Author: Janan Graham-Russell

In Our Words: Black Women & Writing for the Comic Universe

From the release of Netflix’s trailer for Luke Cage to the announcement of Riri Williams as the new Iron Man, the visibility of black people in the comic universe has taken on new levels. One of the most enthralling stories of the past few weeks is the addition of author Roxane Gay and poet Yona Harvey as writers for World of Wakanda. Set as a parallel series to Black Panther, World of Wakanda focuses on the narrative of Ayo and Aneka, lovers and two former members of the Dora Milaje. For Gay and Harvey, their work will be a first for...

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Side-eyes and Storytelling: An Interview with Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie

With 13 years of blogging under her collection of pumps, award-winning writer, pop culture critic, and professional troublemaker Luvvie Ajayi describes herself as one who “often says what you’re thinking but dared not to because you have a filter and a job to protect.” Often mixing humor with political, social, and cultural commentary, she first began blogging as a hobby. Since then, she has expanded her platform to include multiple blogs (Awesomely Luvvie, Awesomely Techie), presenting and moderating a host of panels and most recently, completing her first book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. Told through four sections (Life, Culture, Media,...

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Black Stars: Depictions of Black Women in Black and White Films

Ousmane Sembène’s films were a part of the Third Cinema movement, a succession of films which critiqued neocolonialism and capitalism. Throughout his career, Sembène produced various works that gave an overview of the Africa and the diaspora. However, there are very few films among his contemporaries that match his masterpiece, La Noire de… (Black Girl) in its depiction of black womanhood and French colonialism. Though it has been 50 years since its release, La Noire de… presents timeless critiques of systems of domination. The story of Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop) offers a look at how black women have been...

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#LintonLies and other deceptions – an analysis of black bodies and storytelling

For her exhibition “Archival Impulse and Poverty Pornography”, artist Ayana V. Jackson reproduced a series of photographs. These photographs re-imagined the still shots of a time long past. The imagery interrogated history in its very re-imaging: the black female body repurposed and re-centered as subject and subjects. Each photo, unique in its creation. Amongst the works, I found myself engaged in one particular photograph of Ayana. Along a hill resided the copied bodies of Ayana herself, peering out towards the audience. At the top of the hill was Ayana herself, dressed in white. The contrast made it so that...

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