John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award-winning essay collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center's Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal's Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings sits on the editorial advisory boards for The Black Scholar and the new Ohio State Press imprint New Suns: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Speculative.
Remixing The Trap: Race, Space, and the Speculative South
"My project would entail creating and designing the black Southern Hip Hop influenced CyberTrap collaborative narrative world and its narrative parameters, its characters, and producing stories that take place within this space. I would also develop an exhibition and art book that explored the underpinnings of this new science fiction/performative subgenre and its usefulness as a method of analysis and celebration of the black South and its sometimes contentious place in the psyche of the collective unconscious of the American mind.
In addition, my project would be to do intensive research and critical making around these ideas and create deliverables from my collaboration with Black Kirby co-founder Stacey Robinson, artist Tim Fielder, and Dr. Regina Bradley. All of the collaborators on the team are from the South and are connected to black speculative cultural critique and production. Our current CyberTrap collaborative project is called Cell Therapy; named for the Goodie Mob single from their 1995 album Soul Food. Cell Therapy is an anthology of comics and illustrated prose and critical design work that would take place in a future Southern space called New Jackson, Mississippi."
Watch the recorded stream HERE.