I had the pleasure of going to Rotterdam and Amsterdam for a second time in two years. Here are some images from the trip.
The New York Comic Con was host to “The Black Panel” on Saturday afternoon, where a variety of black voices in comics and animation discussed their upcoming work. At the panel were BET’s Vice President of Animation Denys Cowan, musician Prodigal Sunn, AllHipHop.com CEO/Founder Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur, Jackie Ormes Society’s Cheryl Lynn, Blockhedz creators Mark and Mike Davis, and BET’s President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin. Several of the panelists seemed to be late additions, since they were not named in pre-con announcements.
The Davis twins showed off an animation test for Blockhedz, which showed the same melding of styles from the source comics, combining hip-hop music videos and anime to produce something distinct and innovative. Mike and Mark Davis stated that the music would be incorporated as part of the storyline, and that the animation test was a way to figure out a production path to bring Blockhedz into a full-fledged animated production. After the Blockhedz video clip, Reginald Hudlin spent a few minutes recapping his long way around to become a comic book writer. His initial entertainment successes were as the director of House Party and Boomerang and producer of the animated TV series Bebe’s Kids. He recounted how working with legendary comics artist Neal Adams led to a meeting with Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and Marvel editor Axel Alonso, where Hudlin stated, “Spider-Man is the Beatles, and as much as I love the Beatles, we live in a hip-hop era.” Ultimately, he was handed the reins to the Black Panther monthly comic book title. Hudlin discussed the recent events in the title, such as the Panther’s role in Civil War, the marriage of the character to Storm of the X-Men (joking that, “Storm actually admitted she was was black”), and a trip of Marvel’s black superheroes to post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction and relief. He garnered applause when he stated that the Black Panther and Storm would be leading the Fantastic Four in the aftermath of Civil War. Michael Davis reminded audiences of his new comics imprint named Guardian, which will be the spiritual successor to the Milestone line of comics, and also noted his weekly column on the ComicMix website. He also said that he is doing a graphic novel on the Underground Railroad coming soon from Dark Horse Comics. Musician Prodigal Sunn then updated audiences on his plans for a cartoon that would challenge conventional wisdoms and openly address a variety of taboo topics, saying that he was “going to touch all the things people don’t know” and adding that enlightening audiences about injustices, both open and secret, is the first step to instigating the drive for change. There was no word on when the cartoon would be going into full production. Panelist Cheryl Lynn announced the Ormes Society, dedicated to the promotion of past and present black female cartoonists.
The society is named after the first female African-American syndicated cartoonist, who created Torchy Brown as a working woman several years before the debut of Brenda Starr. She noted the organization’s goals of raising awareness of current black female cartoonists and the long and largely unchronicled legacy that they are upholding. Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur of AllHipHop.com stated that he co-founded his website due to his love of music, hip-hop, and comics. He is currently developing a comic/cartoon titled which he described as in the same vein as comic strips like The Boondocks or Dilbert.
Denys Cowan closed the organized portion of the panel by recounting his past history in the comics industry, stating that he was standing on the shoulders of the black comic book artists that came before him such as Billy Graham. He also reminded panel attendees that he will be returning to drawing Batman for Batman Confidential.
The first question during the Q&A section was the perennial favorite on how to break into comics, although this time from the perspective of a black creator. Mark Davis responded that it required working harder, and that in a lot of cases you had to do things yourself. Jigsaw also stated that picking up on new technologies is a powerful way to gain leverage in the industry, citing the success of his own website as an example. He went on to note that it’s helpful to “hang around like-minded people,” and emphasized the importance of dialogue across many different people. Continue reading
I was honored to be a winner at the The Men of Style Awards presented by Gillette Fusion & Rollingout.com. I have to confess, I was a bit taken aback since there are so many people that are more deserving in my opinion. However, I gladly accepted the award and looked at it like Obama winning the Nobel peace prize – as a goal to strive for. Here are some of the images from the event.
Fonzworth Bentley and Chuck Creekmur
Aleesha Smalls from Rocawear and Chuck Creekmur
Kenny Burns, Malikha Mallette, Fonzworth Bentley
One of the honorees and the VIP’s
Greg Watkins and Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur
Dubbed “the CNN of hip-hop” by Essence, New Jersey-based AllHipHop has been keeping it real for almost a decade. Greg Watkins and Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur hew closely to the news, personalities, and wares surrounding the sounds that speak to the founders. In ’09, Michael Jackson was the news, says Creekmur, as was the continuing relevance of Jay-Z and “anything beef-related.”
Going into 2010, the hip-hop head says, “I’m eager to see who is going to step out of the shadows of Jay-Z and 50 Cent, artists that have dominated for so long. People are clamoring for something new, and in hip-hop, the crown is never given willingly.” —KC
I did a massive interview with Abba Onyeani of theblackurbantimes.com. I think this is the best interview that I have ever done in my life. Why? Abba was well prepared and we had a very good conversation about a number of parts of Hip-Hop and business. If you have the time, check this out.
Here I talk about the early days of AllHipHop and how things came to be, from the very, very early days of struggle and strife until the present situation. Also, I discuss the evolution of the internet and how so much has changed in 10 years – from recession to recession. The clip ends with my giving my views on certain websites.
In part 2, I talk about the evolution of Hip-Hop and how the indie game is the future along with good music. Abba also brings up Jay-Z’s comeback with Blueprint 3 and what rappers are key in rap’s success going forward.
In this part, I talk about my favorite rappers, Soulja Boy, Slaughterhouse and other items.
I talk about the difficult part of business and how to survive in a recession as well as the moves AllHipHop.com has made in the year 2009. Mobile, video, iPhone apps, AllHipHop Radio…it is all here…