When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what does it mean to you to be a black writer in this society?

When I was five years old, my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, an artist, a writer or a veterinarian. My dad explained how long it would take to become a veterinarian and how much time was involved with sick animals. I ended up giving that dream and going into technology, like my father. So I became a computer repair technician, an author and an artist. Two out of three ain’t bad, though.

Being a Black writer means you are faced with choices on an almost daily basis as to whether you are going to market yourself to mainstream or Black audiences. And mainstream authors like Stephen King will criticize people for making race more important than mainstream notions of talent. But mainstream notions of talent are geared towards people like Stephen King as a genre trope. Toni Morrison refused to write for white audiences, and I don’t think Stephen King is nearly as talented.

Yet, he’s won a dozen Stoker Awards while Toni Morrison was never recognized in the genre for works like Beloved and Sula. Octavia Butler had to win posthumously, with the Kindred graphic novel. Blind submission calls in the horror genre reward people for sounding as much as possible like Stephen King. They aren’t really blind, because people are going to favor those who sound like whoever they read. If they never read Octavia Butler and other Black authors, and their favorites are all white men they will be subconsciously biased towards white male voices.

What genre(s) do you write in, is there a favorite and which do you feel have had the most important impact on the black community? Traditionally, in mainstream media, blacks have been vastly marginalized in Speculative Fiction and fic, tion in general, how do you see that changing and what impact will your work have on making those changes?

I write Horror, Sci-Fi, Erotica/Paranormal and Afrosurrealism. Afrosurrealism has a profound impact on the Black community because it is the dark fantasy analogous Afrocentric genre and Toni Morrison is the most famous author associated with it. However, I think my horror essays and non-fiction horror works like 60 Black Women in Horror, 100+ Black Women in Horror, and Black Celebration have a more profound impact on the Black Community. I also write a column called Writing While Black about the challenges I have faced on the convention circuit as a black author.

I think the essays, in particular, contribute, as they have challenged the mainstream culture. I am not the only author demanding an answer to the question, “Why would Candyman be considered horror and Beloved not?” but I am one of the voices that is forcing the question in the genre of horror. And there are changes. The idea that Octavia Bulter is valid as a horror author is a change.

How long does it usually take you to complete work on a book?

Three to five months to write a novel, and another three to five months in editing.

As a black author, do you feel a personal responsibility to the black community to create content which not only entertains, but also uplifts and educates?

To some extent, I do. I write a lot of political and psychological horror, like Jordan Peele does with Get Out and Us. But I also write sheer trash urban fiction soap operas. I mean, The Moon Cried Blood, my young adult urban fantasy, is like LA Bank’s The Vampire Huntress Legend Series meets Steven King’s The Firestarter. It’s all about this precocious thirteen year African and Mexican America old witch in 1976. There are many educational things in the book but most of it is action, gore, and visceral horror. And there are a lot of urban genre tropes about drug addiction, orphans, foster care, and all that which aren’t exactly uplifting. Urban fiction is pretty much all about the Jerry Springer show tropes that set it in the gritty city.

How can you educate and enlighten while including all of that? Well, honestly, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker did it. Domestic violence, child abuse, incest, and all of that showed up in their novels. In that light, I suppose that The Moon Cried Blood is potentially uplifting.

How long have you been producing artwork professionally?

I have been a professional commercial graphic artist and designer since I was 19, and I have been getting paid for artwork since I was 15, so some 30 to 35 years now.

What medium(s) do you create with and is there a favorite?

I am a cartoonist who uses pencils, inks, and computer graphic programs such as Photoshop, and Gimp. I am also a painter, and I prefer acrylics on wood, canvas or paper. I do SecondLife digital photography which is post-processed in Photoshop and Gimp.

At what point in your life did you discover that you were destined to be a comic book artist?

I always wanted to be, but I didn’t have the patience to finish enough cels for a comic book until 2012, when I started to illustrate Agrippa. It is a short story about a dystopic 1984 style future where student loans can lead to debtor’s prison. In Trump’s America it seems strangely prophetic. My father was dying in 2012 and I got writer’s block. Unable to write, I drew.

I have since illustrated my mother’s tragic mulatto/reversal of fortunes tale “Living A Lie,” and have put out some additional titles of my own. Dreamworlds is a dark fantasy about my mental health struggles and how my characters slip in and out of reality during a nervous breakdown. Mauskaveli is a kinky comic with anthromorphic, polyamorous, multiethnic queer mice in it.

How many pieces have you created and how long does it usually take you to complete work on a piece/project?

I can’t count how many paintings I have done, but approximately 100. I have done more commissioned illustratrions than I can count. It takes me about four hours to complete a panel for a comic strip or a painting for sale. Obviously, it takes a lot longer to do a comic given that a single cel takes two to four hours. I charge a hundred dollars for an illustration for a book or album cover or a flyer, so it comes out to around $25 an hour. I do a lot less work than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s and did graphic design as a full time occupation.

How can the readers learn more about your work and follow your career?

