Tag Archives: The Blaxis

“Criteria of Negro Art (the Blaxis edition)” By W.E.B. Du Bois

The concept of the Blaxis is not new… It is built on the foundation of those who came before us. The era in which this was written may have passed, but the knowledge as wisdom in these words are timeless…

Amarachi - Chris Dacus
Amarachi – Chris Dacus

“I do not doubt but there are some in this audience who are a little disturbed at the subject of this meeting, and particularly at the subject I have chosen. Such people are thinking something like this:

How is it that an organization like this, a group of radicals trying to bring new things into the world, a fighting organization which has come up out of the blood and dust of battle, struggling for the right of black men to be ordinary human beings — how is it that an organization of this kind can turn aside to talk about Art? After all, what have we who are slaves and black to do with Art?

Black Sun by Julie Dillon
Black Sun by Julie Dillon

“Or perhaps there are others who feel a certain relief and are saying; ‘After all it is rather satisfactory after all this talk about rights and fighting to sit and dream of something which leaves a nice taste in the mouth'”.

“Let me tell you that neither of these groups is right. The thing we are talking about tonight is part of the great fight we are carrying on and it represents a forward and an upward look — a pushing onward. You and I have been breasting hills; we have been climbing upward; there has been progress and we can see it day by day looking back along blood-filled paths. But as you go through the valleys and over the foothills, so long as you are climbing, the direction — north, south, east or west — is of less importance. But when gradually the vista widens and you begin to see the world at your feet and the far horizon, then it is time to know more precisely whether you are going and what you really want.”

Black Asgardian by Chase Conley
Black Asgardian by Chase Conley

“What do we want? What is the thing we are after? As it was phrased last night it had a certain truth: We want to be Americans, full-fledged Americans, with all the rights of other American citizens. But is that all? Do we want simply to be Americans? Once in a while through all of us there flashes some clairvoyance, some clear idea, of what America really is. We who are dark can see America in a way that white Americans cannot. And seeing our country thus, are we satisfied with its present goals and ideals?”

“In the high school where I studied we learned most of Scott’s Lady of the Lake by heart. In after life once it was my privilege to see the lake. It was a Sunday. It was quiet. You could glimpse the deer wandering in unbroken forests; you could hear the soft ripple of romance on the waters. Around me fell the cadence of that poetry of my youth. I fell asleep full of the enchantment of the Scottish border. A new day broke and with it came a sudden rush of excursionists. They were mostly Americans and they were loud and striden. They poured upon the little pleasure boat, — men with their hats a little on one side and drooping cigars in the wet corners of their mouths; women who shared their conversation with the world. They all tried to get everywhere first. They pushed other people out of the way. They made all sorts of incoherent noises and gestures so that the quiet home folk and the visitors from other lands silently and half-wonderingly gave way before them. They struck a note not evil but wrong. They carried, perhaps, a sense of strength and accomplishment, but their hearts had no conception of the beauty, which pervaded this holy place.”

Centaur by Skeptic Archer
Centaur by Skeptic Archer

“If you tonight suddenly should become full-fledged Americans; if your color faded, or the color line here in Chicago was miraculously forgotten; suppose, too, you became at the same time rich and powerful; — what is it that you would want? What would you immediately seek? Would you buy the most powerful of motorcars and outrace Cook County? Would you buy the most elaborate estate on the North Shore? Would you be a Rotarian or a Lion or a Whatnot of the very last degree? Would you wear the most striking clothes, give the richest dinners, and buy the longest press notices?”

“Even as you visualize such ideals you know in your hearts that these are not the things you really want. You realize this sooner than the average white American because, pushed aside as we have been in America, there has come to us not only a certain distaste for the tawdry and flamboyant but a vision of what the world could be if it were really a beautiful world; if we had the True Spirit; if we had the Seeing Eye, the Cunning Hand, the Feeling Heart; if we had, to be sure, not perfect happiness, but plenty of good hard work, the inevitable suffering that always comes with life; sacrifice and waiting, all that — but, nevertheless, lived in a world where men know, where men create, where they realize themselves and where they enjoy life. It is that sort of a world we want to create for ourselves and for all America.”

Deja Thoris by Jason Pearson
Deja Thoris by Jason Pearson

“After all, who shall describe Beauty? What is it? I remember tonight four beautiful things: the Cathedral at Cologne, a forest in stone, set in light and changing shadow, echoing with sunlight and solemn song; a village of the Veys in West Africa, a little thing of mauve and purple, quiet, lying content and shining in the sun; a black and velvet room where on a throne rests, in old and yellowing marble, the broken curves of the Venus de Milo; a single phrase of music in the Southern South — utter melody, haunting and appealing, suddenly arising out of night and eternity, beneath the moon.”

