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Quinzel

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Queerkanda Celebrates Black LGBT Community

I look straight on the outside, but my true sexuality can be described as "IDK????" and you know what? That's perfectly fine with me.

Because of this, I understand the importance of queer spaces not just in general, but even more so in the Black community. There's something so refreshing to be around folks who understand your struggles, your life experiences, and who are open and accepting of your sexual identity.

That's why I really commend WakandaCon for having the panel Queerkanda. Hosted by Eris Eady, the panel is described as, "A conversation about the impact of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression on blackness both stateside and abroad." This panel is going to have a huge impact on those attending. Not only through showing them support, but giving them the tools to make the LGBTQIA+ community even stronger.

 

I am so excited to see what discussions will take place at this panel. What would YOU want to talk about at this panel? Leave us a comment below and it may be a great conversation starter!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Do Your Own Stunts

See, I tend to do all of my own stunts, just usually by accident. Tripping, usually over just air, I end up in a contorted position. Upon survival, I jump up, bend my knees, hands in the air and shout "Superstar!"

While I am not formally trained in stunts, I am a lifetime member of The Clumsy and Unfortunate.

Thanks to this panel at WakandaCon, I don't have to be.

It's right around the corner though! Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th, WakandaCon will take place at the Hilton Downtown in Chicago, IL. And if Wakanda can't be real, this is the next best thing.

Another panel I need to talk to you about is the Jabari Stunt Workshop with Mark Willis. Willis was in Black Panther as a Jabari Warrior and he is M'Baku level fine, uh I mean, performed a lot of the stunts in the film. He's now taking the stunts and fight choreography used in Black Panther and teaching it to y'all, so we can all be bad-asses together!

Black Panther BTS photos CR: Courtesy of Winston Duke

This panel is happening this Friday, August 3rd at 5 pm. So if you're going to WakandaCon, comment here and tell everyone if you're going to this panel.

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: T’Challa vs. Killmonger Panel

Wakanda is just around the corner guys! If you are in the Chicago area, WakandaCon is taking place Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th. The convention is taking place at the Hilton Downtown hotel.

One of the panels that you definitely need to attend if you (like me) have been discussing the differences between T'Challa and Killmonger since February is T'Challa Vs. Killmonger: Exploring the Differences between the Diaspora and the African-American Experience.

This panel is hosted by Carla M. Kupe-Arion, Esq and takes place Saturday at 11:00 am. Below is the panel description:

"The dynamics between T'Challa and Killmonger depicted in Black Panther brought to the forefront a phenomenon that usually occurs in private circles or sometimes in academia: Oppression Olympics between African-born or Africans and American-born or "rooted" Black people. The differences in reactions to the movie have reignited a discussion this panel seeks to have.

Exploring the impact of the two different histories and systems that have and are still impacting all Black people will be the panel's starting point in order to highlight differences but also focus on the similarities between narratives and what we can do as we create new ones, a new history."

So who out there is going to WakandaCon? Do you plan on going to this panel? What kinds of question do you have for Carla? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: This Merch Tho

One thing I'm excited about with WakandaCon is this merch! Granted, we don't know what official con wear will be available unless you attend the convention yourself. However, they have a bunch of neat products that you can buy online wherever you are!

WakandaCon, as a reminder, is happening next month. August 3rd through the 5th, in the windy city of Chicago. While the convention is named after the fictional country in Black Panther, there is a reason why it isn't called Black Panther Con.

WakandaCon is so much more than Black Panther. With exciting STEM panels, amazing guests, and in-depth discussions, this con is about to be the definition of "All Black Everything"**

While there are many things to geek out about at WakandaCon, one of them is the merch that is available online right NOW!

My favorite? This mug right here. I don't even care that it's $16.00. It's worth every penny to have that in my cubicle at work.

There are a few awesome shirts out there as well. But this one is pretty cool. I'd wear it everywhere.

Listen yall, if the merch is this good already, imagine what it's going to be when the con actually hits! What do you guys think of the merch so far? Drop us a comment and let us know.

**and before you ask, yes, you can attend if you are not black. Jeez, guys.

Life Lessons Learned from Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss

Y'all know I'm a bookworm by now. I was excited to add Freeplay to my Goodreads list, but I wasn't expecting to get a life lesson out of it. Seriously, every page I just sat on my couch like "Well, shit...time to make a change."

Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss was finished in less than a day. A quick read that I assumed would go into more scientific evidence about how video games actually make you happy, ended up being one of those long car rides with your dad while he gives you a lecture about life using gaming as a metaphor.

And honestly, that is just what I needed.

