In 2011, while teaching at Laney College in Oakland, I was experimenting with comic books as a way to introduce really complicated concepts like the prison industrial complex. I assigned my students the Real Costs of Prisons Comix, a comic about the war on drugs, the gendered effects of prisons, and prison towns. Students began coming to my office hours and saying they had given the book to family members. I was floored. I was already a huge fan of The Boondocks and using that in class, so I decided to create my own comic.
I began writing notes for what would become (H)afrocentric. I was told early on by a friend of mine, that I needed to write and create the comic as if I already had an illustrator. As if I already had a book deal. In other words, if I waited until everything aligned, the comic would never get finished.
(H)afrocentric is a response to my experience being a young educator in Community Colleges, musing on the relationship between my brother and I, my hometown, and my life in Oakland. My interests in issues of race, class, gender and sexuality are told through humor, developing what I call a, “liberatory science fiction.”
Since it Launched in 2010, (H)afrocentric has been featured in Ebony, Gawker, GOOD, SF Examiner and Afro Punk, and on KPFA, CUNY TV and more. I've had the opportunity to speak about the relationship between using comics to talk about racial justice, gender equity, political literacy, and humor at the Schomburg Center, New York Comic Con, Studio Museum of Harlem, Baltimore Book Festival and The Cooper Union. In 2016, I was honored at the African American Library and Museum of Oakland with the first annual Excellence in Comics and Graphic Novels Award. In 2016, I received the Glyph Award for Best Writer on (H)afrocentric Volume 4, becoming the first woman to ever win the award in 2016. In the fall of 2017, (H)afrocentric Volumes 1-4 will be released on PM Press.
I’m passionate about fusing critical pedagogy with writing, workshops, and educational training. I take this approach, not only when it comes to creating my comic book, but in workshops and speaking engagements.