Since Arturo talked about sci-fi/fantasy conventions earlier this week, it’s a good time to let…
If you or any POC fan you know are looking to go to Science fiction/fantasy (SFF) conventions in 2016, you should know that Con Or Bust has opened up its request process until Nov. 25.
The organization is devoted to helping POC fans attend more SFF events. Requests are confidential and can be made through the form located here.
To give you an idea of how the project’s scope has expanded since it began in 2009, here’s an excerpt from its website:
From April 2013 through March 2014, Con or Bust helped 30 different people attend cons 32 times. People attended seventeen different cons. The monetary portion of Con or Bust’s awards again ranged from $0 (membership transfers only) to $1,000. Eleven awards were in the range of $200-450, and seven were from $500-700. At the end of this period, Con or Bust carried forward a balance of approximately $7,700.
The 2014 auction and associated matching challenge raised $16,476. These funds, together with the balance from the prior year, funded assistance for March 2014 through early May 2015. In addition, starting from April 2014, Con or Bust permitted people to request monetary assistance for any upcoming SFF con, not merely cons in the next quarter.
From March 2014 through early May 2015, Con or Bust provided assistance 95 times to help 85 different people attend 25 different cons. Of those 95 times, 41 did not include monetary assistance, only donated memberships (or, in one case, a hotel room donated by a convention). Monetary assistance was provided 54 times, sometimes in conjunction with donated memberships. The awards ranged from $25 to $2,300; 34 of the 54 awards were $500 or less. At the close of this period, Con or Bust carried forward a balance of $67.42.
The 2015 auction was held later in the calendar year than previously, ending in early May; bids and donations raised $12,726 to support Con or Bust for the next twelve months.
In August 2015, a donation drive by John Scalzi raised a total of $11,840.92.
Check under the cut for a listing of 2016 conventions that are covered in this assistance period, along with the number of open membership slots for each as of 11 p.m. PST on Nov. 15.
Read the Post Con Or Bust Assistance Program For POC Sci-Fi Fans Open Until Nov. 25
By Guest Contributor Phenderson Djeli Clark, cross-posted from Media Diversified UK
When, long ago, the gods created Earth
In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Th’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a N*gger.
– H.P. Lovecraft, On the Creation of N*ggers (1912)
I had come to believe that by now the racism of H.P. Lovecraft, the celebrated author of horror and fantasy, was a settled matter — like declaring Wrath of Khan the best film in the Star Trek franchise. Arguing against such a thing should be absurd. I certainly thought so after the matter was thrust into the spotlight in December 2011, when author Nnedi Okorafor won the esteemed World Fantasy Award — whose statuette is none other than H.P. Lovecraft’s disembodied head. Okorafor had been unaware of the depths of Lovecraft’s “issues,” until a friend sent her his 1912 poem,On the Creation of N*ggers, where blacks are fashioned by the gods as “a beast … in semi-human figure.”
This was no one-off, some “misspeak” by the author. Lovecraft’s racial biases ran deep and strong, as evidenced by his stories–from exotic locales with tropic natives lacerating themselves before mad gods in acts of “negro fetishism” (Call of Cthulhu), to descriptions of a black man as “gorilla-like” and one of the world’s “many ugly things” (Herbert West — Re-animator). This was no abstract part of Lovecraft’s creative process, where he was trying to imbue his work with some hint of realism. Rather, these were expressions of his foremost thoughts, a key part of his personal beliefs, most notably his virulent xenophobia towards an increasingly diverse American society emerging outside of his Anglo-Saxon New England.
Read the Post The ‘N’ Word Through The Ages: The ‘Madness’ Of HP Lovecraft
By Guest Contributor Karishma; originally published at Persephone Magazine
This isn’t a definitive list of women of color in film. This isn’t a “best of” list, or a list of the most complicated or progressive characters in science-fiction or fantasy. This is simply a list of women of color in science-fiction and fantasy films. I tried to make it as full as possible, but ultimately had to decide on some parameters. These are women who are either secondary leads (because there are almost no women of color leads) or supporting characters. To better see how small the visual representation is, we have to be willing to look at all of the characters, in spite of their flaws, or limited screentime, or problematic nature. It helps paint a more accurate picture of the women we do see, and helps us understand why characters like the girls of Attack the Block never seem to break out into fan favorites, or why perceptions of Mako Mori becomes such a hot button topic in the weeks after the release of Pacific Rim.
