ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream – Comics Track

ICv2 White Paper; Adapting Comics to COVID; NPD Insights; Comics, TV, and Racial Justice

An ICv2 Release.  The sessions for the comics track of the ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream, planned for 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, include the ICv2 White Paper, a conversation on creating and distributing COVID-era comic stories, insights on 2020 from NPD from its vast data resources, and a conversation with Keith Knight, whose comics with racial justice themes were the inspiration for the new Hulu series Woke, which he co-wrote.

ICv2 Insider Talks 2020 – Livestream is an invitation-only event for business professionals from all parts of the business, including retailers, wholesalers and distributors; publishers; creators; librarians and educators; licensees, licensors, and marketers; tech executives; and press.

If you are a business professional and would like to attend the event, email: Conferences@ICv2.com.

If you are press and would like to cover the event, email: Conferences@ICv2.com.

ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream – Comics Track: 2:00 p.m. ET – 4:30 p.m. ET

ICv2 White Paper
ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp will present a special ICv2 White Paper, examining the comics and graphic novel business leading into and during the COVID pandemic, helping to understand how trends were affected by the disruptions of 2020.

Milton Griepp is the founder and CEO of ICv2, which covers the Business of Geek Culture, and consults on geek culture business topics.  He was previously CEO of early geek culture e-commerce retailer NextPlanetOver, and was co-founder and CEO of Capital City Distribution, one of the largest distributors of comics and pop culture products through the formative years of the comic store channel.  He’s served on the boards of directors of comiXology and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Creating and Releasing Comics for the COVID Era
ICv2 columnist and author Rob Salkowitz will interview AWA CCO Axel Alonso and comic writer and journalist Ethan Sacks about the real-time comics journalism of Covid Chronicles, a series of webcomics published on the NBC News site beginning in the early days of the pandemic and now about to be collected in book format.

Axel Alonso has taken the creative reins behind AWA Studios’ upcoming launch, as their Chief Creative Officer, working to build a brand new superhero universe built from the ground up for a 21st century audience.  In the face of both extensive praise and an onslaught of conservative backlash, Alonso spearheaded Marvel’s efforts to revitalize and diversify their superhero lineup, including driving the creation of Miles Morales Spider-Man, Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel, Jane Foster Thor, along with publishing a controversial western comic about a gay cowboy, and bringing on National Book Award winner and MacArthur genius Ta-Nehesi Coates to write Black Panther.  Alonso was Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief at Marvel.

Ethan Sacks is best known in comics as the writer of Marvel’s Old Man Hawkeye, Silver Surfer, Old Man Quill, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker: Allegiance and Star Wars: Bounty Hunters.  Before his career change to writing comics three years ago, Sacks was a 20-year veteran at the New York Daily News, covering film and geek culture, a role in which he interviewed everyone from Affleck to Zhang Ziyi.

Rob Salkowitz is an author, educator and consultant focused on media, entertainment, comics and pop culture.  He is senior media contributor at Forbes and a long-time columnist for ICv2.  He is author, co-author or editor of six books including Comic Con and the Business of Pop Culture and Comics and Economics: The Shadowy World of Capes, Cowls and Invisible Hands.  He advises clients worldwide on engaging with the pop culture audience and understanding the comics medium.  Salkowitz teaches in the graduate school of communication at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he lives and works.

Consumers, Comics, and COVID-19 – 2020, A Most Unusual Year
On one hand, comic categories, especially Kids’ Comics and Graphic Novels, and Manga, continued to show strong signs of growth in 2020 in the trade book market. At the same time, no sector of the Trade books market is as disrupted during the pandemic crisis, and a holiday season unlike any other is almost upon us.  Join NPD Executive Director of Business Development at the NPD Books practice Kristen McLean as she uses NPD’s POS, streaming data, and wider consumer data to help us understand exactly what happened in 2020, what kinds of trends were accelerated by COVID-19, and what the outlook for 2021 looks like in a cross-platform future.

Kristen McLean is the Executive Director of Business Development at the NPD Books practice, the team behind NPD BookScan.  Kristen is also the primary Books Analyst within NPD’s larger Entertainment practice, and she has been a major driver in expanding NPD BookScan’s coverage of the comic and graphic novel market.  A twenty five year veteran of the publishing industry, Kristen speaks broadly to entertainment industry leaders about trends in books, media, and retail culture, and she is deeply interested in the confluence of emerging consumer behavior, technology, literacy, and generational shift in the Digital Age.