“Such is Beauty. Its variety is infinite, its possibility is endless. In normal life all may have it and have it yet again. The world is full of it; and yet today the mass of human beings are choked away from it, and their lives distorted and made ugly. This is not only wrong, it is silly. Who shall right this well-nigh universal failing? Who shall let this world be beautiful? Who shall restore to men the glory of sunsets and the peace of quiet sleep?”

Masai Ranger by Robert Chew
Masai Ranger by Robert Chew

“We black folk may help for we have within us as a race new stirrings; stirrings of the beginning of a new appreciation of joy, of a new desire to create, of a new will to be; as though in this morning of group life we had awakened from some sleep that at once dimly mourns the past and dreams a splendid future; and there has come the conviction that the Youth that is here today, the Negro Youth, is a different kind of Youth, because in some new way it bears this mighty prophecy on its breast, with a new realization of itself, with new determination for all mankind.”

“What has this Beauty to do with the world? What has Beauty to do with Truth and Goodness — with the facts of the world and the right actions of men? ‘Nothing’, the artists rush to answer. They may be right. I am but a humble disciple of art and cannot presume to say. I am one who tells the truth and exposes evil and seeks with Beauty and for Beauty to set the world right. That somehow, somewhere eternal and perfect Beauty sits above Truth and Right I can conceive, but here and now and in the world in which I work they are for me unseparated and inseparable.”

Untitled by Ken Lashley
Untitled by Ken Lashley

“This is brought to us peculiarly when as artists we face our own past as a people. There has come to us — and it has come especially through the man we are going to honor tonight — a realization of that past, of which for long years we have been ashamed, for which we have apologized. We thought nothing could come out of that past which we wanted to remember; which we wanted to hand down to our children. Suddenly, this same past is taking on form, color, and reality, and in a half shamefaced way we are beginning to be proud of it. We are remembering that the romance of the world did not die and lie forgotten in the Middle Age [sic]; that if you want romance to deal with you must have it here and now and in your own hands.”

“I once knew a man and woman. They had two children, a daughter who was white and a daughter who was brown; the daughter who was white married a white man; and when her wedding was preparing the daughter who was brown prepared to go and celebrate. But the mother said, ‘No!’ and the brown daughter went into her room and turned on the gas and died. Do you want Greek tragedy swifter than that?”

“Or again, here is a little Southern town and you are in the public square. On one side of the square is the office of a colored lawyer and on all the other sides are men who do not like colored lawyers. A white woman goes into the black man’s office and points to the white-filled square and says, ‘I want five hundred dollars now and if I do not get it I am going to scream.'”

DHP by Sanford Greene
DHP by Sanford Greene

“Have you heard the story of the conquest of German East Africa? Listen to the untold tale: There were 40,000 black men and 4,000 white men who talked German. There were 20,000 black men and 12,000 white men who talked English. There were 10,000 black men and 400 white men who talked French. In Africa then where the Mountains of the Moon raised their white and snow-capped heads into the mouth of the tropic sun, where Nile and Congo rise and the Great Lakes swim, these men fought; they struggled on mountain, hill and valley, in river, lake and swamp, until in masses they sickened, crawled and died; until the 4,000 white Germans had become mostly bleached bones; until nearly all the 12,000 white Englishmen had returned to South Africa, and the 400 Frenchmen to Belgium and Heaven; all except a mere handful of the white men died; but thousands of black men from East, West and South Africa, from Nigeria and the Valley of the Nile, and from the West Indies still struggled, fought and died. For four years they fought and won and lost German East Africa; and all you hear about it is that England and Belgium conquered German Africa for the allies!”

“Such is the true and stirring stuff of which Romance is born and from this stuff come the stirrings of men who are beginning to remember that this kind of material is theirs; and this vital life of their own kind is beckoning them on.”

“The question comes next as to the interpretation of these new stirrings, of this new spirit: Of what is the colored artist capable? We have had on the part of both colored and white people singular unanimity of judgment in the past.

Colored people have said: This work must be inferior because it comes from colored people.

White people have said: It is inferior because it is done by colored people.

“But today there is coming to both the realization that the work of the black man is not always inferior. Interesting stories come to us. A professor in the University of Chicago read to a class that had studied literature a passage of poetry and asked them to guess the author. They guessed a goodly company from Shelley and Robert Browning to Tennyson and Masefield. The author was Countée Cullen. Or again the English critic John Drinkwater went down to a Southern seminary, one of the sort, which ‘finishes’ young white women of the South. The students sat with their wooden faces while he tried to get some response out of them. Finally he said, ‘Name me some of your Southern poets’. They hesitated. He said finally. ‘I’ll start out with your best: Paul Laurence Dunbar!'”