Collection –  Black Celebration: Amazing Articles on African American Horror
Performance  – with my band Stagefright. February 8, 2020
African American Multimedia Conference


Do you create full time, or do you have another full-time job? What is your educational background?
I have a BFA from the University of Michigan in Photography & Illustration and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Visual Communication. I freelance as an illustrator, designer and writer as well as teach classes in multimedia at Chicago State University.
What tools of the trade do you most like to create with?  
Blue pencil, Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator
Who are some of your biggest comic book artist influences?  
George Perez, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Brian Stelfreeze, Larry Stroman and Walt Simonson
Do you have a particular project or projects which stand out as your favorite(s)?  
My latest book, Contrast: Blackness In White, is my current favorite title I’ve worked on.
As a black comic book artist, do you feel a personal responsibility to the black community to create content which not only entertains, but also uplifts and educates?
No. To me, that’s a given. I’m an African American so of course I’m going to make work that reflects my culture, my bi-cultural, Pan-African viewpoint and my community. My goal is to get other people outside of my community to get on board and take that ride with me.

How and why is it important that black people are represented in this medium and how important is it that black creators work together to encourage, empower and educate the black community through their work?

It’s important because too many Black fans focus on how many comic book characters of color companies like Marvel and DC have as opposed to how many Black creators work at these companies. The more these fans see that the creators of these characters look like the fanbase, it reinforces that creativity in this medium is not the sole domain of the “other.” It shows that we do not have to wait for the “other” to represent us, our hopes, dreams and representations of the fantastic. It shows that we have command of our own imaginations.

How long does it usually take you to complete work on a comic book piece/project?  
It depends on the page count and whether the book is in color or black & white. Usually, it takes about 2 – 3 months to complete a 32-48 page book with no distractions or prior obligations.
What are the names of some of the titles you’ve illustrated?  
The Horsemen, Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers, The Song of Lionogo: An Indian Ocean Mythological Remix, The Union & Contrast: Blackness In White

What does artistic success in the comic book world look like to you?

Being able to touch people, to give them something they’ve never seen before but always wanted in their lives.

Where can the readers continue to follow your career? Do you have a website or blog?


How long have you been producing artwork professionally?
I’ve been creating art pieces ever since 2012.I joined this on-line group called,
At what point in your life did you discover that you were destined to be an artist and how has your artwork resonated within the black community?
The year of 1995, senior year of High School I met a professor by the Name of John Wade who taught me to enhance my ability, once I grasped what he was saying it just became second nature. I taught myself how to spectrum and Color Theory est.
Do you create full time, or do you have another full-time job? What is your educational background?
I create part-Time because I work two full-time jobs but on my off days, I dedicate that time to my work. I’m a Certified Med Aid.
What medium(s) do you create with and is there a favorite?
Mediums, that I don’t have, but I would like to consider myself as Universal. I like challenges. Whether it is oils, Acrylics pencils or Watercolors I like to adapt.
What style(s) does your art take and what black cultural aesthetics do you incorporate?
Some People say that my style is different and Unique, for the most part I stand out on my own. I like all Cultures, not just African art.
Who are some of your biggest artistic influences?
My favorite Artists is Leonardo da Vinci, he helped shape the art world and saw it for what it was.
What inspires you to create and how important is it that your work encourage, empower and educate the black community?
I look at People, shapes and things I just picture what if? So I become curious and start to sketch and paint.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being an artist and do you feel it is your responsibility to use your gifts and talents to inspire the black community and the world?
The end result of the Piece itself when it’s finished. Makes me feel good about my accomplishment.
Do you have a particular piece or pieces which stand out as your favorite(s)?
My favorites are Brazil, The Franchise Confrontation I have others just to name a few. Blues Man.
What does your creative schedule look like and how many hours a day do you create?
My schedule for painting is busy. I paint on my off days. How long it takes to finish a piece depends on the Size and how I am into the Piece.
How do you best meet the challenge of juggling your day job (if applicable) and/or your family, against your artistic career?
My Schedule is pretty busy for the most part I keep Calendar updates on the wall and iPhone.
Do you listen to music when you’re creating? If so, what type?
Music helps enhance my creativity smooth jazz preferably, takes to another dimension.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The most Difficult is keeping my Brushes clean because I have so many that I forget to clean them.
How many pieces have you created and how long does it usually take you to complete work on a piece/project?
So far, I’ve created over 250 Pieces I know the number isn’t much but it’s still growing.
What does artistic success look like to you?
The art industry tends to fluctuate back and forth but over the years I’ve been successful in my accomplishments. But the key is to keep painting and selling yourself.
How important is it that black creators work together to encourage, empower and educate the black community through their work?
We as blacks must learn that we must set an example for others and making it our priority.
What legacy do you want your work to represent and resonate in the black community and the world?
That I was self-taught and that I wanted to improve the quality of Life, help create new ideas.
What upcoming projects are you working on, which you can share with the readers?
I met this female guitarist ‘(Jackie Venson)” and some abstract work
Is your work exhibited in an art gallery? If so, where can the readers find it?
I haven’t presented my work in any Galleries yet because I’m working on a website
Where can the readers continue to follow your career? Do you have a website or blog? look for Sidney Holmes or google.