Looking my previous post on the topic, after asking for suggestions, the answers didn’t really surprise me. Doctor Who’s Martha Jones, and Star Trek’s Uhura were repeat suggestions, but again, they were primarily TV-based suggestions. (I should clarify that even the Uhura suggestion pointed more at the TV-iteration of the character over the current Hollywood portrayal). In searching for a more complete list, what I found, unsurprisingly, is that most of the women of color on film are mostly background players, filling highly stereotyped and exoticized roles. I reached out to sci-fi and fantasy fans on tumblr, and pored through cast lists of the “100 Best Science Fiction Movies,” “Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Movies,” and “50 Greatest Fantasy Films.” Again, many people were stumped by the question, or reluctant to pick favorites, as women of color served to fulfill stereotypical roles, i.e. meek Asian woman or Magical Negro mystic, that furthered the white, male heterosexual narrative.
Fans often have to isolate the parts of the narrative they find compelling within these problematic portrayals, or be willing to look past the negative aspects of the narrow characterization to find something to relate to. Even in worlds where crime can be predicted before it happens, and lightning can be bottled and sold, women of color still cannot be protagonists, or have complicated and compelling backstories. It’s frustrating when I look at the casts of some of my favorite films and wonder what about the role seems to require a white actress (or actor). As much as I love Stardust, I’m not quite sure why Yvaine had to be played by Claire Danes, or why there weren’t any people of color in the fantastical candy-colored world of Edward Scissorhands, besides Officer Allen. We are slowly moving towards more visibility for women of color, as crowd-sourced films and more venues for the fan conversation call for better characters and more visibility. Just look at the conversation around this summer’s Pacific Rim, led to the creation of an alternative Bechdel test, the Mako Mori test.
Mako Mori being great.
Without further ado, here are 45* women of color in science-fiction and fantasy films. Again, this role isn’t exhaustive or anywhere near complete, but serve to illustrate the types of roles that women of color get in these genre films. All of these women and characters should have greater visibility as we continue this conversation about women of color in Hollywood. (*Two women on the list, Mary Alice and Gloria Foster, share a character, so they have been grouped together, only because I think 45 sounds better than 46.) It should also be noted that superhero/comic-book movies have also been grouped in with the overall sci-fi and fantasy category, if anyone wants to get nitpicky about it.
- Aaliyah as Queen Akasha in Queen of the Damned
- Alfre Woodard as Lily Sloane in Star Trek: First Contact
- Alice Braga (who I’ve mentioned before) with multiple roles in Elysium, Predators, Blindness and I Am Legend
- Amandla Stenberg as Rue in The Hunger Games
- Angela Bassett as Det. Rita Veder in Vampire in Brooklyn and Mace in Strange Days
- Aubrey Plaza as Darius in Safety Not Guaranteed (character isn’t obviously a woman of color, but is played by a biracial actress)
- Charlotte Lewis as Kee Nang in The Golden Child
- Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee in Children of Men
- Danielle Vitalis as Tia in Attack the Block
- Doona Bae as multiple characters in Cloud Atlas and Park Nam-Joo in The Host
- Eva Mendez as Sand Saref in The Spirit and Roxanne Simpson in Ghost Rider
- Frieda Pinto as Carolina Aranha in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- Gina Antwi as Dionne in Attack the Block
- Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne in Serenity and Cas in the Matrix movies
- Gloria Foster and Mary Alice share the role of The Oracle in the Matrix movies
- Grace Jones as Zula in Conan the Barbarian
- Halle Berry as Storm in the X-Men films, Catwoman in Catwoman, and multiple characters in Cloud Atlas
- J.L. Reate as The Golden Child in The Golden Child
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe in the Matrix movies
- Jennifer Lopez as Catharine Deane in The Cell
- Katie Leung as Cho Chang in the Harry Potter Movies
- Maya Rudolph as Rita in Idiocracy
by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour
The Walking Dead has returned! Huzzah! It takes quite a fan base for a TV show to come back in awards season. Competing with The Grammys, I made a night of channel flipping between my live-tweeting duties and undead counter programming: Bruno Mars crooning to zombies groaning; watching Rick’s sanity slip a little more to Jennifer Lopez’s slipping taste; witnessing Andrea’s desire for normalcy result in a huge case of denial (willfully ignoring fish tanks full of zombie heads?) to… nope. There’s really nothing like Andrea’s thought process.
