News

New Marvel Comic Book Series to Spotlight the Women of the ‘World of Wakanda’

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recruits comic book newcomers Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey to bring new comic series 'World of Wakanda' to life.

Capitalizing on the commercial success of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first comic book issue “Black Panther,” which sold more than 300,000 copies, Marvel announced Friday its plans to produce a spin-off series focused on the women of fictional African country, Wakanda.


The Atlantic national correspondent has tapped comic newcomers Roxane Gay, a feminist writer, and Yona Harvey, a poet, to pen the new comic titled, “World of Wakanda,” set for a November debut, according to The New York Times.

The first issue will bring to life the story of lesbian lovers Ayo and Aneka, who are former members of Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s elite, all-women security force.

Zenzi, Marvel Entertainment

We caught a glimpse of what could be in store for the comic in film Captain America: Civil War when actress Florence Kasumba, who played Black Panther’s Security Chief, delivered fierce, one-liner “Move or you will be moved.” Might it provide some inspiration?

GIF via blog Mary Sue

“The women in Black Panther’s life are very, very important,” Coates says.

Gay adds, “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel Universe, there’s no saying no to that.”

“World of Wakanda” also has an extension that Harvey will write, presenting the backstory of Zenzi, the revolutionary who started a riot in the first issue of “Black Panther.”

The announcement continues Marvel's string of efforts to diversify its 9,000 plus character universe. The comic book publisher named 9-year-old Lunella Lafayette aka Moon Girl as hands-down, the smartest person in the Marvel Universe at a “Women of Marvel” panel during San Diego’s Comic Con—which is absolute fact since it’s well established that black girls are magic, especially in the intellect department. Also adding color to their roster of writers is certainly a move in the right direction.

Hopefully, this can hold over eager fans until the cinematic release of Black Panther, which has the most epic cast ever to grace the silver screen, expected in theaters July 6, 2018.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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