Jordan Shapiro, the author, is a dad himself, so that could explain it. Shapiro actually got into gaming as an adult while playing with his children and it brought them closer together.

And much like the good father he is, his book taught me so much about life that I really need to A) quite strongly recommend you read it for yourself but also B) share some of his wisdom here.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book and how they will stick with me:

 

As a perfectionist, I needed to learn that losing wasn't the end of the world. Just like in gaming, you learn more about how to beat your bosses from losing than you do from winning.

How many times in life did I need to restart, try another level, even repeat the same level again? I felt like a failure and that I was giving up. But the thing is, I wasn't taking the whole cartridge out, I was pressing the restart button.

And how many times have I been too afraid to take a risk? To jump into a new relationship when I wasn't sure if I would get hurt again? To quit a toxic job because I didn't have a new one lined up just yet (and before you say anything, I found a new job two days later. This quote is the truth).

I was surprised that this book even spoke to the social justice. With all that's going on in the world lately, it's good to be validated that I'm fighting the good fight.

 

And finally, I'll leave you with this quote. it reiterates on losing, but man is it powerful

 

 

 

Words Mean Things, But (Sincere) Apologies Do Too: My Thoughts on Justin McClure

Here are some things you need to know about me:

  • I am married to a white man
  • We have a biracial child together
  • I don't owe you a goddamn explanation for either

I say this because I often get "why would you date a white guy" and no. No. No, sir. I don't owe you shit.

When I was 12 years old, I told myself I would marry someone who loves Buffy The Vampire Slayer as much as I do. After dating a short while, I found out this dude was literally in the Buffy fan club. Wedding bells rang almost immediately.

Saying that to say, interracial couples are always under scrutiny. It doesn't matter how alike you are or that your SO, who happens to be white, was the only one holding your hand in the hospital, your relationship only exists because somewhere deep down you hate black men so much.

It's exhausting to hear that shit.

So looking at the McClures, it was refreshing. They had such real conversations, such love for each other and their children that you couldn't help but be inspired by it.

So hearing that Daddy McClure said some racist shit in the past was disappointing. It hurt because I looked up to this couple. I enjoyed watching them interact with their children in a healthy manner

But watching his apology affirmed my faith in humanity. Watch the full video here

I am a strict believer in apology form. There will be no fauxpologies on my watch. This is what I did NOT hear in Justin's apology

  • "I'm sorry if..."
  • "I'm sorry but..."
  • "I have three black children so..."

Those statements would have been red flags for me, but the structure of his apology felt sincere because:

  • He owned up to those statements
  • He recognized the impact of those statements
  • He apologized to his wife for hurting and embarrassing her
  • He talked to his children as another way of showing accountability
  • He recognized that this apology may not be enough for some people, without mocking or belittling them.

I think if you still refuse to support these YouTubers after this, that's fair. This post isn't to sway your opinion. This post is to make you aware of apologies when they are sincere. In my honest opinion, nothing about Justin's apology screamed "A PR PERSON WROTE THIS" to me. Instead, after watching him be vulnerable on camera so many times, it not only felt sincere, it felt authentic to who he was.

I usually watch The McClure Twins in order to understand parenting more. But this apology video actually taught me that marriages aren't perfect, and interracial marriages have their own set of daily battles. But with the right two people, they can win those battles each day.

You know who can't apologize for shit? Roseanne.

Tell me your thoughts on Justin McClure and what you feel is a sincere apology. Drop a comment below.

 

KantCon Proves That Gaming is for Everybody

KantCon is a tabletop convention located in Overland Park, KS. Every year, gaming enthusiasts get together to do what they love most: game.

From my Instagram Takeover on Saturday, you could tell there were plenty of geeky vendors in the gaming halls. There was no shortage of dice holders, merch with gaming references, and D20 dice. In fact, one of those dice was a big old stuffed version that I plan to buy for me- I mean, Bby-8.

But attending a gaming convention can make you question yourself. Am I enough of a gamer to be here? What kind of knowledge do I need to have to go in?

The answer: None. Seriously, come as you are. What are your other excuses?

"I have kids and don't have a babysitter"

Bring them with you. Seriously. KantCon is a very family oriented convention. There is even a Kids KantCon gaming area, where there are board games, soft lightsabers, and even a Make Your Own Mask station. I saw older children playing in the main hall with the best of them.

"Seriously, I don't know much about games"

The thing I loved about KantCon is that you could have walked in their accidentally, said "cool, I'd like to attend, but I've never played a tabletop game before" and someone would be willing to show you how to play.