The Landing by Kpelto
The Landing by Kpelto

“With the growing recognition of Negro artists in spite of the severe handicaps, one comforting thing is occurring to both white and black. They are whispering, ‘Here is a way out. Here is the real solution of the color problem. The recognition accorded Cullen, Hughes, Fauset, White and others shows there is no real color line. Keep quiet! Don’t complain! Work! All will be well!'”

“I will not say that already this chorus amounts to a conspiracy. Perhaps I am naturally too suspicious. But I will say that there are today a surprising number of white people who are getting great satisfaction out of these younger Negro writers because they think it is going to stop agitation of the Negro question. They say, ‘What is the use of your fighting and complaining; do the great thing and the reward is there.’ And many colored people are all too eager to follow this advice; especially those who weary of the eternal struggle along the color line, who are afraid to fight and to whom the money of philanthropists and the alluring publicity are subtle and deadly bribes. They say, ‘What is the use of fighting? Why not show simply what we deserve and let the reward come to us?'”

“And it is right here that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People comes upon the field, comes with its great call to a new battle, a new fight and new things to fight before the old things are wholly won; and to say that the Beauty of Truth and Freedom which shall some day be our heritage and the heritage of all civilized men is not in our hands yet and that we ourselves must not fail to realize.”

“There is in New York tonight a black woman molding clay by herself in a little bare room, because there is not a single school of sculpture in New York where she is welcome. Surely there are doors she might burst through, but when God makes a sculptor He does not always make the pushing sort of person who beats his way through doors thrust in his face. This girl is working her hands off to get out of this country so that she can get some sort of training.”

“There was Richard Brown. If he had been white he would have been alive today instead of dead of neglect. Many helped him when he asked but he was not the kind of boy that always asks. He was simply one who made colors sing.”

Lady in Red by Laurie L. Thomas
Lady in Red by Laurie L. Thomas

“There is a colored woman in Chicago who is a great musician. She thought she would like to study at Fontainebleau this summer where Walter Damrosch and a score of leaders of Art have an American school of music. But the application blank of this school says: ‘I am a white American and I apply for admission to the school.'”

“We can go on the stage; we can be just as funny as white Americans wish us to be; we can play all the sordid parts that America likes to assign to Negroes; but for any thing else there is still small place for us.”

“And so I might go on. But let me sum up with this: Suppose the only Negro who survived some centuries hence was the Negro painted by white Americans in the novels and essays they have written. What would people in a hundred years say of black Americans? Now turn it around. Suppose you were to write a story and put in it the kind of people you know and like and imagine. You might get it published and you might not. And the ‘might not’ is still far bigger than the ‘might’. The white publishers catering to white folk would say, ‘It is not interesting’ — to white folk, naturally not. They want Uncle Toms, Topsies, good ‘darkies’ and clowns. I have in my office a story with all the earmarks of truth. A young man says that he started out to write and had his stories accepted. Then he began to write about the things he knew best about, that is, about his own people. He submitted a story to a magazine, which said, ‘We are sorry, but we cannot take it’. ‘I sat down and revised my story, changing the color of the characters and the locale and sent it under an assumed name with a change of address and it was accepted by the same magazine that had refused it, the editor promising to take anything else I might send in providing it was good enough.'”

“We have, to be sure, a few recognized and successful Negro artists; but they are not all those fit to survive or even a good minority. They are but the remnants of that ability and genius among us whom the accidents of education and opportunity have raised on the tidal waves of chance. We black folk are not altogether peculiar in this. After all, in the world at large, it is only the accident, the remnant, that gets the chance to make the most of itself; but if this is true of the white world it is infinitely more true of the colored world. It is not simply the great clear tenor of Roland Hayes that opened the ears of America. We have had many voices of all kinds as fine as his and America was and is as deaf as she was for years to him. Then a foreign land heard Hayes and put its imprint on him and immediately America with all its imitative snobbery woke up. We approved Hayes because London, Paris and Berlin approved him and not simply because he was a great singer.”

Karaba the Sorceress by Ron Ackins
Karaba the Sorceress by Ron Ackins

“Thus it is the bounden duty of black America to begin this great work of the creation of Beauty, of the preservation of Beauty, of the realization of Beauty, and we must use in this work all the methods that men have used before. And what have been the tools of the artist in times gone by? First of all, he has used the Truth — not for the sake of truth, not as a scientist seeking truth, but as one upon whom Truth eternally thrusts itself as the highest handmaid of imagination, as the one great vehicle of universal understanding. Again artists have used Goodness — goodness in all its aspects of justice, honor and right — not for sake of an ethical sanction but as the one true method of gaining sympathy and human interest.”

