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Enjoy These Blassics for Christmas

Much like Thanksgiving, this year Christmas is hitting a little different. Dad, Grandpas, and Uncles screaming at the same football game over Zoom. Mama, Grandmas, and Aunties are fixing dinners just for their families as everyone is social distancing. All the kids are Facetiming each other to the latest TikTok dances and doing Insta Videos on the Gram.

This doesn’t mean people are tossing aside the holiday festivities (Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa). Having a small circle of (COVID-free) friends or immediate family over is still a slim possibility with social distancing and Zoom.

This year, you can tap into the Black experience by enjoying times where family and friends could gather before social distancing. So, here are some Christmas Blassics for you to enjoy this holiday season.

This Christmas

This recent Christmas Blassic is based on the classic Donny Hathaway song of the same name. The film centers on the Whitfield family as the eldest son (played by Idris Elba) comes home for the first time in four years. But he’s return is only the tip of the iceberg as the family has to overcome secrets as Christmas approaches. Along with Elba, the film stars acting legends Loretta Devine, Delroy Lindo and Regina King as well as Lauren London, Chris Brown, Sharon Leal, Columbus Short and Laz Alonso.

Almost Christmas

Just like This Christmas, this modern Christmas Blassic centers on a dysfunctional family coming together during the Christmas season. The film follows the Meyers family as they come together for the first time since losing their matriarch. As Christmas approaches, secrets are revealed and hijinks ensue just in time for the holidays. The film stars Kimberly Elise, Mo’Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, Gabrielle Union, Keri Hilson, Jessie Usher, Danny Glover, Omar Epps, John Michael Higgins, D. C. Young Fly, and Romany Malco.

The Best Man Holiday

The Christmas Blassic reunites the cast of another Blassic The Best Man over a decade later. The film sees the gang back together again as Mia Sullivan (played by Monica Calhoun) sends the letters asking them to spend Christmas with her and her husband Lance. New and old issues come up between the friends as a tragic secret looms over the gathering. Along with Calhoun, the film stars Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, and Melissa De Sousa

Black Nativity

This modern Christmas Blassic is based on a stage musical retelling of the Nativity by celebrated Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. The film follows a teenaged boy (played by Jacob Latimore) as he is reunited with his estranged pastor grandparents. Through a series of musical numbers and Christmas festivities, the two generations comes together in the holiday spirit. Along with Latimore, the film stars acting legends Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Vondie Curtis-Hall as well as Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, and Nas.

The Preacher’s Wife

This 1996 Christmas Blassic is remake of the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife. The film follows an angel Dudley (played by Oscar winner Denzel Washington) as he tries to help a struggling pastor save his church as well as his family. Conflict ensues as Dudley begins getting closer to and falling for the pastor’s wife (played by the late Whitney Houston). Along with Washington and Houston, the film stars Courtney B. Vance, Loretta Devine, Gregory Hines, and Jenifer Lewis.

The Kid Who Loved Christmas

This 1990 TV film follows an adoptive father and son who fight to stay together during the Christmas season. The small family is torn apart after the tragic death of the adoptive mother. The entire family gathers to support them as the father fights Social Services to keep the little boy. The film stars Cicely Tyson, Michael Warren, Sammy Davis Jr. Sideman, Gilbert Lewis, Charles Q. Murphy, Ken Page, Ray Parker Jr., Della Reese, Esther Rolle, Ben Vereen. and Vanessa Williams.

While eating your dinner this holiday season, why not watch and reminisce over these amazing films.

Black Media and Creatives to Get Into This Thanksgiving

With so many looking for entertainment centered on the Black experience, here are some content to watch by yourself or with the fam over the Thanksgiving weekend.

