Black folks gather to celebrate, discuss Black Speculative Fiction, sci-fi, fantasy

| June 21, 2016
DL Russell shares a photo op with fellow author Nicole Givens Kurtz.

DL Russell shares a photo op with fellow author Nicole Givens Kurtz.

By D.L. Russell

Special to Frost Illustrated

When I first walked into the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center, in Atlanta, for the State of Black Science Fiction Convention, my first reaction was to smile because I realized I was around hundreds of black people who were just as weird as I am.

The two day event was organized and co-chaired by author and publisher Milton Davis and author Balogun Ojetade, both veterans in the world of Black Speculative Fiction. Authors, artists, filmmakers and lovers of the genre came from all over the country to help this first annual event get off to a great start.

Vendors display their wares at the State of Black Science Fiction Convention.

Vendors display their wares at the State of Black Science Fiction Convention.

“At the 2016 State of Black Science Fiction Convention, we provided a fun and safe space for transformation; retraining and healing ourselves from damage done by the legacies of oppression, lack of inclusion and misrepresentation in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Cosplay and other Fandom,” said Ojetade.; “We are building a sense of community, of unity, of shared values, an alternative world view and a commitment to the creation and control of our images and stories in the speculative arts an integrated part of our lives.”

Cosplay fans display their looks for the convention. Cosplay (costume play) is the tradition of dressing like characters from fictional works such as movies, video games and books. The art has strong ties to Japanese fiction forms such as manga and anime.

Cosplay fans display their looks for the convention. Cosplay (costume role play) is the tradition of dressing like characters from fictional works such as movies, video games and books. The art has strong ties to Japanese fiction forms such as manga and anime.

As an organization,  the SOBSF’S convention goals were to showcase the diverse talents of black speculative fiction and move forward as a group. Several of the discussion panels were about the future and many of the participants voiced their concern of us as creative black people to continue to “drive the bus,” of our genre, even as white America begins to realize we are a legitimate money maker, because what they see as an entertainment trend, we believe is here to stay.

As for me, I was there to showcase my company. This event was supposed to be a coming out part of sorts for Black Books Publishing Inc. and I on that front we were very successful. If interest in our table and sales were any indicator, visitors to the convention’s vendor areas liked what they saw from us.

I also learned a lot, spending much of my time discussing what we’ve done and future plans with other writers and editors.  I participated in panel discussions on being a small black publisher and another on the future of Black Speculative Fiction, in all its forms and I left the event realizing what a great time it is to be black and creative.

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Category: Arts, Books & Literature, Entertainment, National

About the Author ()

Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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