“The apostle of Beauty thus becomes the apostle of Truth and Right not by choice but by inner and outer compulsion. Free he is but his freedom is ever bounded by Truth and Justice; and slavery only dogs him when he is denied the right to tell the Truth or recognize an ideal of Justice.”

Thus all Art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy. I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda. But I do care when propaganda is confined to one side while the other is stripped and silent.”

“In New York we have two plays: White Congo and Congo. In White Congo there is a fallen woman. She is black. In Congo the fallen woman is white. In White Congo the black woman goes down further and further and in Congo the white woman begins with degradation but in the end is one of the angels of the Lord.”

“You know the current magazine story: A young white man goes down to Central America and the most beautiful colored woman there falls in love with him. She crawls across the whole isthmus to get to him. The white man says nobly, ‘No’. He goes back to his white sweetheart in New York.”

The Moor by Jiba Molei Anderson
The Moor by Jiba Molei Anderson

“In such cases, it is not the positive propaganda of people who believe white blood divine, infallible and holy to which I object. It is the denial of a similar right of propaganda to those who believe black blood human, lovable and inspired with new ideals for the world. White artists themselves suffer from this narrowing of their field. They cry for freedom in dealing with Negroes because they have so little freedom in dealing with whites. DuBose Heywood [sic: Heyward] writes Porgy and writes beautifully of the black Charleston underworld. But why does he do this? Because he cannot do a similar thing for the white people of Charleston, or they would drum him out of town. The only chance he had to tell the truth of pitiful human degradation was to tell it of colored people. I should not be surprised if Octavius Roy Cohen [sic: Octavus] had approached the Saturday Evening Post and asked permission to write about a different kind of colored folk than the monstrosities he has created; but if he has, the Post has replied, ‘No. You are getting paid to write about the kind of colored people you are writing about.'”

“In other words, the white public today demands from its artists, literary and pictorial, racial pre-judgment which deliberately distorts Truth and Justice, as far as colored races are concerned, and it will pay for no other.”

“On the other hand, the young and slowly growing black public still wants its prophets almost equally unfree. We are bound by all sorts of customs that have come down as second-hand soul clothes of white patrons. We are ashamed of sex and we lower our eyes when people will talk of it. Our religion holds us in superstition. Our worst side has been so shamelessly emphasized that we are denying we have or ever had a worst side. In all sorts of ways we are hemmed in and our new young artists have got to fight their way to freedom.”

The ultimate judge has got to be you and you have got to build yourselves up into that wide judgment, that catholicity of temper, which is going to enable the artist to have his widest chance for freedom. We can afford the Truth. White folk today cannot. As it is now we are handing everything over to a white jury. If a colored man wants to publish a book, he has got to get a white publisher and a white newspaper to say it is great; and then you and I say so. We must come to the place where the work of art when it appears is reviewed and acclaimed by our own free and unfettered judgment. And we are going to have a real and valuable and eternal judgment only as we make ourselves free of mind, proud of body and just of soul to all men.”

“And then do you know what will be said? It is already saying. Just as soon as true Art emerges; just as soon as the black artist appears, someone touches the race on the shoulder and says, He did that because he was an American, not because he was a Negro; he was born here; he was trained here; he is not a Negro — what is a Negro anyhow? He is just human; it is the kind of thing you ought to expect.

Future Egypt by Alex Ruiz
Future Egypt by Alex Ruiz

“I do not doubt that the ultimate art coming from black folk is going to be just as beautiful, and beautiful largely in the same ways, as the art that comes from white folk, or yellow, or red; but the point today is that until the art of the black folk compells [sic] recognition they will not be rated as human. And when through art they compell [sic] recognition then let the world discover if it will that their art is as new as it is old and as old as new.”

“I had a classmate once who did three beautiful things and died. One of them was a story of a folk who found fire and then went wandering in the gloom of night seeking again the stars they had once known and lost; suddenly out of blackness they looked up and there loomed the heavens; and what was it that they said?”

“They raised a mighty cry: It is the stars, it is the ancient stars, it is the young and everlasting stars!

Extra special thanks to Martin Lindsey for sharing this in the Facebook group Words With Blerds. All artwork courtesy of the Facebook page Fantasy, Sci-Fi & Mythologies of Alkebulan

http://www.griotenterprises.com

He’s the Wiz and he lives in… Chicago!

The future of entertainment... You better recognize!
The future of entertainment… You better recognize!

WizardWorld Chicago starts today! Come meet Jiba Molei Anderson this weekend at the IADT booth #405!

Since 2000, Griot Enterprises has existed for one reason…

To tell great stories featuring heroes of color.

Griot Enterprises’ mode of communication is the comic book, a uniquely American art form.

