#UPDATES: September 18th

Culture

By: Steven Underwood

 

What’s Good,

For those of you who’re in the unknown, this is the owner of this wonderful website, Steve. After some months, I thought it prudent to keep everyone up to date on what I’ll be doing with the site, kind of a short term goals. While this blog is primarily a host for my portfolio and professional writing career, it is also a place I want to push as a platform for Black Art, and Black Artists (because those things are the topics I tend to talk about in MY art).

With that being said, I think it prudent that I list some things that will be rolling on soon onto the platform:

1.) I am going to pull back from the “take-downs”. A lot of people traffic my read of Luka Sabbat, and while I stand by a lot of what I say, I don’t agree with participating in negativity as a means to promote my career. It was an honest moment and necessary, but I don’t believe in holding grudges, or chaining someone to my opinion of them. If something happens that warrants it, I’ll do it again, but Luka Sabbat is a Black artist doing his thing, and this is a place for uplifting that. So… do with that as you will.

2.) Patreon! I have one. It’s pretty damn great, and I cherish it. On there, I will be releasing some of my cutting edge fiction work, like my screenplays, my short stories, etc. Now that I’ve finished something exciting, I can’t wait to roll out more things for you guys. Following this post, I will put a link to my work you guys might love.

3.) Artist Directory. This is something I think will help a lot with my work. Keeping a tab on specific Black Artists, it will allow me to provide the content here that I think will most help. So, PLEASE submit to me artists you’ve come across in any area and I will look into their work. Hell, send me work they’ve posted online: I’ll review it! This includes:

  • Music (Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, Blues, Pop Rock, etc.)
  • Literature
  • Painting
  • Graphic Design
  • Film
  • Videos (YouTube, instagram, etc.)
  • Fashion
  • Modelling
  • Dance

4.) My Novel is Done. Yeah, I finished a Novel. Soon, you will see a few pitches and a summary of it, but until then  just know a Black Guy wrote a whole 150k+ Fantasy Novel starring ghetto black kids.

5. Blow-by-Blow on Internships, Travel and Art Lifestyle: I’ll start blogging about a lot of things. I work for OUT MAGAZINE to expand my background in Fashion Editorial, I travel to different places for great shows and experiences and participate in a bit of Travel Journalism and, most importantly, I have involved myself in exposing the REAL LIFE of the Black Millennial Artist, so I’ll be doing my part in showcasing what that looks like.

 

So, there’s everything.

If you see something that interests you, or you have any questions, feel free to comment. I don’t bite; I just quip.

 

–Steven

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#ONYASHELF: CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE BY TOMI ADEYEMI ‘REVIEW’

Articles, Music

By: Steven Underwood

TL;DR: Snow-haired black girl, Zélie Adebola, comes from a race of magical and oppressed race in a world without magic known as Maji. Hated for their violent power and spiritual culture, Zélie embarks on a quest to return the power to her people alongside the timid, yet progressive daughter of the very king who slaughtered their people – and most importantly, her Maji mother – Amami. If only the heir to the crown of Orisha, Inan, shared his sister’s views, rather than a coveted secret.

“Safe?”

Yemi meets my eye with a hatred that impales me like a sword. Though her mouth never opens, her voice rings in my skull.

“Safe ended a long time ago.”

***

The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is one of the last examples of why the novel cannot be doomed at such a pivotal stage in the decolonization of Culture. Just as we excavate the shrines of closeted racists, misogynists, sexual predators and bigots from our Art, there leaves open space and room for us to erect new geniuses of the craft. This is not their playground anymore. This will never be their playground ever again. Take from that what you will people who expect us to feel bad for forcing our way through the door and eliminating the mediocre or dry.

With that said, Tomi Adeyemi showcases the brilliance of a story driven by the necessary spirit of characterization. Starting with her protagonist, Zélie, an arrogant and fiery force of revolution and fight, we witness the unfiltered anger that comes with those oppressed. Rather than depicting the narrative of noble forgiveness and the superior power of peace, the author manifests a character who cannot and will not forgive or love an oppressor who wishes her harm that is included in the narratives of specific groups penned by people with an extremely obvious bias in laying the stakes within forgiveness.

This characterization forces out a story that is fresh and exciting because of how simplistic the view is: that you can be all-consumed with anger, and still not be wrong for refusing to relinquish it. Zelie’s fire is by far the most exciting part of the story. Equally, Adeyemi creates a supporting cast of complicated heroes and anti-villains whom emphasize the very real fears of fighting against a society that benefits you, and only seeks to benefit you (Amami): of the realities of resistance and the double-sided nature to those who seek to raise equality only when they themselves are put at risk for oppression (Inan).

Despite a elementary magic system embrightened by a prose and cultural significance that shames the simplistic and forwardly lackluster nature of Harry Potter, the world-building incites feelings of wonder and dream, and even a sadness that even in a world as spectacular as that illustrated by Adeyemi, we still witness the atrocities and pains we find so common in our every day life.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in a decolonized approach to conventional Fantasy or interested in Speculative Fiction.

8.5/10

-1 for Generic Magic System

-.5 for Convoluted Ending