For those who love big-screen visuals and great storytelling that touch on the Black experience, here’s a list of films to watch:

Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy (starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx) – inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s memoir

Ava DuVernay’s Selma (starring David Oyelowo) – based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s trek from Selma to Montgomery

Raoul Peck-directed documentary I Am Not Your Negro – based on the words and thoughts of writer James Baldwin

Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters – based on the Wiley College debate team’s victory over USC

Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures – based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing – a hot Summer day in New York culminates in a tragic end fueled by racial tensions

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) – based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight – based on a play by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney

Stefan Bristol’s See You Yesterday – a young girl travels back in time to save her slain brother

GeorgeTillman Jr’s The Hate You (starring Amandla Stenberg) – based on the book of the same name by Angie Thomas

Jordan Peele’s Get Out (starring Daniel Kaluuya) – a psychological examination of racism in the U.S.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse  an animated action adventure following the exploits of beloved Afro-Latino high schooler Miles Morales

Matthew A. Cherry-directed Hair Love – an animated short showcasing a father-daughter relationship dealing with Black hair

Reginald Hudlin-produced BeBe’s Kids (starring the late Robert Harris) – an animated family comedy highlighting a date turned family outing

For those looking for great visual and realistic storytelling on a weekly basis, here’s a list of television series to watch:

Ava DuVernay-produced miniseries When They See Us – based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case

The landmark miniseries Roots (1977 and 2016 versions) – the original is a classic while the new version taps into today’s issues

Cheo Hodari Coker-based Netflix series Luke Cage – based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name

Salim Akil-developed CW series Black Lightning – based on the DC Comics series of the same name

Milestone Media-created Warner Bros. animated series Static Shock – based on the Milestone Media/DC Comics series Static

April Blair-created CW series All American – inspired by the life of former professional football player Spencer Paysinger

Issa Rae-created HBO series Insecure – a comedic yet realistic portrayal of the Black female experience in the U.S.

Donald Glover-created FX series Atlanta – inspired by the career and life of multi-tainer Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino)

ABC sitcom Black-ish – an exploration of the middle-class Black family experience in suburban America 

Cartoon Network animated series Craig of the Creek – an animated series centered on a young Black boy’s imaginative exploits and his family

Aaron MacGruder’s The Boondocks – an adult animated series focused on skewering the low brow-end of Black culture

HBO animated anthology Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every Child – an animated series centered on retelling and reinventing classic fairytales with a Black or Latin spin

Disney animated family sitcom The Proud Family – an animated series about a young Black girl Penny Proud, friends, and family

Don Cornelius-centered biopic drama American Soul – a serialized telling of the rise of the Soul Train impresario through the decades

Justin Siemen-produced Netflix series Dear White People – a serialized version of the creator’s 2014 film centered on Black students at a PWI

Lena Waithe and Halle Berry-produced BET series Boomerang – a Millennial comedic retelling of the 1992 Eddie Murphy-led film

Michael B. Jordan-produced Netflix series Raising Dion – an action-adventure about a young Black boy discovering his powers

Misha Green-developed HBO series Lovecraft Country – a dramatic sci-fi retelling centered on Black travelers during Jim Crow-era America

Michaela Coel-created HBO series I May Destory You – a comedic take on a young Black writer dealing with the after effects of a night out

Robin Thede-headlined HBO series A Black Lady Sketch Show – a comedic sketch series centered on the Black female experience with an all-star cast

Netflix sketch series Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show – a sketch comedy series based on the exploits of the all-Black comedy troupe Astronomy Club

Hulu series Woke – a live-action-animated comedy centered on the different mishaps and everyday struggle of a rising Black cartoonists

Tracy Oliver-produced BET+ series The First Wives Club – a comedy reimagining of the 1996 film centered on Black female friends

Hopefully, this content by Black creators will not only entertain you but inform and provoke you to seek out other creators to champion and support.

Thriving and Improving for 2020 – Redux

2020 is only less than a month away from coming to an ending. Being a Black creative has taken many valleys and hills during this unpredictable year. But recent events have left me hesitantly optimistic.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I’ve been expanding my business to turn my passions into a steady income. Marketing through PatreonEtsy , and Fiverr has allowed me to grow my business in different ways.  I might pursue one or two more avenues to market my services. Operating an LLC has been the best decision I’ve made in the past few years. Working for myself has its good and bad days, but tapping into my inner entrepreneur has allowed me to become more familiar with the business side of art. 