There was no gatekeeping here. Everyone here was so polite and willing to teach anyone about the world of tabletop gaming.

There was a very nice gentleman that told me everything I needed to know about Artemis. There was a small area set up with about 4 laptops and a projection screen. While also helping those in the middle of their gameplay, he even came up to me and explained how the game worked. The best being is that it would work on almost any computer system. No gaming upgrade needed. I need to review this game at a later date because he had me convinced!

"I don't live in Kansas, silly"

Ok, that's a fair excuse. However, if you don't have plans to visit that neck of the woods. I encourage you to look to see if there are any tabletop gaming conventions in your area.

Overall, I think most cons try to be inclusive, but KantCon really means it. Not once did I run into anyone who was like "You don't know what that is?" *scoff*. Children and adults alike were on the game floor, having an amazing time. Above all, everyone was super respectful and kind to everyone.

My only complaint? That I didn't purchase this.

What do you guys think? Is this something that would make you want to go to KantCon? Holler at me in the comments section.

The Women Behind WakandaCon Are Total Bad Asses: Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon

 

 

As part of our Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon series, wouldn't you want to learn about the women behind the con? Cause let's face it. Con after con after con after con, female leadership can be, well, almost non-existent. But that's not the case with WakandaCon.

WakandaCon, taking place August 3rd through the 5th in windy Chicago, is headed by women who are almost as fierce as the Dora Milaje. But even more than that, they are inspiring. Don't think you can reach your dreams? Think you can't win in a game that's stacked against Black women? The road is hard and not without scars, but these three women have proved that you can battle your way to the top.

Wayment, ALL Y'ALL WORK IN THE ARTS??

Yes! Just before I was about to take that Theater Degree and toss it in a fire, I learned that Ali Barthwell (Co-founder, Social Outreach), Lisa Beasley (Producer and Media Relations), and Taylor Witten (Producer and Content Strategist) all graduated from college with arts degrees. Ali attended Wellesley College, Lisa attended LeMoyne-Owen College and Taylor went to Dartmouth College. All three women combined have experience in acting, production, writing, directing, and teaching well after college.

This is inspiring because, as an arts major myself, it's just so validating to see women, black women in particular, out here doing the damn thing

The Path To WakandaCon is Paved With Friendship

Each of them came to WakandaCon in their own way "Wakandacon is founded on principles that I feel are personally important to move our people and culture forward." Taylor says about the convention, "Blackness is a spectrum. Out with the old, and limited question of “are you Black enough?” We aim to shift what it means to be Black, culturally, personally, professionally, and expressively. No matter where you land on the spectrum - your journey and experience shape the culture. We want this to be a movement. We want to create more seats at the table, establish safe spaces for creatives of color, and amplify their voices. By joining the Wakandacon team, I felt like I had found my tribe."

Lisa didn't take much convincing to hop on the project, "My friend Ali Barthwell reached out to me and told me that her brother had an idea named “Wakandacon.” I really didn’t need any further explanation. I knew exactly what it was and exactly why she was telling me he had the idea. Honestly, it didn’t take much. I was on board when she said, “Hey, my brother has an idea.” I love helping my friends work out their ideas."

"My brothers and I were going to see Black Panther a lot and my older brother David came up with the name first: Wakandacon." Ali says, while I wonder if she beat me in the number of times she saw Black Panther. "He tried to pass it off to Matt and me to organize but we convinced David to lead us. As we started to build this idea, we realized that we needed more help so I recruited Taylor and Lisa who are friends of mine with experience in the areas we were missing. We’ve been creating and building this thing since that moment. There has been a lot of educating ourselves and learning from other cons and their successes and mistakes."

So...WYD Outside of WakandaCon?

Thing is, each of these women are out here living life, breaking glass ceilings, hell, breaking glass universes. Doors are opening for them all over the place.

Taylor thought she was slipping me a shameless plug, but I was gonna put her on blast anyway 🙂 She's got a film project in the works, called The One I Love. It's about a Christian couple who face trials and tribulations as they grow in their relationship and faith. Since Taylor is herself a woman of faith, her production of this Indie film comes straight from the heart.

Lisa is, to put it simply, changing the world. She is the co-founder of The Nova Collective which is a company that works to transform corporate culture. I wanted to know if there had possibly been an uptick in a need for this after...how do I put this lightly?...the shitstorm after the election. "The entire Diversity & Inclusion industry has increased due to the friction caused by the last election. Conversations are happening in the workplace whether people want them to or not and we help companies strategize how to have those conversations. The last election has put a magnifying glass on problems that have already existed in the workforce so I think a lot of the workforce is relieved people are finally talking about it."