In order to continue the African American superhero’s relevancy, Griot uses folklore, mythology and history to give our characters depth and substance so that ourcreations have the ability to go beyond the limitations of the perception of color and become classic characters in their own right.

And honestly, Black Superheroes are cool.

Check out what we have to offer:

The Horsemen: Divine Intervention
The Horsemen: Divine Intervention

THE HORSEMEN: DIVINE INTERVENTION
Creator/Writer: Jiba Molei Anderson
Artists: Jiba Molei Anderson/ MCL/ Digital Broome/ Patrick Brower/ Eric Pence

The Orisha emerged from a deep slumber. Seeing that their mission had been perverted, they had set about to free us…

… Whether we wanted them to or not.

The gods of ancient Africa have possessed seven people to protect humanity from itself. They have been chosen to combat those who control the fate of the planet. The Horsemen have returned and their presence will change the world.

Who controls the Eight Immortals but the number seven?

Issues 1 -3 and Trade Paperback are available now!
PRINT: $4.99 (per issue) USD / $20.50 (Trade) USD
DIGITAL: $2.99 (per issue) USD / $9.99 (Trade) USD

ORDER TODAY!
PRINT: www.indyplanet.com
DIGITAL: www.drivethrucomics.com

The Horsemen: The Book of Olorun
The Horsemen: The Book of Olorun

THE HORSEMEN: THE BOOK OF OLORUN
Creator/Writer: Jiba Molei Anderson
Artists: Jiba Molei Anderson/ Jacob & Jared Bymers/ Lea Goffinski/ Josef Rubenstein

The Orisha emerged from a deep slumber. Seeing that their mission had been perverted, they had set about to free us…whether we wanted them to or not.

But, what if there were others not Orisha, not Deitis, not Human, but something more, a new Race? What side would they choose in the coming war?

And, who truly controls the Eight Immortals but the number seven?

Issues 1 -3 and Trade Paperback are available now!
PRINT: $4.99 (per issue) USD / $20.50 (Trade) USD
DIGITAL: $2.99 (per issue) USD / $9.99 (Trade) USD

ORDER TODAY!
PRINT: www.indyplanet.com
DIGITAL: www.drivethrucomics.com

Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers Issue One
Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers Issue One

OUTWORLD: RETURN OF THE MASTER TEACHERS
Creator/Writer/Artist: Jiba Molei Anderson

They have been outlawed and hunted to the brink of extinction.

The Diaspora, once devoted to peace and diversity, has become the Utopia, dedicated to war and destruction.

However, a rag tag band will ignite a revolution that will bring justice to a galaxy.

Issues 1 -2 and Trade Paperback are available now!
PRINT: $4.99 (per issue) USD / $20.50 (Trade) USD
DIGITAL: $2.99 (per issue) USD / $9.99 (Trade) USD

ORDER TODAY!
PRINT: www.indyplanet.com
DIGITAL: www.drivethrucomics.com

Jigaboo Devil: The Devil's Due
Jigaboo Devil: The Devil’s Due

JBD: THE DEVIL’S DUE
Creator/Writer: LaMorris Richmond
Artists: Jiba Molei Anderson/ Barton McGee/ Seitu Heyden

He rose up against those who oppressed his people.

Using an image meant to denigrate a race, he united a people and created a mighty nation…

Now, he must rise again to save the nation he created from the corruption within.

Give the Devil his due!

Issues 1 -4 and Trade Paperback are available now!
PRINT: $2.99 (per issue) USD / $16,99 (Trade) USD
DIGITAL: $.99 (per issue) USD / $8.99 (Trade) USD

ORDER TODAY!
PRINT: www.indyplanet.com
DIGITAL: www.drivethrucomics.com

The Holy Bible: Dignity & Divinity
The Holy Bible: Dignity & Divinity

THE HOLY BIBLE: DIGNITY & DIVINITY
Writer: Walter D Greason
Artist: Jiba Molei Anderson

This timely collection of stories reminds us how deeply men’s images fill religious traditions worldwide.

Dr. Walter Greason (Department of History, Monmouth University) and Jiba Molei Anderson created The Holy Bible: Dignity & Divinity to ask two fundamental questions.:

How would familiar tales like the Garden of Eden and the Nativity differ if the women in the stories were the central characters?

Can we understand women as being as divine as men, if we shift our perspectives on our religious values?

The Holy Bible: Dignity & Divinity presents an important revelation about the universal power religion retains in the twenty-first century.

Where commerce often takes center stage through a secular understanding of the holidays, these portraits remind readers that humility, piety, introspection, and integrity hold unique power to inspire a cynical world.