Comics, TV, and Racial Justice in the COVID Year
Harvey Award-winner Keith Knight has been creating his comics for print and online outlets since the early 90s, with collections released from a variety of publishers and self-published.  Now Woke, the TV series he inspired and co-wrote about a Black cartoonist whose life is changed by an encounter with the police has dropped on Hulu, in a year defined by COVID and by the reckoning with racial justice issues brought to a head by the police killing of George Floyd.  The timing of Woke seems tailor-made for 2020, but Knight’s been raising the same issues throughout his career.  PW Senior News Editor Calvin Reid talks to Knight about his comics, the ways he’s reached his audience, how that led to the show, and what he’s planning next.

Keith Knight is many things to many people–rapper, social activist, father and educator among them.  He’s also one of the funniest and most highly regarded cartoonists in America, and the creator of three popular comic strips: the Knight Life, (th)ink, and the K Chronicles. Keith Knight is part of a generation of African-American artists who were raised on hip-hop, and infuse their work with urgency, edge, humor, satire, politics and race. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including the Washington Post, Daily KOS, San Francisco Chronicle, Medium.com, Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine, and the Funny Times.

Calvin Reid is Senior News Editor at Publishers Weekly with responsibility for comics and graphic novel coverage.  He is also co-editor of PW Comics World, the magazine’s e-mail comics newsletter.

This invitation-only event will include two tracks of short talks with Q&A on consecutive days: one on the business of hobby games; and one focused on the business of comics and graphic novels.  For more information, click here.

 If you are a business professional and would like to attend the event, email: Conferences@ICv2.com.

If you are press and would like to cover the event, email: Conferences@ICv2.com.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Vermont Mesothelioma Victims Center Appeals to the Family of a Navy Veteran with Mesothelioma in Vermont to Take Compensation Seriously and to Call Attorney Erik Karst of Karst von Oiste for Serious Results

BURLINGTON , VERMONT, USA, October 21, 2020 /⁨EINPresswire.com⁩/ — The Vermont Mesothelioma Victims Center says, "We are appealing to the family of a Navy Veteran with mesothelioma in Vermont to take compensation seriously and to call … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

‘A tear rolled from my eye’: how it feels to dance for Beyoncé

Choreographer Ivan Blackstock was having a bad day when he got the call. It was from a director he’d worked with, Jenn Nkiru. “She said: ‘I know you’re busy, but I’ve got a little gig that came through, would you be interested?’” he recalls. Blackstock demurred and asked who it was. “She said: ‘It’s Beyoncé.’ And at that moment a tear rolled from my eye and it felt like things made sense. It felt like I’d landed.”

In his early days as a dancer, Blackstock, now 34, performed with plenty of big names – Kylie Minogue, the Pet Shop Boys, Dizzee Rascal – but Beyoncé is next-level stuff. Especially the gig in question, for the visual album Black Is King, which was released in July. In this companion piece to her soundtrack for the Lion King remake, Beyoncé reimagines Simba’s story as one of self-discovery and black pride in the riches of the African diaspora.

Black Is King was filmed across three continents, but you wouldn’t necessarily know there was a UK contingent, led by Nkiru (who hails from Peckham, like Blackstock). They made the video for the song Brown Skin Girl, an inspiring celebration of black beauty sung by Beyoncé and Nigerian singer Wizkid. Blackstock’s joy at being part of the project wasn’t even dampened by the fact he didn’t get to meet the singer herself (her scenes were cut in later). The experience was still clearly transformative for him and the dancers, including BBC Young Dancer winner Nafisah Baba. One of Beyoncé’s intentions for the film was to give a platform to new talent, and these are two of the young artists making the most of the opportunity.

Dancer Nafisah Baba in Our Bodies Back.
Dancer Nafisah Baba in Our Bodies Back

When I speak to Blackstock and Baba, over Zoom, they’re still bubbling with excitement and pride. “In the past couple of years, Beyoncé has been really saying something, showing the black experience in many different ways: who we are and what we can be,” says Blackstock. “When I watched Black Is King, the whole film, I went to another plane of existence.”

“I watched it three or four times,” says Baba, who has been seeking an anchor in this summer of pandemic chaos and Black Lives Matter. “There’s been so much happening in the world. Last week I had a day where I was like: Who am I? What am I doing?! And I just put it on and it was like an affirmation. I think the impact of it is huge. Beyoncé is so powerful and it gave me power.”

Brown Skin Girl features Baba and her fellow dancers as debutantes in pastel ballgowns and long gloves, models of grace and deportment. “We see black excellence,” says Blackstock. “It felt very majestic on the shoot.” The story sees younger girls looking up admiringly at this parade of beautiful women, but Baba herself felt just as awestruck to be there. “I was looking around thinking, these artists are incredible, people I look up to on social media, that’s them! Like [dancer and model] Anna-Kay Gayle. She’s a queen. It was so eye-opening. I’m not always around so many black artists, so to be in a room full of so much magic … it’s amazing, to feel there’s no limit where that can go, it was such an epic job.”

