At our last Con Chair meeting, SOBSFic Con co-chair, author and publisher Milton Davis, swooned when it was mentioned that perhaps actors Orlando Jones and Michael Jai White and singer / songwriter, Janelle Monae might come to SOBSFic Con.
Turns out it was just a rumor – we would love to have them as guests, though – but it got me thinking about what celebrities I would love to see at the Southwest Arts Center on June 11-12, or even Friday, June 10, at the Mahogany Masquerade.
Below is my list. Which celebrities would you like to see at SOBSFic Con?
One of my favorite actresses, Carol Christine Hilaria “C. C. H.” Pounder is the undisputed king – remember, there are no queens in Afrika – of Black Speculative visual media.
Born in Guyana, Mrs. Kone has taken the world by storm, starring in such horror, science fiction and fantasy roles as Mo’at, in James Cameron’s film, Avatar; as Mrs. Irene Frederic on the series Warehouse 13; as Fran Ambrose in Psycho 4: The Beginning; as Irene in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; as Nurse Shabana in White Dwarf; as Detective Marge Francis in End of Days; as Hollis Miller in Face/Off; as Madame Dorothea in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; as the voice of Amanda Waller in Superman / Batman: Public Enemies and Batman: Assault on Arkham; as The Oracle in Aladdin and the King of Thieves and the list goes on and on and on…
We’re talking living legend; fandom icon; master actor; activist; and wise elder all wrapped into one. Her appearance would elevate SOBSfic Con into the stratosphere!
Parliament-Funkadelic / P-Funk All Stars
This legendary, brilliant and highly influential funk, soul and rock music collective is headed by George Clinton. Their style has been dubbed P-Funk.
Collectively, the group has existed under various names since the 1960s and has been known for top-notch musicianship, politically charged lyrics, outlandish concept albums and memorable live performances. They have influenced – and continue to influence – numerous music groups in nearly every genre of music.
The collective was formed in the late 1950s in Plainfield, New Jersey, under the direction of George Clinton. By the early 1970s, the groups Parliament and Funkadelic were operating concurrently and consisted of the same stable of musicians, playing different types of funk music, for two different labels.
Funkadelic is a funk band, with a psychedelic rock touch whose influences include the amplified sounds of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown’s funk, the blues, Sun Ra’s experimentation and southern soul artists like Otis Redding and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Parliament is a funk/R&B band, whose influences are the funky side of Hendrix and Sly Stone, Motown soul groups turned funk groups like the Temptations, the political songs of the Impressions, Rufus Thomas’ southern funk and doo-wop groups like the Coasters.
The name “Parliament-Funkadelic” became the catch-all term for the multiple bands in Clinton’s stable.
Overall, the collective achieved thirteen top ten hits in the American R&B music charts between 1967 and 1983, including six number one hits.
By the early 1980s, Clinton consolidated the collective’s multiple projects and continued touring under the names “George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars” or “George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic.”
George Clinton, a fan of science fiction, had this to say about The Mothership Connection, my favorite P-Funk album:
“We had put Black people in situations nobody ever thought they would be in, like the White House. I figured another place you wouldn’t think Black people would be was in outer space. I was a big fan of Star Trek, so we did a thing with a pimp sitting in a spaceship shaped like a Cadillac and we did all these James Brown-type grooves, but with street talk and ghetto slang.”
Like Sun Ra, George Clinton wanted to see Black people in space.
All the science fiction and Kemetic aspects of p-funk are what situate Clinton’s work in an afrofuturistic setting.
A showing at SOBSFic Con by these pioneers of Afrofuturism would be epic!
As much as Parliament-Funkadelic represents Afrofuturism, T-Pain represents Afroretroism. The theme of his album rEVOLVEr was even Steamfunk.
T-Pain even had this to say about it:
“Steampunk is a movement that’s been happening for a long time, and it’s got a following that’s been crazy. A lot of people don’t know about it. It’s like the modern world meets the 1800s.”
T-Pain’s wardrobe, and even his microphone, is Steamfunk and he even named his biggest concert tour Steampunk.
This hip hop group from New York City was formed in 1992, bringing together hip hop icons Prince Paul, Frukwan, Poetic and RZA. It came about largely due to the efforts of Prince Paul. The group pioneered the hip-hop subgenre of music called horrorcore.
The Gravediggaz first album was titled Niggamortis, however, it was changed to 6 Feet Deep for the American market – European versions of the album retained the original title, and also included the bonus track “Pass the Shovel.” It was released on August 9, 1994. My father gave me the original album with the bonus track. My father gave me many things, but strangely, it is the only album and I did not ask for it, or even tell him I was looking forward to hearing it; he simply surprised me with it and it is still one of my favorites. Not to be outdone, my mother bought me the Gravediggaz sophomore album, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel – which I love as much as Niggamortis. Gotta love my parents!
The four members of the Gravediggaz adopted alter egos for their work with the group: RZA became The RZArector, Poetic became The Grym Reaper, Prince Paul became The Undertaker and Frukwan became The Gatekeeper.
A showing at SOBSFic Con by the surviving members – Poetic transitioned in 2001 – and maybe even a performance of Dangerous Mindz, would blow the SOBSFic Con-goers away!
Deltron 3030 is an afrofuturist hip hop supergroup composed of forerunner, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien – also known as Deltron Osiris and Deltron Zero – producer Dan the Automator and the group’s Dj, Kid Koala, who is also an author of graphic novels.
Besides their own music, Deltron 3030 collaborates with a variety of other musicians under many futuristic pseudonyms.
The group’s debut album, the self-titled Deltron 3030, released on October 17, 2000. This Blacktastic work, set in the year 3030, tells of Deltron Zero’s war against huge corporations that rule the universe.
The lyrics were written in less than two weeks and are characterized by extravagant allusions to futuristic outer-space themes in the Afrofuturist works of Sun Ra and George Clinton.