FORMER MISS MICHIGAN RETURNS TO DETROIT BOOK FEST TO NORMALIZE WOMEN OF COLOR LEADING SCI-FI FANTASY ADVENTURES

– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –

 

FORMER MISS MICHIGAN RETURNS TO DETROIT BOOK FEST TO NORMALIZE WOMEN OF COLOR LEADING SCI-FI FANTASY ADVENTURES

Author and former pageant queen promotes stories with Black women in the leading role

 DETROIT, July 15, 2019 –  Octavia Reese, Detroit-native and Miss Michigan 2005, will return to Detroit Book Fest on July 21 with the next two installments in her sci-fi fantasy series, The Hibouleans. Last year, Octavia’s first two volumes aimed to inspire young women to fearlessly delve into STEM-related subjects through her epic adventure treasure-hunt story. This year, Octavia wants to remind fans about the importance of normalizing women of color in the protagonist role for any genre of adventures, especially sci-fi and fantasy.the Hibouleans Octavia Reese

“When Disney announced Halle Bailey will take the lead as Ariel in the new Little Mermaid, I was thrilled,” Octavia said. “But not everyone was.”

Octavia was referring to critics from various social media platforms that were upset to learn Ariel would be played by a Black actress.

“If people can get upset about the skin color of a half-fish-half-human fictional character, it only proves we still have a long way to go when it comes to accepting women of color in leading roles,” she said.

In her young adult series, The Hibouleans, Octavia created a world where leading teens, Taryn and Priya, are STEM fanatics and must use their math and science knowledge to solve clues as they embark on a life-or-death treasure hunt against terrifying shape-shifting Hibouleans. She said she wrote the series for all the brown girls out there that love problem-solving, strength-building, lab experiments and dream of having super powers and being the hero in epic adventures.

“It’s incredibly important, not just for young Black and brown girls to refuse to believe their skin color is limiting, but it’s just as necessary for everyone else to begin to envision women of color as main characters, too, not just restricted to foreign supporting roles,” she said. “We need an entire cultural shift – we have as much a right and a capacity to lead as anyone else.”

Octavia, who now resides in Chicago, represented the state of Michigan in the 2006 Miss America pageant, and is also a cellist and composer. She wrote The Hibouleans book score, too – the musical theme that accompanies her characters’ adventures in the series.

“As a musician, I also hope to show my audience that Black women can do anything – we can be queens, scientists, authors, physicians, Hibouleans, cellists and even mermaids.”Cello Goddess Open Octavia Reese Miss Michigan The Hibouleans

Find Octavia, her cello and The Hibouleans Volumes 1 – 4, this Sunday, July 21 from 10am – 4pm at Detroit Book Fest. For more information, visit www.detroitbookfest.com and www.octaviareese.com.

 

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Haiku 9/31

Plowing through hassles

I am capable and strong

I can accept help

Asking for help has been tough for me. In my life, historically, asking for or accepting an offer of assistance has always come with a string or two — a hidden tit for tat clause. I don’t like feeling like I owe someone something or that I’m always under their debt and control because I accepted a favor.

So I’d rather just do it myself. Even if it’s the hardest or most complicated path, I’d rather do it alone and know that I am free from anyone’s leashes or expectations. But I’m softening. I’m learning that there are genuine gifts. I’m learning that I don’t have to wear all hats and handle all tasks and manage all things. I’m learning that some wonderful gems are happy to help because it is their pleasure to assist — not because they’re making a downpayment on a future favor; not because they’re holding a pot of boiling water over your head until you repay the gesture; not because they feel entitled to your time, energy and submission.

I’m grateful to be surrounded by people that give and love and help for giving and loving and helping’s sake. As I look at my friend-circle, I see genuine support and care, not leverage or manipulation. I see it in my church. I see it in my GirlGang. This is God. Caring for your neighbors and never standing idly by watching them struggle to their feet. This is what it means to hold each other.

It is a beautiful gift to help others. It is a more humbling gift to accept help.

Cheers to the best friends and the most sincere care.

Haiku 5/31

Brilliant talent serves.

With strength, purpose and passion,

She brings home the crown.

Octavia reese haiku a day

Today, I’m judging a pageant in Wisconsin. This one is dedicated to the Miss America program and all the incredible women that cross one of the hundreds of stages across America each year.

#haikuaday

Panelists Discuss Black Panther Film at Maywood Fest

Black Panther Panel Discussion 

 maywood fest black panther

Pictured above:  Novella “The Hibouleans v. 1, by Octavia Reese (2nd from left), Jeff Johnson, and Dr. Yaounde Olu, NCGR III, author of “Almanac of Unfavorable Timing”

 

For Release 9/12/18              Nzingha Nommo, 708-420-1155

 

“WAKANDA FOREVER…”

Nestled inside the Maywood Fest’s showing of the film Black Panther, Afriware Books will host a Black Panther Panel Discussion on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 starting at 6pm.  The Maywood Fest is a three day event 9/14-9/16 which takes place at Veteran’s Park, 125 5th Ave. in Maywood, IL.  We are pleased to have three distinguished subject matter experts including Jeff Johnson, Octavia Reese, and Dr. Yaounde Olu.  Afriware Books’ owner, Nzingha Nommo is honored to be facilitating the panel discussion. “It was a delight to invite three people from diverse professional backgrounds who I’ve enjoyed discussing the film with.”

Jeff Johnson is an aficionado of film, television and comic books.  Jeff studied film criticism at Roger Ebert’s alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, while completing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Jeff provided consulting services to filmmakers while earning an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Professionally, Mr. Johnson is a Director of Process Improvement at USG Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building products and innovative solutions around the world.

Author and cellist Octavia Reese, will also join us.  She is  the proud mom of three boys, and is a relentless creative, speaking life into women through writing, music, dance and art.  Ms. Reese is the author of a young adult sci-fi fantasy series, The Hibouleans, featuring heroic and brilliant young women of color. She’s also composed a musical score to accompany to the novella series. 

And finally, Dr. Yaounde Olu, an award winning editorial cartoonist for The Chicago Crusader in Chicago will join us.  Dr. Yaounde’ Olu is additionally a native Chicagoan, illustrator, cable television producer, astrological scientist, researcher, educator, founder and artistic director of the Drum Divas, composer, and indie comic and graphic novel publisher.  Dr. Olu holds a BS in Education from Chicago State University; an MA in Fine and Performing Arts from Governors State University, and a PhD in Health Sciences/Holistic Medicine from the Union Institute. She also holds certificates in Manuscript Editing, Book Publishing, and Publication Design from the University of Chicago.  

The panel will discuss the cultural significance, creativity and career paths surrounding the success of the film Black Panther.  The format will include introductions, film commentaries and Q&A from the audience.

Afriware Books will have Black Panther comic books, and merchandise to compliment the occasion. Octavia Reese and Dr. Olu will have merchandise available.