A dancer of sensitivity and focus, Baba, 24, recently featured in the film Our Bodies Back and Kate Prince’s Sting show Message in a Bottle. She started ballet at the age of three and is used to being the only dancer of colour in a room. “I feel like we all know how outdated the ballet world is,” she says. “Anna-Kay added me to a WhatsApp group for female black dancers in the UK and seeing the contacts list, as bad as it sounds, I didn’t even realise there were that many black artists in the UK. I was scrolling through and realising that I’m part of something bigger.”

Ivan Blackstock pictured in 2015.
Ivan Blackstock pictured in 2015. Photograph: Richard Saker/the Observer

It’s long been Blackstock’s mission to bring more underground artists into view. Coming from hip-hop and street dance, he co-founded BirdGang dance company and the street culture festival Crxss Platfxrm and he’s just become artistic director of 180 Studios, part of gallery space 180 The Strand. “I want to platform dance in many different ways and get it seen,” he says. Dancing since he was eight, Blackstock left school without any GCSEs but was booked for a job on MTV at 16 and followed his passion from there. “It hasn’t been an easy journey,” he says. “It’s been very much a state of survival for a long time.” He hasn’t always been able to access rehearsal space. “Sometimes I’m still dancing in the street. Still making work outside in the Olympic Park or hustling for space.” But he’s recently moved into a small studio in Leyton, east London, and wants to share the resource with others. “I want to use it for the community, get other artists in there, hot desking, have some podcasting facilities, space to dance, it’s really exciting.” It’s all about bringing other people up with him.

Blackstock’s next big project is Traplord of the Flyz (a working title), which has been five years in the making and is in the running for the Fedora prize. “It looks at mental health through the black male gaze,” he says. It’s going to be an unconventional piece, he tells me, with references to theology, philosophy, spirituality and transcendence, far from the stereotype of black male life we often see.

Understanding the multiplicity of lives around us, especially when it comes to the black experience, is essential to living in a more just society, Blackstock says, and we have to make an effort to seek out those stories. “Black artists have tried to communicate our pain and our experiences through our art and there’s tons of it out there if you look. We all need to do a bit more research.” Both Blackstock and Baba also talk about wanting to see more black artists in positions of influence, as executive producers and directors and on boards. “Not just making us visible on stage,” says Blackstock. “Or in the learning and engagement department, because ‘Young people like hip-hop don’t they?’”

The arts are, of course, in a dire place right now thanks to the pandemic, but Blackstock remains positive. “I think as artists we shouldn’t get discouraged,” he says. “There are a lot of templates, especially from hip-hop and street culture, where we find ways to do it anyway. I think if we sit here and wait we’re going to be waiting for a very long time,” he says. “Let’s find different ways of coming together and push our art. We need it more than ever now. We need that art to take us out of the darkness that a lot of us are in.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Ray BLK says black female artists are ‘held to a different standard’

Ray BLK thinks black female artists are “held to a different standard” within the music industry.

The 26-year-old star has become “desensitised” to sexualised rap music and has cited the backlash to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘WAP’ hit as an example of the double standard.

She said: “Maybe I’m just desensitised to it but we’ve been hearing music like this for years now. We’ve been hearing men speak about women like this for years.

“The language that’s used might be different but we’ve been hearing pop music, rock music speak about sex for years and I just think it’s sad that black women are held to a different standard or are held way more accountable than our counterparts have been.”

The singer thinks black artists need to work harder in order to receive recognition for their talents.

Asked whether black women are respected in music, she told Metro.co.uk: “Definitely not. The issue is that when there’s not equality, people are held to different standards.

“And I think that’s clear in the music industry where black women have to be extremely excellent, three times as good to be given the same recognition that their counterparts do, that’s number one.

“Number two, the sad thing is when we do the same thing that our counterparts do, it’s not looked at in the same way. I had a discussion with somebody about how black music and black women or female rappers and the sexualisation of us.”

The music star explained that the likes of Madonna have previously been held to a different standard.

She said: “[It’s] looked at as tasteful when Madonna wears a cone bra and nothing else or wears lingerie on-stage, it’s art or fashion.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Zenagun Releases World’s Smallest Massage Gun – Now Available Globally

Zenagun Releases World’s Smallest Massage Gun – Now Available Globally – African American News Today – EIN Presswire

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment