will be posted at a later date.
Submissions/Tickets/Info — bit.ly/meccaconiff2019
MECCAcon International Film Festival, aka MECCAcon IFF, founded in 2014 and registered under Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY, highlights independent films starring & from creators of the African diaspora. Short films are primary, but feature films have been added as well. We always have some of the best filmmakers in our festivals. We believe in showcasing GREATNESS to the public eye! Filmmakers in the past have included but aren’t limited to: Jackie JJ Stone, Yolonda Ross, Evita Castine, Bobby Yan, Stefon Bristol, Nadia Sasso, Jay Woo, Mariama Diallo, Darius Clark Monroe, James Bland, Xavier Burgin, Derek Dow, Ka’ramuu Kush, dream hampton, Donnie Leapheart, Gabrielle Tesfaye, Eliciana Nascimento, Nosa Igbideon, Korstiaan Vandiver, Daye Rogers, and many more.
MECCAcon is elated to announce that we will be holding the film festival (as well as the convention it coincides with) at DSA Detroit School Of Arts High School. DSA is a nationally renowned Arts and Academic high school that offers a strong college preparatory Academic and Arts Curriculum, with pre-professional study in Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music Technology, Dance, Theater, Speech, Radio/Television production, Visual Arts and Visual Communications. The Detroit School of Arts is one of four magnet schools in Detroit, where the others are Renaissance High School, Cass Technical High School and Communication & Media Arts High School. Entrance to Detroit School of Arts is based on an audition that takes place at the end of a student’s eighth grade year. Students are required to declare a major of study i.e. Dance, Theatre, Instrumental Music, etc.
For all volunteer inquiries, please contact us at AmonyetEnterprises@gmail.com.
FEATURED FILMS: click photo to watch trailers:
K.I.N.G. by Rashad Frett :: A troubled teen ventures into an unfamiliar city seeking a bond with his estranged father.
BAKOSO- AFROBEATS OF CUBA by Ali Jacobs-Fantauzzi :: What does “Está Rico” by Marc Anthony, Will Smith & Bad Bunny have in common with “Made For Now” by Janet Jackson x Daddy Yankee? They both high-jacked AfroBeats and did not give the genre’s origin props. Bakosó is a film that does the opposite, following DJ Jigüe to his hometown of Santiago de Cuba to find inspiration from the new sounds. He finds Afrobeats has helped create a new genre called Bakosó, which itself is beautiful proof that the exchange between Cuba and Africa did not end with the Transatlantic slave trade. Through stunning visuals and a score created by the founders of the genre, the film shows the technology, culture and landscape that shape this African-Caribbean fusion.
RIGHT ON by Zachary Cunningham :: Set in Detroit during 1968, an aspiring writer looks to change the narrative of the ’67 rebellion with his words. Everything is going according to plan until he and his family hear on the radio that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has just been shot.
MALIKA- WARRIOR QUEEN by Uneek Studios :: Set in fifteenth-century West Africa, Malika: Warrior Queen follows the exploits of Queen and military commander, Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire. Growing up as a prodigy, Malika inherited the crown from her father in the most unusual of circumstances, splitting the Kingdom of Azzaz in half. After years of civil war, Malika was able to unite all of Azzaz, expanding it into one of the largest empires in all of West Africa.
HOW TO POWER A CITY by Melanie La Rosa :: When the utility repossesses over 1,000 streetlights in Highland Park, Michigan, the community unites to restore them. But this town is not willing to return to something that wasn’t working in the first place — instead, a group of community activists create wifi enabled solar powered streetlights and start holding energy trainings.
SHOWTIME by Shawn Antoine II :: Darius and Hakeem dance on New York City trains to earn honest money and escape the crime-riddled streets of Harlem. A woman sees Darius dancing on the train and offers him an opportunity to audition for a Juilliard travel dance team. Hakeem is jealous that Darius may pursue this opportunity. Hakeem begins to sell drugs with the neighborhood goon TJ and succumb to the crime in Harlem. Darius is faced with the decision to pursue this life-changing opportunity or help keep Hakeem out of trouble.
TRAINING WHEELS by Sanicole :: An incredibly gifted little girl uses her telepathic powers to bring her wayward father home.
LOREEN’S GOTTA BOOGIE by Bobby Yan :: It’s 1978. Loreen is torn between her dreams of being a Soul Train Dancer & honoring her traditional Filipino heritage.
GEORGIA- Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA, aka MECCAcon, is a large comic book/literacy convention and international film festival held nationally and globally, and established in Detroit, MI. The primary reason M.E.C.C.A was established was to instill knowledge primarily in the younger art culture.
Along with the comic book convention, we also have a full international film festival, MECCAcon IFF registered under Ava DuVernay‘s company ARRAY, that runs all day along with the comic con. Since we introduced the film festival to MECCAcon in 2015, we have had award winning filmmaker Ka’ramuu Kush curate, as well as prominent indie filmmakers such as Jackie “J.J.” Stone, Evita Castine, dream hampton, Nosa Igbinedion, Omar DISTRKT Jones, Daye Flowers, Korstiaan Vandiver, Abdul Ndadi, Peter Tukei Muhumuza, Donnie Leapheart, Tony Patrick, Pete Chatmon, Yolonda Ross, Abdul Nnadi, Jay Sweet, Pete Tekei Muhumuza, Roye Okupe, Zwelesizwe Ntui, and many more. https://meccacon.wordpress.com/indiefilmfest for film applications
Bring the ENTIRE family! Celebrate the HERU in YOU!
INDIE FILM FEST
Comic Artist Alley/ vendors MECCAcon International Film festival #BACK2BLACK Creators panel MEDIA OF THE FUTURE panel BLACK PUBLISHERS panel THE NERDS OF COLOR panel SOUTHERN FRIED ASIAN live podcast and MUCH more!!
We are proud to announce that we are being sponsored by the Confucius Institute. The Confucius Institute at Savannah State University (CISSU) is committed to promoting intercultural understanding; knowledge of China and its cultural traditions and providing resources to facilitate the learning of Chinese language and culture. The mission of the Confucius Institute at Savannah State University To serve as a platform that promotes intercultural understanding in the U.S., as well as the study of Chinese language and culture (including art, music and literature), and to enhance educational exchange between the US and China.
Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA, or “MECCAcon”, is a division of Amonyet Enterprises. The organization was founded October 2013, by founder and CEO, Maia “CROWN” Williams.
For vending, paneling/presenting, film submissions, volunteering, and info, please contact founder, Maia Crown Williams,
CEO, MECCAcon and MECCAcon International Film Festival, co-founder, Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM).
For more info, please contact founder, Maia Crown Williams, at AmonyetEnterprises@gmail.com, 3134510297.
Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA, aka MECCAcon, is a large comic book/literacy convention and international film festival held annually in Detroit, MI. The primary reason M.E.C.C.A was established was to instill knowledge primarily in the younger art culture.
Along with the comic book convention, we also have a full international film festival, MECCAcon International Film Festival, registered under Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY, that runs all day along with the comic con. Since we introduced the film festival to MECCAcon in 2015, we have had award winning filmmaker Ka’ramuu Kush curate, as well as prominent indie filmmakers such as Jackie “J.J.” Stone, Evita Castine, dream hampton, Nosa Igbinedion, Omar DISTRKT Jones, Daye Flowers, Korstiaan Vandiver, Abdul Ndadi, Peter Tukei Muhumuza, Donnie Leapheart, Tony Patrick, Pete Chatmon, Yolonda Ross, Abdul Nnadi, Jay Sweet, Pete Tekei Muhumuza, Roye Okupe, Zwelesizwe Ntui, and many more. https://meccacon.wordpress.com/indiefilmfest for applications/info
Bring the ENTIRE family!
Celebrate the HERU in YOU!
2018 Guests include:
N Steven Harris
Mad Twiinz Mike Davis
The Art Of Ed Watson
Greg Anderson Elysée
SoveReign Comics LLC
Cherie Ann Turpin
Jermaine Curtis Dickerson
Artist Jason Phillips
Kofi Brown/ HOUSE OF KOFI
The Ghetto Nerd
B Van Randall
Matthew Mcr Ellison II
Eileen Kaur Alden
INDIE FILM FEST
STEAMPUNK DEVELOPMENT CLASS,
Comic Artist Alley/ vendors
MECCAcon International Film festival
STEAMPUNKMECCAcon BLACK HOLLYWOOD panels (series)
MECCAcon BLACK ANIMATION panel (series)
MECCAcon BLACK SHORT FILM panel (series)
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT workshops
BLACK MEDIA OF THE FUTURE panels (series) #BACK2BLACK COMIC CREATORS panel (series)
MECCAcon Signings at Vault of Midnight
MECCAcon Concert at Detroit Orchestra Hall
Live art workshop w/ Gil Ashby
and MUCH more!!
MECCAcon BOOK/ART SIGNINGS at both Vault of Midnight Detroit and Source Booksellers take place each year, the days before! Check event page for all details to come!
CONVENTION, MECCACON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SATURDAY, 9/15/2018, 10a-5p, Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward, Detroit, MI
STROHAM HALL (3rd floor, vendors)
(A/L) arts/literature room
(OFA) Old fine arts room (iron gate)
DETROIT- Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA, aka MECCAcon, is a large comic book/literacy convention and international film festival held annually in Detroit, MI. The primary reason M.E.C.C.A was established was to instill knowledge primarily in the younger art culture.
