(H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1–4 by Juliana “Jewels” Smith • Illustrated by Ronald Nelson • Colors/Lettering by by Mike Hampton
Glyph Award winner Juliana “Jewels” Smith and illustrator Ronald Nelson have created an unflinching visual and literary tour-de-force on the most pressing issues of the day— including gentrification, police violence, and the housing crisis—with humor and biting satire. (H)afrocentric tackles racism, patriarchy, and popular culture head-on. Unapologetic and unabashed, (H)afrocentric introduces us to strong yet vulnerable students of color, as well as an aesthetic that connects current Black pop culture to an organic reappropriation of hip hop fashion circa the early 90s.
We start the journey when gentrification strikes the neighborhood surrounding Ronald Reagan University. Naima Pepper recruits a group of disgruntled undergrads of color to combat the onslaught by creating and launching the first and only anti-gentrification social networking site, mydiaspora.com. The motley crew is poised to fight back against expensive avocado toast, muted Prius cars, exorbitant rent, and cultural appropriation.
Whether Naima and the gang are transforming social media, leading protests, fighting rent hikes, or working as “Racial Translators,” the students at Ronald Reagan University take movements to a new level by combining their tech-savvy, Black Millennial sensibilities with their individual backgrounds, goals, and aspirations.
PM Press 2017. New paperback; 136 pages