Last month, I ran a series of blog posts spotlighting Black Speculative Fiction Month. BSFM was designed to acknowledge and spread the word about black authors and artists within the speculative fiction genre.
In and of itself, speculative fiction is mostly represented by whites and thus doesn’t usually have protagonists of color. That said, the readers of speculative fiction are mostly unaware of black authors in the genre.

One of the intentions of BSFM is to not only celebrate the achievements of black authors—which can be easily overlooked by the mainstream audience—but to also inform and educate the readers and potential reader of speculative fiction that diversity does exist and that various racial and cultural groups are being represented.

Many within the black community don’t read speculative fiction because they see it as either silly—too far removed from reality—or dominated by whites who often exclude any characters of color. So, most of the black community isn’t even aware that black speculative fiction authors exist. This is where BSFM comes into play.

The month long celebration informs those within the community and in the mainstream who don’t know, of the existence of black speculative fiction authors. This is an effort to not only inform readers of black authors, but to also bring new readers to the genre of speculative fiction as a whole.

I was confronted by an individual who felt that having BSFM was divisive and separatist. I attempted to explain that his interpretation of the celebration was not at all its intent. I tried to point out the goals I stated earlier, but unfortunately to no avail.

Sure, as you would expect most black speculative fiction writers have a predominately black cast of characters, whereas most white speculative fiction writers have a predominately white cast of characters. We write within our framework of experience and what comes natural and to me there’s nothing wrong with that. I have white characters, Asian characters, etc… in my work(s), as white authors have black characters within their work(s). But how I approach any character I create—regardless of race—is to make them human, first and foremost. I don’t get caught up in trying to make them conform to typical stereotypes in order to assert authenticity. To do this, creates a caricature of an ethnic group and does almost nothing to develop the character as an entity.

I have enjoyed books where the cast of characters were all white, but I never got particularly angry or disgruntled, nor did I urge those creators to include token blacks to make their work more balanced. I write stories with black protagonists and a predominately black cast, not in answer to my white counterparts, but because that’s what comes naturally to me. It’s not divisive or separatist to write what you know.

It wasn’t too long ago that the mainstream public refused to acknowledge, let alone publish or feature black speculative fiction authors. If we as a group wanted to be seen or heard, we had to do it for ourselves. Now, there is a slow movement to integrate black creators into the mainstream however, much more is yet to be done and  celebrations like BSFM only help to foster diversity within the world of genre fiction by spreading the word about those outside of the mainstream’s purview.

A lot of people I know within speculative fiction are coming together to explore our differences and learn something new about other people and to me that’s a good thing. It has always been my idea that when I’m reading speculative fiction, I’m looking for a bold new adventure. What could be more different than to step outside of the box you’re accustomed to and explore a more diverse take on genre fiction? I’m not sure how making people aware of diversity, exploring new cultural takes on genre fiction and authors writing within the scope of their experience is such a bad thing.



allknightzteamWayne Riley is the brainchild behind All Knightz, a team of animators, graphic designers, illustrators and writers who are together most notably responsible for the animated series known as ‘Hard Wired’. Their aim is to give you a whole new fresh take on how you view comic books and cartoons by giving you a different kind of character that you and your children will always remember as well as a new way of story telling that will encourage you to look deeper into the stories from our African history.





























Hasani Claxton

Hasani Claxton

Hasani Claxton was raised on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. He studied Business Management at Morehouse College (1999) and Law at Columbia University (2003). While serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, he began taking evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In 2005, he decided to pursue his passion full time, enrolling in Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 and later that year attended the Illustration Master Class at Amherst College.

His commissions have included book illustrations, album covers, a mural for an installation at the Carolina Children’s Museum in Puerto Rico, as well as private portraits. In 2012, his work was selected as the People’s Choice for the Black Art In America Juried Art Exhibition and displayed at the Harlem Fine Arts Show. He was a semifinalist in the 2013 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. He currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

Knights of the Savana 30 X 40 oil on linen

Knights of the Savana (30 X 40 oil on linen)

The Fall of the Witch King oil on panel

The Fall of the Witch King (oil on panel)

Ivory Blaque

Ivory Blaque

For a more extensive look at Hasani’s artwork, visit his website @:




1381104_10151907886745979_962114581_nAndrew Kwame Danquah is the founder of Danquah StudioZ which is a registered company in the UK. He primarily focuses on producing 3D art for his clients; anything from company logos to 3D character designs. Recently architectural designs can be added to his resume. Andrew has a number of websites where he has a portfolio of his work, which also includes contact information for future clients. His software of choice as a 3D artist range from Zbrush r6, Cinema 4D, and Sculptris.

Here is his portfolio on the popular – 3D Artist website

And also here is his personal website!home/mainPage