Tag Archives: J. August Richards

On J. August Richards’ Webseries, ‘The Hypnotist’: Black People and Science Fiction

I’m struck by the fact that the great J. August Richards is developing a sci-fi webseries, The Hypnotist, featuring black people that seems to center blackness.

“…African hypnosis. It was essentially lost during the slave trade, but goes back thousands of years.”

I’ve had many a conversation about why it is so uncommon for Black folks who have money to explore science fiction; and how this limits the kinds of stories that black people have access to and how it limits black people’s ability to see themselves as expansively as they could. There has yet to be an adaptation of an Octavia Butler or Tananarive Due novel and yet we make a fair number of romantic comedies, comedies centered around a black comedian, hood tales, and Black American historical epics.

The Hypnotist posterSo good on J. that The Hypnotist seems to not only be a science fiction story but one that plays with blackness and Africanness. This is a teaser so one can’t know how deeply these themes will be explored, but I’m struck by the fact that this 50-second trailer so forthrightly names blackness, Africanness, and slavery. That. is. just. dope.

The question then is: how will this all work?

I’m wondering if The Hypnotist will be a play on Egyptian doctor Imhotep’s “temple sleep” and if part of what is explored is this notion of reconnecting to that subconscious Africanness that was erased by white supremacy and centuries in North America. There is a lot of subtextual room to play here that I think could give the show some deeper resonance that is specific to the Black American experience and psyche.

These are big questions, to be sure. We shall see just what J. has in store.

Tweeting about Joss Whedon’s Avengers, or a Lazy Review of a Great Film

I had planned to write a long-form review of Joss Whedon’s Avengers like everyone else. But the truth is that the joy of the film for me was in the beauty of the writing, the sheer affection and love that Joss Whedon has for each and every character (even Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders in a performance dismissed by most critics), and the brilliant, detailed performances by a gifted cast (Joss conducts the actors like a symphony, in a way.)

But I had so much fun letting the film wash over me in pieces on Twitter last night, that I thought I’d preserve these largely disparate tweets in a post here. I may still write something after I see the film a few more times, but this post captures my experience with the first viewing of what I consider the best film I’ve seen since The Dark Knight.

Note – These are largely spoiler free, because I wasn’t so much interested in the plot or the particulars of the story, so much as the way it all comes together so beautifully and little character moments that I thought were a perfect marriage of acting and writing. That said, if you want to see the film pure, bookmark my shit and come back after seeing the film.

Tweets after the jump.

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