One-shot available now!
PRINT: $2.99 (per issue) USD
DIGITAL: $.99 (per issue) USD

ORDER TODAY!
PRINT: www.indyplanet.com
DIGITAL: www.drivethrucomics.com

Manifesto: The Tao of Jiba Molei Anderson
Manifesto: The Tao of Jiba Molei Anderson

MANIFESTO: THE TAO OF JIBA ANDERSON
Writer/Designer: Jiba Molei Anderson

“In animator Jiba Molei Anderson’s world of comic book characters, black isn’t just the color of the villains’ costumes.

It’s the color of multicultural heroes and heroines seldom seen in other animated works.

Drawn with smooth lines and in bold colors, the drawings offer a small taste of his clean. slick style and a strong impression of his no-nonsense views.”

Emily Ngo
Daily Herald


“The aptly named Manifesto is the kind of immersing experience a sketchbook ought to be.

Most artists slap together their doodles and convention commissions into a quickly perused flipbook.

Jiba Molei Anderson’s TPB-format book contains character designs, page roughs, pencils, inks, concept sketches, final covers, scripts, interviews, essays, anecdotes, and “director’s commentary” style analysis of the creator’s projects and artistic history.

This is the format behind-the-scenes books should take.”

Brendan McGinley:
Quisque Comoedum Est
http://www.comicbase.com

Available now!
PRINT: $20.50 USD
DIGITAL: $9.99 USD

ORDER TODAY!
PRINT: http://www.indyplanet.com (coming soon)
DIGITAL: www.drivethrucomics.com

The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven
The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven

We’ve also opened our Square store, which will be offering packages and special deals all weekend. Also, check out a sneak peak of the upcoming 9-issue illustrated novel series The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven written by Jude W Mire, which starts in November! You can purchase prints and pre-order the series this weekend!

Griot Enterprises is the home of Black Sci-Fi and the future of entertainment… You better recognize!

https://squareup.com/market/griot-enterprises
http://www.griotenterprises.com

The Final Straw

Yeah... THIS is out there...
Yeah… THIS is out there…

“If this book doesn’t sell, then DC and Marvel won’t put out any more books with colored people in it… Gotta keep the plantation going!”

“Wow… A banana? Really? They went deep into the racism crates…”

“They just told you how they felt about the book and the people who will buy it.”

This… is some bullshit.

This comes from a company that hasn’t hired and African American writer since 2009. This comes from a company that is promoting a book whose cast is composed of people of color and women, yet the creative team does not show that same level of diversity.

Fine, it’s a prank. However, does knowing that it’s a prank negate the truth about the Corporate Two’s hiring policies and treatment of characters of color?

The fact that this exists is unacceptable. The fact that, despite this image existing, fools will still fight to support this book is unacceptable.

This is what tokenism in comics looks like, ladies and gentlemen…

Our beef is not that people buy DC and Marvel. It’s that y’all keep complaining about DC and Marvel not acting right by you while completely passing by those books that you’re truly looking for in the independent sphere. It’s the comic book equivalent of being a battered spouse and sticking with the partner that beats you.

For example, why not hire artists of color to do a variant. What about Olivier Copiel, Sanford Greene, Afua Richardson, Brian Stelfreeze, Jason Pearson or so many other talented brothers and sisters doing the artwork?

What we are saying is that we, as consumers, should and do demand more from the Corporate Two. What we are saying is that, as creators, we have taken our frustration and creative viable alternatives to the level of disrespect that the Corporate Two has shown us.

BTW, none of us who speak to these frustrations have ever denigrated the people that we want to buy our books. That’s just stupid. However, when we do bring up the alternative, those who find out about us have this reflexive negativity about not being up on what we do, which manifests as excuses as to why they won’t support the work. It is their insecurity which sparks these confrontations.

Here’s the thing: OUR COMMENTS AIN’T ABOUT YOU. We just happen to see the marketing behind the Corporate Two’s efforts and we ain’t drinking the Kool-Aid… We prefer mixing flavors than just sticking with grape or red…

THAT’S where we’re coming from. If you’re satisfied with what you buy, buy it. If you’re waiting for DC and Marvel to truly give you what you want as a fan, don’t hold your breath. Ultimately, it’s your decision.

The Blaxis exists to expose people to the diversity of people of culture, ethnicity, gender and orientation in the comic book industry, the characters and the people behind the scenes who create this work. It is composed of fans and professionals in this game. Now, the pros in this business started off as fans. In fact, the reason why we are in this game is because we are fans of the medium.

Now, as fans of not just DC and Marvel, but of COMICS, we expose ourselves to books outside of the Corporate Two, specifically because of the fact that the Corporate Two do not respect us as consumers. We have had the same frustrations you have about representation of ourselves in comics. However, instead of bitching about it and accepting our fate, we did something about it and created our own properties.