I’m still working towards getting the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. While some things have become reality, there are still things in the works.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, freelance opportunities have been slowly coming to me as more individuals and businesses looking to freelancers and independent contractors to fill much-needed roles. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

Despite taking a break from my design work, I plan on finishing up Brothas and Losing Valarie before 2021 arrives. For the first time, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before year’s end, I finish my work on interiors and exteriors for both series. Because in 2021, I’m all about character designs as I try finishing up some summer leftovers while creating new ones.

In 2021, I plan on spending my time focusing on my action adventure series. I want dedicate my art skills to creating a visual representation of that show.

On a side note, I have decided to do my annual Black History Month project. I’m still working out whether to continue my current project or start something new. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Thriving and Improving for 2020

2020 is only less than a month away from coming to an ending. Being a Black creative has taken many valleys and hills during this unpredictable year. But recent events have left me hesitantly optimistic.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I’ve been expanding my business to turn my passions into a steady income. Marketing through PatreonEtsy , and Fiverr has allowed me to grow my business in different ways.  I might pursue one or two more avenues to market my services. Operating an LLC has been the best decision I’ve made in the past few years. Working for myself has its good and bad days, but tapping into my inner entrepreneur has allowed me to become more familiar with the business side of art. 

I’m still working towards getting the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. While some things have become reality, there are still things in the works.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, freelance opportunities have been slowly coming to me as more individuals and businesses looking to freelancers and independent contractors to fill much-needed roles. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

Despite taking a break from my design work, I plan on finishing up Brothas and Losing Valarie before 2021 arrives. For the first time, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before year’s end, I finish my work on interiors and exteriors for both series. Because in 2021, I’m all about character designs as I try finishing up some summer leftovers while creating new ones.

In 2021, I plan on spending my time focusing on my action adventure series. I want dedicate my art skills to creating a visual representation of that show.

On a side note, I have decided to do my annual Black History Month project. I’m still working out whether to continue my current project or start something new. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Business…Man!

2020 has thrown everyone for a loop. Despite all the chaos and ominous events, I finally reached one of my long-term goals – I officially have an LLC! Taking this creative journey has tested both my will and patience as I faced some unexpected barriers. Getting the funds to finally register my buisness has been a long two-year process. Between big bills and unexpected expenses, I had to prioritize other needs over my dream. Then, there’s “it that shall not be named” threw off my first quarter plans. But eventually, some help from the Small Business Administration allowed me to get the process started. Of course, while I waited to hear about my registration, I began marketing Patreon and Etsy pages as another way to get funds flowing in for future projects.  Now as an official creative business, I can really start bringing in a client base and pursuing my passion. Being creative during this “thing” has been draining and trying to say the less. But finally getting my LLC started has been one of a few bright spots for me this year. Now, I can get the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. I’ll update you when that starts coming together.
man wearing black crew neck t shirt using black headphones reading book while sitting

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, more freelance opportunities have been coming my way. The pandemic had put a stop to my freelance work for a while, but with the economy slowly reopening, more people are willing to hire freelancers and independent contractors. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base. I’m still working on my personal projects as I mentioned before. After a month or so of teasing, I’ll be putting up some of my work pretty soon.

Working on the Back – The Re-do

So last week turned out to be more writing-focused than anything so here is a repost of last week’s blog. I’m still working and striving to create the environment for my characters.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working on the Back

Working on my personal and professional creativity has been an amazing outlet for my mental health.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project is leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Forging My Own Path

Before all the chaos, pandemics, and civil unrest took over in 2020, I decided this would be the year I finally took a risk on myself and create my content on my terms. So far, forging this path hasn’t been easy.

silhouettes_logo

Character silhouette

In creating my own path, my eyes have been opened to how hard it can be for someone like me with all the creativity but minimal business sense. In order to make that transition a little easier, I’ve decided to make to create Patreon and Etsy pages to help me not only fund my own projects but to sell some of the design work I’ve been stockpiling the last few years. I see this opportunity to make help my creative dreams come true while giving to those who have supported me over the years.