 

I asked each of them "What's the best thing about being a black woman? what's the worst thing?"

Ali hits me with a simple but truthful statement, "The most challenging thing about being a Black woman is being a Black woman today and the best thing about being a Black woman is being a Black woman."

"Sometimes I can’t tell if people are not listening to me because what I’m saying is actually trash or because they are not used to listening to black women."Lisa tells me "I’ve often worked in environments where what I say is dismissed because of my identity but I’ve learned that that is also my superpower. Now I work in groups that value my expertise and experiences. The best thing about being a black woman. Oh geez. I love how I can bend and manipulate my hair in many different ways. I love the skin I’m in. I love being a black woman."

And lastly, Taylor is quite literally taking me to church with her answer. "The BEST part about being a Black woman," she says, "is that there is no limit to the type of woman I can be. Black women grace almost every part of the earth. We’re literally everywhere, doing all kinds of great things. It’s truly inspiring. The challenge is that most people don’t see us that way. I often come across people who have such a narrow view of who I should be and how I should act because I am a Black woman. My hope is that Wakandacon exposes us all to a new way of thinking about Black women and provides a better representation of our whole selves."

Lisa Stole My Dream Job, Y'all

Not really, no. She didn't steal it from me. But I was super jelly to learn that Lisa Beasley is a friggin' writer for Cards Against Humanity!!

"Super cool, right?" She says to my green-with-envy self "I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of the comedians and writers in the room. The head writers thought that I would be a good fit for the room. Because of my other projects taking off, I now work with them as a Remote Contributor."

If You Don't Read Any Other Part Of The Article, Read This

All three of these women have been out there making it happen for themselves. So I had to ask them one burning question:

HOW???!!!???

How did you get to where you are today? How can someone like me succeed in this world? How? How? How!

Thing is, not only is Lisa working in the Arts, she is also making changes in Corporate America and has a lot of advice to give. "Big changes start with yourself. In attempting to save myself economically, I’ve been able to open doors for other people. The experiences that I’ve had as a black woman in certain industries led me to explore different career paths that could build spaces for people to do the work that they love to do. Selfishly, I wanted a place to work and found that a lot of my friends were having a hard time finding work because most jobs are just trying to fill a diversity quota and would only allow one of us at a time. So instead of waiting for someone to hire me, I created jobs for myself. If you’re a black woman and you want to make big changes, think about the why and hold that in your mind often. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing will get you through the tough times. Also, take care of yourself. We are so used to taking care of others that taking care of ourselves seems selfish."

Moving right along to Ali, who gives us the best advice on how to succeed as a black woman. "First, go to therapy" Ali scolds like a Saturday Morning Mama that tells you to get ready to clean all day "or find a restorative hobby." she continues.

"There will be difficult and trying experiences. You won’t be able to avoid them completely but remembering that your mental health and security is the most important thing. It’s very easy to think that our struggle fuels our creativity or as Black women, we should shoulder the burden and power through but you can’t create from an unhealthy place. You need moments to restore you that make you healthier.

I would also say that you are most likely two to three times better than your white counterparts. That’s just a fact. And if you’re anything like me, you probably work to be perfect before you even try anything because if you fail, there might not be a second chance. That desire to be exceptional only will help you. Don’t let that desire to be perfect hold you back from trying something new or become harmful. See why you’ll need therapy?

Lastly, rely on your networks. There are more people who are willing to give you advice, guidance, or an introduction than you realize. Asking someone for advice or asking them to tell you their story to success will make them feel important and they’ll probably want to help you. "

And lastly, Taylor leaves us with lasting advice that will get you through the entire week. Heck, maybe even the year. "I was really hoping to share some deeply impactful-life-changing Def Poetry Slam style advice," She says, "however, this is all that came to mind --- Decide. Commit. Succeed. Only you can determine your future and it starts with making a choice."

If these three women can make it, you can too. WakandaCon forever!

INTERVIEW: Infinity Stone Ring So Cute It Will Wipe Out Half The Population

I know we have worn out Avengers: Infinity War to dea- uh, I mean.... #TooSoon

What I mean to say is, what drew me to this Etsy Shop was the sight of this beautiful Avengers: Infinity War wire wrapped ring. It's just to die fo- crap! Uh, I mean T'CHALLA IS FINE OK!!!

