Here’s another portrait from outside the Honey Bistro Restaurant. While the brother in the previous post drew my attention because of his audacious style of dress (fake fur on a not-particularly-cold day), I was drawn to this guy’s nerdiness. It felt so very relatable, Indeed, looking at him with his glasses, his double chin and his Eisenhower jacket was a little like looking into a slightly warped mirror.
I don’t know how I missed posting this drawing from Comic Con 2015. I was only there for a day, but I had my sketchbook at the ready to make drawings of the brothas I encountered in the convention center. One thing I love about Comic Con is that there are so many Black people in attendance that it would be impossible for me to capture even one tenth of the number of Black folks who are there. I’ve definitely been to my share of conferences at which you could fit all the Black people in a walk-in closet, so I don’t take this opportunity to commune with sci-fi and comics fans of African descent. It is an absolute joy to be surrounded by so many unabashedly nerdy Black folks; and each of my trips to Comic Con is so very special to me because, however long or short my time there, for a few hours or a few days, I am truly among my people.
[Y]ou know what they had in their minds that made them act out and beat a black suspect unwarrentedly? They had fear. They were afraid of black men. I know a lot of white cops who have told me. And I interviewed over 900 police officers in 18 months and they started talking to me. It was almost like a therapy session for them.
They would say things like, “Ms. Rice I’m scared of black men. Black men terrify me. I’m really scared of them. Ms. Rice, you know black men who come out of prison, they’ve got great hulk strength and I’m afraid they’re going to kill me. Ms. Rice, can you teach me how not to be afraid of black men.” I mean these [are] cops who are 6’4″. You know, the cop in Ferguson was 6’4″ talking about he was terrified. But when cops are scared, they kill and they do things that don’t make sense to you and me.
For the last of my Comic-Con 2013 portraits, I’m including this drawing of Allen Thomas. I can’t remember what panel we were in when I spotted him, but I loved his bunny hat so much that I had to draw him. Actually, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a bunny hat. It’s probably meant to resemble the ears of some well-recognized cartoon creature. Alas, I am so out of it when it comes to the cute animal/alien genre of comic media that I couldn’t begin to guess who that creature might be. At the end of the panel I showed Allen my drawing, and he was nice enough to give me his name and email address. Thanks Allen! You were a great model.
I wish I’d taken the time to get this brother’s name. He was the videographer for the Hip-Hop and Comics panel discussion at SDCC 2013. Oddly (and, then again, not so oddly), people of African descent were dramatically underrepresented. For me, the highlight of the event was seeing Del tha Funkee Homosapien, the one rapper on the panel. Ironically, the guy who makes his money with his words and his wit had less to say than most of his fellow presenters. Perhaps he believes that his lyrics pretty much speak for themselves. Here’s one of my favorites, from his frequently quoted track, “At the Helm.” (I’ve done a minor “radio edit” to keep it PG-rated.):
Rap ain’t about bustin caps and [gettin’ chicks]
It’s about fluency with rhymin ingenuity
All of this is new to me, see I peep rhymes
with scrutiny, under a microscope I walk a tightrope
A thin line between insanity and sanity
mixed with a little vanity, boostin the morality
with Hiero hospitality, soon to strike it: rich
like calories, salaries, ahh sounds like a plan …
Here’s another entry from my Comic-Con 2013 sketchbook. I spotted this guy in the exhibition hall where he was staring intently at a small but impressively-detailed statue of Boba Fett. You may remember Boba Fett as the bounty hunter from the original Star Wars trilogy. Like a lot of Star Wars fans, my brother thinks Boba Fett is pretty awesome. Seeing the man in this drawing made me think of my brother who, when asked why he liked this character so much, replied, in his typical straightforward fashion, “He’s the bounty hunter. He’s cool.”