For years, I’ve had certain ideas floating in my head with some of those that can be seen on this website (check my “Multimedia Art” menu for more). I want to do comedies, dramas, action-adventure, mystery, sci-fi and so much more. On top of the fact, I’ve been sitting on scripts, designs, story bibles, and so much more ready to be seen. And I’m tired of waiting for my chance. So I decided, in order to create the content I want to see, I will need to recruit other creators of color (especially Black ones) to help make animated content for the marginalized and underserved. But I need funds, that’s where Patreon and Etsy come into play. Plus, Hollywood is rushing for anything animated given the current state of live-action fare so strike while the iron is hot.

woman writing on her notebook

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

With that said, I’ve been concentrating on my personal projects for the past month or so. Most of many work can be seen on Instagram while some will be revealed over the course of the summer. It’ll definitely be worth the wait.

While I seek independence for my creativity, more freelance opportunities have been coming my way. The pandemic had put a stop to my freelance work for a while, but with the economy slowly reopening, more people are willing to hire freelancers and independent contractors. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

I’m still working on my personal projects as I mentioned before. Some of those results will start to pop up on my site pretty soon so be on the lookout.

 

The Art of Enterprise

Life can be a juggling act when it comes to being a multi-tasker. The more I comes into my own as a business owner the more life ebbs and flows. I feel my world has opened up, and now is my time to shine.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As an entrepreneur, it’s a must for me to make myself available to whatever the Lord throws my way. But in the same vein, I’ve realized every opportunity may not be a good fit. That doesn’t apply to my current situation. As I stated in my previous blog, I have begun writing for the website Comic Book Resource. Recently, I’ve been entertaining an offer to write content for an upstart street wear company. I’ll give more details after the papers have been finalized. This opportunities have me feeling as if my path is finally starting to take shape. Since graduation, it’s been tough creatively and financially as I get back into the game of adulting. Hopefully, I can thrive as I balance all the facets of my life.

Lately, I’ve been slacking on my writing, but now, I’m back at it with this two gigs. Focusing on my screenwriting has become another step in getting back in my routine. I’m currently working on my pilot script for a potential kids’ animated superhero series. This idea has been floating around in my head for years. And now is the right time to begin. With a synopsis and beat sheet written, I feel I’m in a good space to write it. Of course, I can’t forgot about this blog. I plan on being my consistent and timely when it comes to my own content. This place is my way of keeping up with my followers as well as a release for me. I know writing as a profession can become tedious at times, but this place is my escape from all outside distractions.

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

In the near future, I hope to give more updates on my script progress as well as my future plans for Nanowrimo.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Reclaiming My Writing Time

When reality clashes with passion, it can lead to a crossroad for any creative. Post-grad life has proved to be a little more chaotic than I initially thought. With that said, I’m reclaiming my writing time back now!

hands coffee cup apple
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Since my last post, life has had its share of ups and downs. On the positive end, I moved up the corporate ladder just a little (even though the position is not in my field). Getting use to the new facility as well as the new schedule has required an adjustment period I didn’t see lasting this long. All I know is that the new job will require some better time management for my creative activities. Another reason for my hiatus had to do with a family health crisis. While my family member is okay, it took some time to help them readjust to their new life with doctor’s visits, medication, etc. Since that phase is winding down, I can now concentrate more on my writing for the rest of the year (hopefully).

This space will definitely be more active as I continue to grow as a writer. I have so many things I want to accomplish before the end of this year. While some things are a guarded secret, I can say I will be participating in Nanowrimo this year. The project I want to work on is the expansion of an original piece I did a year or two ago. It’ll be a form of therapy for me while being a love letter to my hometown. But continue to watch this space for more on my future projects.

grayscale photo of man walking in hole
Photo by Kasuma on Pexels.com

After two turbulent months , I’ve finally got creative mojo back, and I am not going to let this go to waste.


Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my future!

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

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