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.

Brown girls dominate Wakandacon 2018

LOCAL AUTHOR AND TEEN ARTIST PARTNER TO INSPIRE GIRLS WITH SCI-FI SERIES AT FIRST ANNUAL WAKANDACON

Former Miss America contestant writes brown girls into the spotlight; 9th grader illustrates

CHICAGO July 31, 2018 – Young women of color can identify with new bold champions in the young adult science-fiction fantasy series, The Hibouleans. Writing and drawing their heroes into existence, author and former beauty queen, Octavia Reese joined forces with fourteen-year old illustrator Aaliyah Lachel’e.  Together, the girl team is filling a void, bringing young brilliant brown girls to the forefront of epic adventures.octavia reese wakandacon

“I’m a big nerd,” Octavia said. “I grew up admiring Stan Lee, Stephen King, Chris Van Allsburg, Tim Burton and Ed Gorey. But my favorite adventures always seemed to leave out characters that looked like me. I was tired of watching everyone else have all the fun. My main character, Taryn, looks like me.”

Octavia 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.

Her idea resonated with child-artist Aaliyah, also known as “PeanutBuddar,” who jumped at the invitation to illustrate The Hibouleans when Octavia reached out to her mom.

“When I first heard about The Hibouleans, I couldn’t wait to read it – it’s the kind of story I love to read and watch,” Aaliyah said. “Being able to bring fantasy characters to life is so exciting, plus they look like me and the main character is my age. It’s like I’m drawing my own story.”

Aaliyah, who has been drawing since she was three years old, started her own company, PeanutBuddarArt, when she couldn’t find characters in fashion and media that matched her features.

Wakandacon IG FINAL PBA“I love cartoons, visual novels and books, but I never really got to see any characters that I could relate to – not in their skin, not in their hair, and not in their shapes,” Aaliyah said.

“No one really looked like me at all. So, I drew some that did.” Aaliyah’s colorful and charming characters adorn backpacks, lunchboxes, notebooks and pencil cases.

“Kids should be able to read books and watch TV shows and be able to see themselves in those characters,” she said. Aaliyah has already been published twice as an illustrator and in addition to thriving in high school, playing sports and running her business, she plans to work with Octavia throughout The Hibouleans 10-book series.

Octavia and Aaliyah were both thrilled to be a part of the first annual Wakandacon Convention, which aims to unite fantasy fans and comic-book-loving people of color around the central theme of Black Panther’s Wakanda.

 

Find The Hibouleans and PeanutBuddarArt this weekend at Wakandacon: Friday, August 3, 4pm – 8pm; Saturday, August 4, 11am – 8pm; and Sunday, August 5, 10am – 2pm. For more information, visit www.wakandacon2018.com, www.octaviareese.com, and www.peanutbuddarart.com.

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Why The Hibouleans Matters

People. I am still reeling from Detroit Festival of Books 2018. While I’m riding this wave, I wanted to reflect on the experience.

This is why it was incredible:

  • It was my first appearance as an author in my hometown. I have been a Chicago resident for 12 years but The Hibouleans is based in Detroit, where I was born and raised.
  • It was my first event featuring Volume 2 in my series, The Hibouleans.
  • I nearly sold-out – I brought 40 copies with me, and left with only seven!
  • Anu Prakash from WXYZ Chanel 7 stopped by and told my story; on Facebook alone, it reached more than two thousand views in one day.
    • See the original article here:
    • Or watch the archived YouTube video:

I am honored and thrilled to be a woman of color envisioning other brilliant brown girls to the forefront of sci-fi/fantasy epic adventures.

The Hibouleans is not only a part of my soul and a child of my imagination, but it is also my dream of what the future could be…I hope the America that my sons inherit has a new, evolved, inclusive and openhearted baseline for what is normal.

Here’s why The Hibouleans matters:

  • Ethnic representation matters, period. Brilliant brown teenage girls are the heroes of this adventure. The Hibouelans is an addictive commercial fiction piece, featuring African-American Taryn and her best friend Priya, of Asian Indian decent – the heroes of the story are the kind of people that look like me and my friends – we’re seldomly featured, and if at all, we’re not even close to being the focal point.
  • Gender representation matters, period. The male characters in The Hibouleans support, encourage and respect the leading ladies. In The Hibouleans, strength, bravery and ability is not only shared and received, but expected equally across genders.
  • STEM and creative representation matters, period. Taryn and Priya are the ultimate magical geek heroes: they don’t shy away from adventure, they’re equal parts artistically and mathematically creative; one of them has telekinetic powers and the other is a shapeshifter.

The Hibouleans is not only a part of my soul and a child of my imagination, but it is also my dream of what the future could be. I hope to normalize brown women paving the way in fearless adventures, sound leadership and groundbreaking scientific advancements. I hope to see more men that love — and are not intimidated by — strong women. I hope the America that my sons inherit has a new, evolved, inclusive and openhearted baseline for what is normal.

I’ve designed The Hibouleans as a series of novellas – if you consider one novel to be an entire season of a TV show; each volume in my series is comparable to one episode – which I release every few months. The first 10 volumes are already written and I cannot wait to put them in your hands!

xoxo,

Octavia