Upon looking through this shop, I needed to get to know the artist behind all of this. Dot is the shop owner of Healing Evergreen on Etsy. Residing on the East Coast, Dot's favorite comic book character is the Hulk (she'll talk more about him later). She shows a lot of her talents through wire art and her shop has evolved into painting, designs, and healing crystals. I love her personality as it is all over her site. Under a discussion about plant life she says, "I also talk to my plants to help them grow (don't knock it till you tried it)."

I mean, all of my plants are dead and not spoken to so....she may be on to something.

So my nerdiness lead me to wire art, healing crystals, and these mix and match jewelry loc sets (which, can I get these in an Avengers Infinity Stone set for my locs, please???). I had to interview this gal and see what she was all about.

So, here's my interview with Dot. Enjoy our tomfoolery 🙂

Quinzel: What got you started in Wire Art?

Dot: "I saw some earrings I could not afford and decided I could make those. A couple of girls at work liked what I made and it started from there! And now I am going more towards using wire in painting and designing and moving away from jewelry."

Q: I know you said you are moving away from jewelry, but the Avengers ring is gorgeous! Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it?

D: "I have seen them all! But, I like the movie even though Hulk couldn't come out to plat, he's my favorite. Despite all contract agreements they didn't have to punk him out like that. Lol. I'm thinking they went to the soul stone and Doctor Strange saw this as the only way."

Q: Aside from crafting, tell me what other geeky things you enjoy?

D: "I like reading, watching cartoons... Assassination Classroom is my all time fav, I wish I could go Mach speed. I like Dragonball Z and Naruto Goku and Naruto remind me of each other. I also enjoy yard work and crystals."

Q: Do you have any other future Wire Art projects that you want to tell us about?

D: "As I stated before, I am moving away from jewelry arts and working towards paintings and designs. These paintings include wire and beats to create sensory art. I came up with this concept because of my daughter. She loves to create and she loves to touch and discuss different textures."

And there you have it, my interview with Dot from Healing Evergreen. I know she's moving away from jewelry and the Avengers Infinity Stone ring isn't currently listed on her Etsy shop. But if you just got to have your hands on it (like me) hit her up and I'm sure you both can work something out. Tell her The Hulk sent you 😉

 

Lyrics That Healed Me: Fall Out Boy Edition

I have a confession, I may be stuck in 2005. Yes back when iPods were a lot bigger, Rhapsody was still a thing, and I spent hours on end listening to a song I didn't know by a band I didn't know on repeat.

That band was Fall Out Boy.

Fast forward to the present and that obsession only grew over time. What still keeps me a Fall Out Boy stan in 2K18?

That's right, ladies and gentleman, the lyrics.

I'm a word nerd, which you probably know by now, since I do the writing thing. But something about someone who can just...word *heart eyes*

Some lyrics just stick with you forever. Let's look at some of the Fall Out Boy lyrics that actually helped me get through some rough times.

 

"You are what you love, not who loves you"

This lyric was majorly important in a time where I made a decision to distance myself from toxic people for my own mental health. However, toxic people rarely see it this way and use many manipulation tactics to make you feel unlovable. This lyric was my mantra for a good year.

 

"Put on Your War Paint"

Another long used mantra of mine. When I was nervous or about to walk into a stressful situation, I could just say, "Quinzel, it's time to put on your war paint" and I was ready to go.

 

"I Don't Just Want To Be A Footnote in Someone Else's Happiness"

While the song is mainly about an extramarital affair, being a footnote in someone else's happiness can apply to many different situations. This lyric was a wake-up call for me and helped me nope out of a lot of one-sided relationships.

 

"Before It Gets Better The Darkness Gets Bigger The Person That You'd Take A Bullet For Is Behind The Trigger"

As painful as this lyric is, there's something refreshing when your feelings are put into words. When dealing with betrayal of any kind, it can be hard to access your feelings besides hurt and anger. This lyric made me feel less alone.

 

"May The Bridges That I Burn Light The Way Back Home"

Mmm, yes. Toxic people I have walked away from took it as my Walk of Shame. Quinzel will be back. Quinzel can't survive on her own. She doesn't wanna burn her bridges with us.

Well, guess what, bitches? I got matches.

 

"I'm A Stitch Away From Making It And And A Scar Away From Falling Apart"

At times I feel simultaneously ok and not ok. I feel like I'm so close to the finish line but I cannot take on another boss fight I'm tired and determined. I'm discouraged but riding on faith all at the same time.

And I can feel not ok and everything still feel ok. Ya know?

 

So there you have it. Been loving Fall Out Boy for over a decade and quite loving the heck out of the lyrics. Are there any Fall Out Boy lyrics that I didn't list here that healed you? What other lyrics from other bands have healed you? Sound off and leave us a comment