BSAM (Black Speculative Arts Movement) DC was held in Mt. Rainer, MD which was quite easy to get to, in a hip art space known as the Gateway Media Arts Lab within close proximity to the D, the M of course and even the V. Hosted by the energetic and charismatic, Maia Crown Williams, the event’s focus was on both Afro-Futurism and Afro-Speculative Arts. This was my second time participating in an event of hers and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. (Note: More grown folk came out than children in the DMV, so I didn't feel like I was horrifying the young ones too much with my wares). For a look at future BSAM events, click here.
I arrived early to set up my table and learn how to use the item catalog that I had set up previously to add item those items directly to the cart (I’m old) for purchases. Okay I’m not as quick with the tech as I used to be. Surrounded by creators of comics, art, novelists, bloggers and other media, I was nervous but certainly not uncomfortable! My neighbor was artist Miguel Blanco, whose beautiful art I just had to have. A Black male mermaid???? Yeah, I needed to buy that quick!!
So, this guy approaches me asking if I had tape. I told him not only did I have tape, but I also had scissors…because crafters gon be prepared. To my surprise he turned out to be Greg Anderson Elysée.…the genius behind Is'nana the Werespider. Shapeshifters, African deities, action... I bought volume one and two!! I had seen the posters and the advertisements before, but I was so psyched to finally get my own copies, signed directly by the creator!
Later, I was immediately drawn to the giant banner with the thick necked portrait of a mutant MMA fighter. Loving monsters and fighting hulks as I do, I had to snatch up a copy of the comic FIGHT, a beautiful, Afro-Latinx piece, that I could not wait to dig into. Before the event was over, I was already asking Nick Allen and Troy-Jeffrey Allen for the next issue. Click here for more info on their wares!
Also, I may not have been able to get my hands on new butters or oils at this event, but I was certainly able to purchase an African print bonnet!
Now while the majority of vendors and attendants were male, Ms. Rorie Still of R Creations certainly stood out. The creator behind Flash Bang Sci Fi, Ms. Still was a warm and inviting presenter standing before her table. And yes, I was drawn to the iconic figure of a bloodied bear with a samurai sword!!
While manning my table, I spent time not only discussing Colors in Darkness, but Graveyard Shift Sisters, Mocha Memoirs Press, and Sycorax’s Daughters. In full networking mode, I even met one of the contributing authors of that wondrous anthology, Ms. Lawana Holland-Moore who was to appear on a panel at Awesomecon later that night).
There were more than a few low key and high note horror fans at the event and while the DC event was smaller than the Detroit venue, the energy and excitement flowed around the venue. While the event occurred at the same time as Awesomecon, being at an Independent/ definitely more intimate event was more refreshing to the soul (and less hectic for the claustrophobic). The panels were more relaxed (and easy to get in to) and the presenters were really accessible and easy to talk to. Oh...and I was able to wander and pick up some hot loot!
I believe...no I KNOW that the DMV could use more of these events and am certainly encouraged to participate and support similar efforts. I applaud Ms. Maia Crown Williams for all her efforts and events to shed light on not only the Afro futuristic community but the Afro Speculative community!