"(H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1 - 4" by Juliana "Jewels" Smith, Mike Hampton

Updated: Jan 30


TITLE: (H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1 - 4

AUTHOR: Juliana "Jewels" Smith, Mike Hampton (Illustrations), Ronald Nelson (Illustrations), Kiese Laymon (Foreword)

PUBLISHER: PM Press

PUBLISHED DATE: September 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1629634487

PAGES: 136

I really loved this.

"(H)afrocentric is the best of Boondocks, without crusty misogynoir. It's the best of Chappelle, without uncritical transphobia. It's the best of A Different World and Atlanta without commercial breaks every eight minutes selling you colorful sugar and fried meats" - Kiese Laymon

No better words could ever describe this comic that is funny as hell, sharp, and unapologetic af.

Naima is the activist. The woman wears a tank top sporting a picture of John Brown under "Ally" in big bold letters and totes a portable soap box, she is the biracial "woke" sistah who is tirelessly fighting for the cause on the campus of Ronald Reagan University. Her girlfriend, Renee, is a fashionista who uses her wardrobe to challenge gender biases. Miles is Naima's musically inclined brother, always ready to burst her lofty revolutionary ideals. El is the overworked Mexican American student, trying to both help his family and do well in school. As Naima attempts to plan a Block party, she runs into a cast of characters and scenarios that is satirical of millennial college culture. There's a website developer who's also addicted to social media...there are the crunchy granola white students who know how to install solar panels and appropriate black culture, and then there's the hip hop head obsessed with kemetic energy and Wu Tang. By volume 4, Naima is grappling with her desire to be a revolutionary but also still land internships and gainful employment. She's then visited by Miss Fairy who holds a startling resemblance to Fannie Lou Hamer...in tights. Miss Fairy hooks her up with a job pulled straight out of Baratunde Thurston's How to Be Black by interpreting the behavior of black people to white people... The challenge: Can Naima answer the questions without getting on her soap box and ruining the gig?

These characters were so fresh, unlike any I've seen in a comic before. Completely relatable, downright hilarious, and so damn smart. I'm not sure when the next volume is due out, but I'll be waiting on it. I totally could see this as a show, filling a void left gaping and wide when Aaron McGruder was ousted from Boondocks.

hafrocentric: GETTING TO KNOW (H)AFROCENTRIC: AUTHOR, JULIANA "JEWELS" SMITH

Recommendation: Read it! You'll thank me later.

Audience: Millennials and Up

*I borrowed the eBook version of this comic from my library Hoopla account.

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