Not only did we do it for ourselves, but we did it for an audience demanding change. Yet, when we present this change to the demanding audience, that audience turns its nose at us and still laments that the Corporate Two hasn’t served their needs….

How would you feel in that position?

Look, at the end of the day, do you. Buy your books. Enjoy your life. As a producer of books, my goal is to market to anyone who would buy my product regardless of culture, ethnicity or gender. If you are not one of those who would take a look at mine, or any other product not of the Corporate Two, then so be it. There’s a whole world to expose this work to and, I am confident, will buy and appreciate the work that I, and so many of us in The Blaxis, create… Ubuntu!

http://www.griotenterprises.com

We Are a Village… We Will Become a Nation…

This is the Blaxis
This is the Blaxis

Ubuntu (Xhosa): “I am because we are”

This is a stamp of quality. This is a symbol of unity. This is a political movement. This is a visual, literary and artistic movement…

…This is The Blaxis.

The Blaxis respects and references other cultures. The Blaxis does not exist in a vacuum nor does it eschew other cultures to further its own agenda. Rather, The Blaxis embraces the importance of all cultures in the human existence and draws upon them as well in order to create a cohesive network in which it can exist. Our scope goes beyond the national arena. We are global citizens.

Woman of the Woods by Milton Davis
Woman of the Woods by Milton Davis

We are not colorblind… We are multicultural.

The Blaxis is political. Whether the work focuses on gender, sexuality, religion, class, race, etc., Work from an agent of The Blaxis is always a commentary on the existing conditions in which the work was created. More often than not, it is a critique on those conditions. Everything The Blaxis creates, in one way, shape or form is Protest Art.

DMC Comics coming soon!
DMC Comics coming soon!

The Blaxis is dedicated to the promotion and marketing of independent comic books, science fiction, fantasy and transmedia with a focus on properties featuring characters of color. With so many disparate entities working to expose the masses to independent concepts and properties from creators of color, from the Institute of Comic Studies, Comic Nerds of Color to Black Comix to the Black Age of Comics, State of Black Science Fiction, Words with Blerds and many others The Blaxis will serve as the hub for these promotional efforts.

The Harlem Shadow... Soon to be an animated project from Russell Simmons featuring Common!
The Harlem Shadow… Soon to be an animated project from Russell Simmons featuring Common!

The physical aspect of The Blaxis will be a Facebook page, where all Blaxis agents and all those who are interested in our products, philosophy and knowledge can share information and participate in true collaboration while promoting our wares. Though we will still follow our individual paths, the Blaxis will be a place where we can all congregate.

Black Comix by John Jennings and Damian Duffy... The impetus for The Blaxis
Black Comix by John Jennings and Damian Duffy… The impetus for The Blaxis

The Blaxis will not promote projects from the “Corporate Two” (i.e. DC and Marvel) unless the creators of the project are of culturally, ethnically or gender-diversity. There is neither need nor desire to promote these entities as we are promoting our own.

C. Spike Trotman's Smut Peddler... The sister knows what sells!
C. Spike Trotman’s Smut Peddler… The sister knows what sells!

The Blaxis is dedicated to the business of entertainment. We are professionals. We are professional with our speech, our approach and our attitude. Best believe that when you meet an agent of the Blaxis network, he or she is at the top of their game and has the product to back up that claim.

The Blaxis will make aware the resources available to those who want to pursue their dream and also educate them in the realities of making that dream happen. The Blaxis will not blow smoke up your ass. If it’s good, The Blaxis will let you know. If it’s not quite up to snuff, The Blaxis will lead you in the right direction to make your property the best that it can possibly be.

The Blaxis celebrates the success of all those who have achieved their goals and will encourage others to do the same. There is no barrel and we ain’t crabs. It’s all about friendly competition. The Blaxis will push each member to create the best work, the best product possible. Every success opens up the doors of understanding and financial rewards for all. If one of us is successful, we are all successful. Granted, there is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in win.

Hex by Keu Cha... Blaxis Blessed!
Hex by Keu Cha… Blaxis Blessed!

The Blaxis is dedicated to the education of the craft of comics and the practitioners of the craft with a focus on creators of cultural, ethnic and gender diversity. We have to understand and appreciate our history in the business if we want to move forward.

The Blaxis will serve as a resource for students the craft and those who desire to create their own properties. One must understand that the creation of comics is an exercise in visual communication. The standard of quality has already been established. The Blaxis is dedicated to not only meeting that standard, but also exceeding it. Good artwork is not enough. A good story is not enough. In order for a comic book to good, everything (art, story, lettering, package design) must work in harmony.

Jackie Ormes... One of our pioneers...
Jackie Ormes… One of our pioneers…

The Blaxis is not limited to the literary or the visual. The Blaxis is everywhere and we experience it every day. This has been happening from the beginning and, in The Blaxis is in our music, the clothes we wear, our speech, and the way we move.

The Blaxis is a stamp of approval. When one encounters a member of the Blaxis or purchases a Blaxis-Blessed product, they know that they are getting the best our respective mediums. We are Visual MCs and Warrior Griots. We are the scribes of history, critics of the craft and educators of the medium. We are the coolest kids in the lunchroom. We flip the script, provide the flavor and we do it with grace, style and swagger. We are the finest that our respective industries have to offer. We are a village… We will become a nation.

We are The Blaxis… Ubuntu!

http://www.griotenterprises.com

A Declaration…

This is the Blaxis
This is the Blaxis

This is an open letter to all of my colleagues in this game we call comics and, in particular, my sepia-toned brothers and sisters holding it down on the daily creating amazing work and intriguing concepts.

The Mighty Avengers, a predominately "minority" team. Ummm... Yay?
The Mighty Avengers, a predominately “minority” team. Ummm… Yay?

This is a call to arms and a statement of intent. This is also dedicated to those who, despite the increasingly obvious reality of the situation, still pray at the alter of the Corporate Two, hoping, wishing and praying in vain that these ultimately soulless entities would give them some sort of lip service by creating and promoting characters which reflect “their” reality.

Stay with me… I’m gonna be “Blacktellin’” some things here.

At this stage of the game, you will not find new concepts coming from the Corporate Two for, at least, the next 10 years… Probably more. Gone are the days of Watchmen, 100 Bullets, Sandman and other original cutting edge concepts. DC and Marvel are mainstream now. Which means that they are no longer innovators. Your favorite heroes and villains are nothing more than properties to exploit. Ain’t no more rocking the boat, ain’t no more taking chances.

Hip Hop and Comics #1: 12 Reasons to Die from Ghostface Killah
Hip Hop and Comics: 12 Reasons to Die from Ghostface Killah

And BTW, the Corporate Two is the LAST place that you will find any sense of true diversity in the people they hire or the characters they create. In essence, any character of color, cultural, gender or sexual diversity is a token character designed to bring in more dollars by paying lip service to the marginalized.

Finally, and I understand that I’m speaking to a small number of people here, if you are trying to create a character to sell to DC or Marvel, you are a delusional fool. They will never “buy” your new character. They have thousands of their own. Besides, DC and Marvel are NOT the Promised Land. They are two corporations and everyone who works for them are employees and are treated as such, good and bad.

Watson and Holmes, a great re-imagining of the classic duo
Watson and Holmes, a great re-imagining of the classic duo

Ok… I’m done with my mini-rant. This next bit is for my comrades…

I’ve been feeling this sense of convergence for the past 8 months. I’m glad to know that I’m not crazy.

Unlike most folks, my goal always in this game was to create my own properties. Though I dug DC and Marvel, I never had a burning desire to write nor draw any of their characters. Even today, I have to consciously make the effort to draw a character from the Corporate Two… It almost goes against my DNA.

Day Men with artwork by master Brian Stelfreeze
Day Men with artwork by master Brian Stelfreeze

But, I totally digress. The fact is that we have an opportunity here. We have the ability to really make a dent in this situation. We all know the solution… WE are the solution.

Peep game. In this group we have all aspects of creating, disseminating, and distributing this solution to a wide audience. We understand the craft, the history, the standard and the business of comics. We know the hustle and understand the technology and philosophy to get this stuff out to the people with very little start-up capital. And, we’re not the only ones. We KNOW the others who are doing their thing. We support them as well.

Miles Away from Lion Forge... Flipping the script
Miles Away from Lion Forge… Flipping the script

What we really need to do is truly “collectivize” (this is the Willie Dynamite moment) and create a central hub that will be the epicenter of this thing where we celebrate, educate and market the fuck out of this quality product that we’re giving.

And BTW… Fuck worrying about Black folks buying our books. It ain’t the point. We’re trying to get EVERYONE to buy our books. If they don’t buy them now, guaranteed that they are gonna come up from behind the rear after EVERYONE ELSE buys your book, which would let them know how dope your work is. I don’t know about you, but I bet you more White folks have bought Body Bags, Vescell, Molly Danger, The Horsemen and more than those who constantly bitch about DC and Marvel ever did.

Aisha... Comics from the Motherland
Aisha… Comics from the Motherland

This solution doesn’t need any money to get it started. No one will be asked to become a part of some unattainable utopian corporate conglomerate. No, all it’ll take is some comradery, connection, support and a name…

We call it the Blaxis… And you’re already a part of it. You know who you are.

More to come…

http://www.griotenterprises.com