This past Saturday, May 7th, was a phenomenal day of events in New York City. With an unlimited metro card in my pocket, seven trains over two lines, I made my way across three boroughs to partake in events that make NYC what it is.
Free Comic Book Day
My day started with an event that isn’t just for NYC but as one of the centers for comic book culture it is fitting that I joined in the Free Comic Book Day giveaways at the Midtown Comics located on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan. What is an annual event intended to promote the tradition of comics and encourage customers to go support comic book retailers, As they are one of the bigger spots that can afford to give out big sets of comics to the customers I stopped there first to see what I could get.
And while I pick up the occasional odds and ends there, for me I get the bulk of my comics from this scrappy spot near the World Trade Center called Chameleon Comics. “A full service collectibles store specializing in comic books, graphic novels, trading cards (sports and non-sports)” and a knowledgeable staff that will help support your comic habit with a good laugh and out the box comic talk. There’s a reason I’ve been going there for more then 20 years and it’s not just the 20% off, so go find that place in your hood, support them, support independent artist and in turn support yourself.
And this was just the start of my amazing day.
Female Flava – Digital Sisterhood Conference 2016
Say what you will about Facebook, but it came thru for me with my next stop up in the Boogie Down. Held at The Point, a super hidden gem in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx, in what looks to be a refurbished garage, this was the 8th annual event to hosted by The Point CDC’s Women’s Empowerment Group to “celebrate the women who are change makers in our community and around the world.” Part conference, part concert, all empowerment, this event had workshops on writing code, perceptions of women in media and the influence of media on our youths health.
I sat in on the Coding 101 workshop presented by Tunisia Mitchell of The Knowledge House, a non-profit organization that is “… dedicated to placing young adults at the center of leading innovation in their neighborhoods to spur community-based economic development.” The modest workshop was made up of young teens from the Bronx and Queens, using refurbished laptops we explored how the Internet changed they way we live and write basic code to make a website devoted to how each of us feels our world can be improved.
One of the most powerful moments was the keynote address given by Victoria Cartagena. This Bronx native spoke about her story of abuse, rebirth and the creation of iambeautyfull.com, a website and movement to create a sisterhood of women who will inspire values of courage, compassion and connection. By doing community outreach and public speaking, their Beauty Brand Ambassadors use events like this to help other women who need that support to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams.
With great entertainment, free food and an air of community next year’s Female Flava – Digital Sisterhood Conference should be on everyone’s calendar.
Target’s First Saturday
I ended my night taking the subway out of the BX, back thru Manhattan, all the way to the planet of Brooklyn, specifically for Target’s First Saturday event held at the Brooklyn Museum. While not a secret anymore, this monthly event brings folks in from all over the city to experience art and culture in a more laid back and festive atmosphere. This night was African inspired, with a bit of the Caribbean seasoned in. The events ranged from interactive African storytelling of folktales and myths for the kids, to dance and drumming from Ifetayo Youth Ensemble, to the Vogue Ball, Africa’sOut presentation of short films and multi media artist Jacolby Satterwhite accompanied by vogue dancers.
But being who I am, I went for the Book Club. That night featured authors Nnedi Okorafor and N.K. Jemisin reading from their works, moderated by author Ibi Zoboi and music / visuals provided by BKLYN ZULU. This reading and panel talk was full of creative and political insight for fans of sci-fi backed up but haunting visuals and rhythms. After all three ladies read their works, they spoke about the struggle as writers to not be marginalized because of their race, gender and genre. I’ve had the opportunity to interview Ms. Jemisin before (click here for that interview) and this panel was a great follow up to themes she spoke on as well as hearing the other authors speak on their need to write and be heard. Sadly my sci-fi reading has mostly been of the space opera variety but now I’ll be on the hunt for their books that from the brief readings have me intrigued.
I’ll wrap up with the song that has been playing in my head as I committed this to paper / computer, shout out to De La Soul…
#femaleflava16 #thepointcdc #theknowledgehouse #BrooklynMuseum #FirstSaturday #FreeComicbookDay #ChameleonComics #IAmBeautyFull