Note: The Walking Dead Roundtable will be slightly different from now on: If you’ve read our Scandal roundtables, you’ll be familiar with the setup: each week, a Racialicious denizen will provide an episode summary the day after the newest episode airs. For The Walking Dead, that day will be Mondays. Then, on Friday a longer roundtable discussion of the episode is posted hosted by moi, Joe, accompanied by a circle of insightful fans.
So, now there will be two Walking Dead posts, or 2x the zombie fun.
Recap for The Walking Dead Episode 3.9: “The Suicide King” appears under the cut!
Hosted By Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour
In this week’s Walking Dead, we see Michonne proving why she’s so badass, yet again; we are reminded why Merle is oh so creepy; and we are shown, yet again, that Andrea is not thinking clearly enough in a world where people drag around dead bodies on leashes, keep their decaying loved ones in barns, and men shoot their best friends in the face to protect them from everyone. Carly Mitchell, Kiki Smith, and Jeannie Chan join me to analyze the whos, whats, and whys of this zombie world we see this week.
*I’ll let River Song say what we don’t want in the comments this time:
By Guest Contributor Jaymee Goh, cross-posted from Silver Goggles
It’s the first Friday of the month, all over again! Time for another steampunk POC interview, and today, Nivi Hicks of Salt Lake City, UT, claims the spotlight! Nivi’s been seen in her Bombay steampunk outfit, and her style threads influences from South Asia and the Middle East. She’s also one of the organizers of SaltCity Steamfest. Without further ado, Nivi Hicks!
How do you do steampunk? Or how do you steampunk or how do you participate in steampunk? Or what steampunk media do you do (lit, fashion, events)?
I’m a steampunk enthusiast and supporter within my community here in Utah. Events, fashions, icons–you name it, I try to support it. I’ve even taken up the reigns with a group of fellow steampunkians to create Utah’s first ever Steampunk Convention, SaltCity Steamfest. Eventually, I would like to expand into fashion as a model more.
When asked “what is steampunk?!” what do *you* say?
My escape that lets me dress pretty without having to live to a cookie-cutter expectation (like cosplay can do). It’s what happens when you take the industrial revolution, lengthen it, add steroids, a more exciting history and technical output, some lace, and fantasy–va-la!
Read the Post Steampunk POC: Nivi Hicks (African-American, Spanish, Lebanese)
by Latoya Peterson
The project was brought to HBO by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and it was brought to them by Robert Richardson. The plan is for Richardson and Gaiman to write the pilot together. […]
American Gods, the 2002 book that won both the Stoker and Hugo Award among other prizes, lays out a battle between two sets of gods. One consists of the traditional gods and mythological creatures who got their power because people throughout history believed in them. They are losing steam as people’s beliefs wane and are in danger of being supplanted by a new set of gods who reflect America’s preoccupation with technological advancements and obsessions with media, celebrity, technology and drugs. The protagonist is an ex-con who becomes the traveling partner of a conman who turns out to be one of the older gods trying to recruit troops to battle the upstart deities.
The main character of American Gods is Shadow, a wandering ex-convict who finds himself in a battle of mythology – the older Gods of folklore, brought to America by waves of immigration and kept alive by their devotees are set to face off against the newer Gods like the internet and the media. But what is most compelling to me isn’t just the story line – it’s that once again, Gaiman has been explicit about which of his characters are nonwhite by design. Gaiman, writing on the WELL message boards, explains his thoughts around Shadow:
[I]n my head at least he’s one of those people whose race doesn’t read easily — in the celebrity world, Vin Deisel’s an example of the same kind of look. But it seemed appropriate in a book about America that the hero was of mixed race.