American Horror Story: Hotel

I’m not a fan of the American Horror Story television series. It’s not that I don’t like horror in general, or that the AHS series is particularly scary, I just don’t think the show is particularly good. I was only able to watch a few episodes of the Murder House and Asylum seasons of the show before I lost interest completely, and only stuck out the Coven season because of my love for Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe. Sadly my love for the two of them wasn’t enough for me to forgive how terrible their characters were treated on the show so by the time Freak Show came around I didn’t catch a single episode.

Don’t get me wrong, while I’m not a fan of Ryan Murphy (Is it cool now to admit that Glee was a train wreck, and I’m STILL holding a grudge for how bad the second season of Poplar was), I think he’s definitely hit his sweet spot with this show. Murphy has issues with continuity, and having a show that resets every season means not having to worry about a plot point or character trait you established in the beginning getting in the way of a scene you just HAVE to include in later seasons. It works for him, and people love it. It’s just not for me.

That is, it wasn’t for me until they announced that Naomi Campbell would be part of the cast of American Horror Story: Hotel.


(Photo courtesy of Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

As reluctant as I am to do so, I’m going to watch this season of AHS, because it seems that since the Coven season, the show is making strides to increase the number of Black women characters on it. Granted the characters aren’t as fully developed as I would like, but to be honest none of the characters in the show are. Also unlike other shows like Sleepy Hollow, with every Black character that AHS loses it manages to replace them with another Black character. If we’re lucky, the return of Angela Basset will give the show an opportunity to pass the Racial Bechdel Test, but at the very least it will give us two amazing, Black female characters to watch.

Whether this season will make strides in storylines, character development or any of the other wonderful things that make a television show good will be revealed during the season. Until then, I’ll sit back and enjoy, at least until they’re both written off the show.

Podcasts for Beginners #WC39

As I mentioned before, I was on a lot of panels at WisCon 39. They were super fun to do albeit somewhat energy and time consuming. This one was the first one I did and was totally worth going to even if I’d only gotten an hour of sleep beforehand.

 

 

Podcasts for Beginners #WC39

(Click the link above to go to the show page on the Nerdgasm Noire website)

 

Normally, I would wait until whenever I do my Catching Up post next month to post this, but I decided to post it sooner. This is on the Nerdgasm Noire podcast feed, but it’s technically not an episode, it’s more of an extra gem for the listeners. If you’re looking to start a podcast this is definitely helpful, because we let you know what to expect in the beginning and some good beginner resources. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Catching Up: April and May 2015

So I didn’t make a Catching Up post last month because I was getting ready for WisCon but don’t worry I got the wrap up for the few things I did during April and May.

Arsenal for Democracy:

I was also in an episode of the Arsenal for Democracy radio show.

Take a moment to check those out if you can. Also make sure you check out the Nerdgasm Noire website! We’re going to start putting even more content there as well!

Erasure: My Feelings on Proving POC Exist

There is a lot going through my head right now. After a fantastic weekend at WisCon 39, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing regularly and have gathered a surprising amount of ideas over the past few days. However with all of the new ideas that have been floating around in my head there are also new doubts and worries, some of which are minor and some of which are slightly existential.

I think I should back up for a moment and let you know where all this begins. At WisCon I got the opportunity to once again interview Daniel Jose Older about his upcoming novels. During the interview, in a conversation about how realistic his novels were because of the diversity, I’d jokingly asked how he felt knowing that in 1000 years, his novels would be used as the proof that there were People of Color in the year 2015. He expressed not just hope, but certainty that it wouldn’t be the case, and that it seemed as if with campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #INeedDiverseGames and many others, media was going towards a more accurate portrayal of race, gender and sexuality in the world.

I agree, but it feels like we have a long way to go, as evident (at least to me) by the fawning over the feminism of Mad Max: Fury Road. It’d been suggested to me by several people that I should watch it, and for a few weeks I felt apprehension about my concerns about not being as excited to see it as others. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic Australia but has no Australian Aboriginal Women in the main cast. To me, it seems empty to say that a movie is Feminist when it ignores and almost erases the stories of the women native to the setting.

If you ever wonder why twitter campaigns calling for diversity in media are important this is why. We shouldn’t have to prove a thousand years from now that we existed. We shouldn’t have to re-discover our histories because they were drowned out by the stories of those with power. The erasure of People of Color, especially Women of Color, being treated as the standard is why things like the K Tempest Challenge, #INeedDiverseGames, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #DiversifyAgentCarter and so many other hash tags and calls for diversity are important. So going forward, as a Midyear’s Resolution to myself I’ve decided to not be afraid to speak up when I feel trepidation about dishonest representations. So….. wish me luck?

I’m Going To WisCon!

Two years ago was the first time I went to WisCon. My friend and podcast co-host Jamie had suggested I go after my first Arisia convention. I thought it would be a fun trip, especially because before and after I’d be able to hang out with my Chicago friends. It was an interesting experience and became a regular trip with me and my friends.
This year I’m paneling again! About what, you ask? Of course Black nerd culture as it pertains to Black women. I’m super excited and wanted to share with everyone what panels I’ll be on.
Saturday 5/23/2015
Podcasts for Beginners

  • 8:30am – 9:45am
  • So you want to start a podcast. You have a computer, a mic, and Skype. What else do you need? How much is good editing software? Where’s the best place to host? How do you get your podcast listed in all the right places? A panel of seasoned podcasters is ready to answer your questions, give great advice, and probably pop their Ps.
  • Twitter: #PodcastsforBeginners

Just Say No to #DollarStoreThor: A Sleepy Hollow panel

  • 2:30pm – 3:45pm
  • The first half of Sleepy Hollow season 2 had much of the fandom asking: WTF happened! The first season was amazing and gave us all hope. The second season dismantled nearly everything that made it attractive to its viewers. Fans wondered why it was so hard for networks to consistently depict characters of color with complexity and respect. But then the second half of the season happened, and everything changed. And that finale was a blatant apology to every fan who abandoned the show. Is this the power of the audience made manifest? Should we give Sleepy Hollow another chance?
  • Twitter: #NoDollarStoreThor

Sunday 5/24/2015
Is Anyone Listening? Black Women’s Experience in Podcasting

  • 8:30am – 9:45am
  • Podcasting has been around for more than a decade and has given access to different voices without access to commercial radio or television. Yet around 70 of the top 100 podcasts in Stitcher & iTunes are hosted exclusively by men, with only around 10 exclusively women-led. This number is drastically smaller for exclusively Black women hosts of podcasts. This panel invites Black women to share their experiences as a podcast host, challenges keeping an audience engaged, being relegated to “niche,” and combating sexism and racism in another media largely dominated by white, cis-gendered men.
  • Twitter: #IsAnyoneListening

Standing In The Sun: How Shonda Rhimes Redirected Hollywood’s Spotlight Onto Intersectional Feminism

  • 2:30–3:45 pm
  • Whether you love her, hate her, or are just absolutely annoyed with her, you cannot deny that Shonda Rhimes has significantly changed the course of American television and how members of marginalized groups are portrayed onscreen. Ms. Rhimes made her mark by challenging and redefining “The Norm”, and in return, she has under her belt over eleven years of acclaim, four wildly popular dramas, and a growing number of Emmy and Golden Globe awards and nominations. Get ready as some of Shondaland’s frequent guests take us on a tour of what Shonda got right, what Shonda could have done better, and what Shonda absolutely nailed!
  • #ShondaRhimesSpotlight

Nerdgasm Noire Network Live At Wiscon!

  • 4:00–5:15 pm
  • Ladies of the podcast Nerdgasm Noire Network take over Wiscon to discuss various topics such as best sci-fi movies & books, fantasy versus sci-fi genres, terrible witches in Sleepy Hollow, increased representation of POC in network television, and more! Come hang out with us! Bring your nerd rants, corny jokes and guilty pleasures!
  • #NNNLiveAtWC39

If you’re there, make sure you come see me! If not, make sure you check out the hashtags!

Any Customer Can Buy Any of the Merchandise of Any of the Characters They Want, As Long As The Character Is White and Male

When I woke up this morning I immediately got on Twitter to see what I’d missed in my sleep. A bunch of my Midwestern friends are at C2E2 so I’ve been reading all of their Con related tweets to make up for the fact that I can’t be there. While scrolling through my timeline, I saw a few of my friends discussing the Marvel Bobble Heads being sold on the Hot Topic website, specifically this one:They wasted all their brown paint on the box instead of the doll.....

What the hell is this?

As you can tell (more from the box than the actual doll) the character is supposed to be Heimdall. Not the Norse God version, not the comic book version, but the Marvel Movie verse version who’s played by Idris Elba in both of the Thor films. So why is the doll white when the character, actor AND EVEN THE PICTURE OF THE DOLL ON THE BOX is Black?

It seems like a big  (read: racist) mistake, but one of the many that Marvel is making when it comes to their merchandising. Recently the Internet has pointed out that out of all of the six main characters in The Avengers, Black Widow is the one with the least merchandise out. If you go to the Target website alone you’ll see that while Hawkeye doesn’t have any merchandise out for just himself, he’s still featured on more items featuring the Avengers as a group than Black Widow, who is totally excluded from most of it. Black Widow also only has 5 items available, as opposed to the 111 for Captain America, 70 for Iron Man, 66 for The Hulk and 25 for Thor.

But it seems that Marvel isn’t the only company who thinks only White Male toys sell. Funko — the company that makes the bleached out Heimdall above – seem to have played around with color changes with Characters of Color before. For the Assassin’s Creed video game character Connor, Funko decided to ditch the darker tone of the character in the game in favor of one much like Heimdall.

 

Bleaching out the Men of Color in merchandise and limiting merchandise for women isn’t where this stops either. When it comes to Women of Color, it seems that some companies think the best course of action for their merchandising is to exclude them entirely. McDonald’s Happy Meal toy for the the movie Home feature only one of the two main characters, Oh. The other main character, a black Trinidadian girl named Tip, was only featured on the box of the Happy Meal.

My money is green like everyone else’s, but it seems as if most companies don’t think this. While I’m more than willing to spend my money on toys, posters and just about anything of my favorite characters from my favorite shows, it bothers me that my money seems to only go towards things that don’t represent me. People of Color, especially Women of Color are growing a voice in Pop and Nerd culture, and we have money to spend too. Representation is important, so maybe companies should start to recognize that and give Fans of Color the merch that they want.

Catching Up: March 2015

So March was actually a pretty big month for me! Aside from my regular articles in Arsenal for Democracy, I also did an interview with Buzzfeed about Women in Nerd Culture. That was a fun experience, as I’ve never been interviewed for anything without having a partner or group with me. I was nervous, but the article came out great! You can check it at the link below:

8 Women Talk About Sexism in Geek Culture

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

 

Also here are my March posts for Arsenal for Democracy:

Thanks for reading!

Catching Up: February 2015

So here I am again, neglecting this blog (aside from the #CareFreeBlackGirl videos), but I haven’t gone back on my resolution. I’m still writing more, just in other places, and I’m also working on a couple short stories to shop around. And then there’s the zine, which I am also still working on, but don’t think it’s as humorous as I had hoped. However there’s always time to rewrite, so I’m not too worried about.

However to make up for my absence here, let’s catch up on all of the other things I’ve written for other places, specifically for Arsenal for Democracy.

Make sure you go check those out!

Catching Up: January 2015

I’d like to think I’ve started the New Year off right. I’m writing more, like I said I would do in my New Year’s Resolution post, not just for myself but also for other places as well. Hopefully I’ll keep writing, I’m actually very proud of the fact that I’ve been able to keep this up for this long. If you want to read any of them, please check out the links below:

For Arsenal for Democracy

#BlackLivesMatter means just that, not that police lives don’t

France and Nigeria Terrorism: Dramatically Different Coverage

#ReclaimMLK: Why We Need a Bigger Picture of the Civil Rights Movement

Aside from that I’ve gotten so many ideas for stories and I even started working on a zine! I said I was going to sell it, but we’ll see after I get finished with the first draft. If I don’t absolutely hate it, I’ll sell it, but if I hate it, we must never speak of this project again.

Here’s to the upcoming months!

#NotDonald4Spiderman and Other Feels About The Spiderman Reboot

Earlier this week it was announced that Sony is going to be collaborating with the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the new Spiderman movies, which means Spiderman can now be intertwined with the movies that MCU has already released (Ironman, Avengers, Captain America etc.). This news is fantastic, because although Sony still has the rights to the Spiderman movie franchise, Marvel is allowed to make the movies. Marvel has been doing a great job with the movies so far, despite some minor pitfalls (**cough**Ironman 3/Thor 1 and 2/Captain America 1/waiting so damn long for a Black Panther movie and having the audacity to make it after Ant Man who nobody really gives a sh*t about**cough**) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe would feel a little more complete with the addition of a hero with spider senses. I was genuinely excited.

Then I saw the resurgence of #Donald4Spiderman.

I feel like before I get into my feelings about this I have to address two points, the first one being yes, I dislike Donald Glover and the second one being no, I don’t dislike reboots. However my disagreeing with that hash tag for this new Spiderman movie actually comes from the opposite end of the aforementioned feels. I actually do think Donald Glover would make a really good Peter Parker. He (like Tobey Maguire in the aughts) is a 30 year old man who is very good at being an awkward teenager, and despite his claims that Twitter does nothing, there was immediate support for his potential casting as Spiderman because…. well because the internet.

However we’ve already seen the story of Peter Parker in movie form. In fact we’ve seen it twice, and the last time was so recent I don’t even think it’s made it’s way to Netflix yet.

We do have other characters to pull from though. The #Donald4Spiderman hash tag in it’s original incarnation was able to pave the way for a new character named Miles Morales in the Marvel Comic Book Universe.

Let’s consider the following, The Marvel Cinematic Universe is already pulling stories from the Ultimate Marvel Comic Universe storylines, the new Avengers movie is loosely based on the Age of Ultron Avengers comics. Spiderman was a huge part of that, but because of the weird way the different studios owned specific character franchises, Spiderman as a character had to be scrapped from the whole thing. They had to rewrite almost everything for the Cinematic Universe. So instead of rehashing the story of Peter Parker, which we’ve already heard no only ad nauseam but ad nauseam with BOTH of his early love interests, how about we get to know Miles? If Marvel can basically skip over Hank Pym and dive immediately into the Scott Lang story for Ant Man (and again who cares) why can’t develop a movie about Miles? Especially since the only other superhero movie that will feature a black hero as the main character (Black Panther) is going to be pushed back to 2018, after so many were frustrated it took this long.

In the upcoming months we’ll be sure to here lots of news about the decisions Marvel and Sony are going to make about the character and casting choices for this movie, but I doubt that neither the #Donald4Spiderman nor the #MakeMineMiles factions of Nerd Twitter will get what they want. For now we just wait and speculate until more official news comes out.