Along with the comic book convention, we also have a full international film festival, MECCAcon International Film Festival, registered under Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY, that runs all day along with the comic con. Since we introduced the film festival to MECCAcon in 2015, we have had award winning filmmaker Ka’ramuu Kush curate, as well as prominent indie filmmakers such as Jackie “J.J.” Stone, Evita Castine, dream hampton, Nosa Igbinedion, Omar DISTRKT Jones, Daye Flowers, Korstiaan Vandiver, Abdul Ndadi, Peter Tukei Muhumuza, Donnie Leapheart, Tony Patrick, Pete Chatmon, Yolonda Ross, Abdul Nnadi, Jay Sweet, Pete Tekei Muhumuza, Roye Okupe, Zwelesizwe Ntui, and many more. https://meccacon.wordpress.com/indiefilmfest for film applications
Bring the ENTIRE family!
Celebrate the HERU in YOU!
N Steven Harris
Mad Twiinz Mike Davis
The Art Of Ed Watson
Greg Anderson Elysée
SoveReign Comics LLC
Cherie Ann Turpin
Jermaine Curtis Dickerson
Artist Jason Phillips
Kofi Brown/ HOUSE OF KOFI
The Ghetto Nerd
B Van Randall
Matthew Mcr Ellison II
Eileen Kaur Alden
INDIE FILM FEST
STEAMPUNK DEVELOPMENT CLASS,
Comic Artist Alley/ vendors
MECCAcon International Film festival
STEAMPUNK workshop w/ Aiesha Little #BACK2BLACK Creators panel
MECCAcon Signings at Vault of Midnight
Live art workshop w/ Gil Ashby
MEDIA OF THE FUTURE panel
BLACK PUBLISHERS panel
and MUCH more!!
for vending, paneling/presenting, film submissions, volunteering, and info, please contact founder, Maia Crown Williams,
CEO, MECCAcon and MECCAcon International Film Festival, CO-CEO, Black Speculative Arts Movement. http://MECCAcon.wordpress.com/
Official illustration and colors by 133art– Jason Reeves, Luis Guerrero.
Join us as we catch up with MECCAcon alumni, filmmaker, actor, and playwright Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine! He wasn’t able to join us on his panel last month due to scheduling conflicts, but he’s definitely here with us now! Mwine will be discussing his leading role in the upcoming season finale of the HBO series ROOM 104 which airs this Friday, his recently launched THIS IS UGANDA Short Film Festival, his upcoming films FAREWELL AMOR and TAZMANIAN DEVIL, his time as one of the most beloved characters on the SHOWTIME series THE CHI, and much more!
This was live streamed on Thursday, October 8th, 2020.
watch:: YOUTUBE:: bit.ly/meccaconyt
NTARE GUMA MBAHO MWINE: The Los Angeles Times listed Mwine as one of the biggest breakout stars of Sundance 2020 for his lead role in Ekwa Msangi’s film “Farewell Amor,” for which he won the Best Actor award at the Durban International Film Festival. Farewell Amor will be released by IFC Films in December 2020. He also stars in the upcoming independent feature Tazmanian Devil, directed by Solomon Onita, Jr.. Mwine is currently set to write, direct and produce a feature-length documentary about Ugandan studio photographer Kibaate Aloysius Ssalongo. Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, with whom Mwine worked on the Cinemax series The Knick, is attached as Executive Producer.
Mwine appeared in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, opposite Lupita Nyong’o; Boost; Blood Diamond, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio; and starred in the indie feature 40. Mwine starred as Ronnie in three seasons of the hit Showtime series The Chi. He has also had recurring roles in several TV series, including David Simon’s Treme, Bosch and Heroes. He directed Kuhani, which won the Main Prize for Best Achievement in Directing at the International Kurzfilmtage Winterthur and was nominated for the 2014 Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the Slamdance Film Festival. His documentary Beware of Time, won Best Film at the Berlin Black International Cinema Festival. Biro, a multi-media solo performance piece, was Mwine’s first effort as a playwright. After premiering at Uganda’s National Theatre, it opened in London and then at New York’s Public Theater where it made The New York Times Critics’ Pick list. His second multi-media solo piece, A Missionary Position, premiered in Los Angeles. Mwine’s other stage credits include leading roles at the Steppenwolf Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, ACT, the Long Wharf Theatre and the national tour of Six Degrees of Separation, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Actor.
Additionally, Mwine is Uganda’s Goodwill Cultural Tourism Ambassador and recently originated the This Is Uganda Short Film Competition, where Uganda’s rising star filmmakers received awards (including cash prizes) for their exemplary works.
Peace, family! As you know, DSA (Detroit School of Arts), is a 6 floor, VERY large, VERY long high school. Being that this wonderful school (founded by a BLACK woman, Dr. Cotton) is the official home to our convention and film festival this year: