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Friday, July 21, 2017

Black Single Mothers Can't Teach The Unwritten Rules for Black Men

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Shawn James Vs. Ta-Negro Coates on the Craft of Comics

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bakari Henderson & The Unwritten Social Rules For Black Men

A week ago Bakari Henderson was murdered outside of a bar in Greece by a mob of Serbian men after taking a selfie with a White waitress. While his death was a tragedy it could have been prevented if this young brotha understood the unwritten social rules regarding being a Black man in the world.

Barkari Henderson like many young Black males who grew up over the last 20 years grew up believing the lies about a “post-racial” America and a world that’s a “Rainbow”. And because they have some White friends they think that they’re free to do whatever they please wherever they please just like White people.

That’s a lie that cost Bakari Henderson his life. And it can cost many other young brothers their lives if they don’t understand it too.

When it comes to Black men, the world works differently for us than it does for White men, White women, and even Black women. And a Black man has to know how to set a course for himself to avoid the dangers around him.

Because Bakari Henderson grew up believing that he lived in the world of the “Rainbow” with his White friends he never taught that a Black man has a target on his back the minute he steps foot outside of his house. And that target grows larger when he travels abroad to places like Greece.

When a Black man goes out of his house he is on his own behind enemy lines. And when he goes into someone else’s country he is in the center of enemy territory. So a Smart Black man knows to watch his back and watch himself in his social interactions with both White and nonblack people. Because the wrong look, or the wrong move in a place like a store can lead to a Black man getting locked up or it can put him six feet under.

A Black man taking a selfie with a White waitress may be something innocent in some of the more liberal parts of America. But in some of the southern, midwest and western parts of America and abroad that kind of action can cost a Black man his life. Seeing him take that selfie with that White waitress was all the reason those Serbian racists needed to go on the warpath. These Beta White Knights saw a nigger in their bar with their woman in their country acting like a White man. And they sought to send a message to all the other niggers around the world regarding their women.

What happened to Bakari Henderson was no different than what Carolyn Bryant’s husband and brother and law when they planned to murder Emmit Till back in the 1950s. Those Serbs literally lynched him all for taking a picture with a White woman.

And just like 14-year-old Emmitt Till didn’t understand the unwritten social rules regarding racism in the Jim Crow South in the 1950s, 22-year old Bakari Henderson didn’t understand them about traveling abroad in European countries in 2017.

The times may have changed. But the racism is still the same. Bakari Henderson didn’t get the survival skills a Black man needs from his parents. And that cost him his life.

A Black man has to understand at an early age he can’t do the same things that White men, Hispanic Men, Asian Men, White Women Black women or Nonblack women can do in the world. They’ll always have social privileges and freedoms he’ll never have. Thanks to White Supremacy, he’ll always be perceived as an enemy and a threat. So he has to do things to minimize the danger to himself. That’s why it’s important for a Black boy to learn all the unwritten social rules regarding Black men in a White Supremacist world from an early age. Because the earlier he learns those rules, the earlier he knows how to avoid life-threatening situations like the ones Bakari Henderson and Emmitt Till wound up in.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Legendary Mad Matilda Sample Chapter

I’ve been busy reading over my new Goth YA novel on The Legendary Mad Matilda. And I’ve got another chapter of the final chapter of the Spinsterella Trilogy to share with readers. This one takes you into some of the craziness of one of Mad Matilda’s parties! 

Chapter 8

My heart pounds in my chest as Ebony Darkness leads me through the crowds and down the hall over to some more bathrooms on the far side of the warehouse. I’m hoping what she has to show me isn’t bad enough to make me end the show early.
I push past the creaky door of the abandoned men’s room praying not to see something truly macabre. My heart stops when I see a babybat, barely fourteen years old dressed in mismatched thrift store clothes, bad eyeliner, and teased out hair slumped on the floor under the bathroom sink. “Oh my God!” I gasp rushing over to her.
I look into the girl’s glazed over eyes and quickly recognize the drug she’s on. Ecstasy. “Are you all right?”
“You’re Mad Matilda!” She babbles. “Man, I can’t believe I’m actually talking to Mad Matilda!”
This isn’t the way I wanted to be recognized by a fan. “Yeah, are you okay sweetie?”
“I’m okay. See-”
The girl tries to get to her feet and stumbles back down to the floor. Shit, she’s high out of her mind. “What happened?”
The girl manages to get enough of her faculties to tell me her story. “I was feeling nervous. And a guy said he could give me something to make me feel better.”
“Blue pills?”
“Yeah...” The girl says as her hands creep towards her purse.
I reach into her purse and take out a couple of blue pills. Just like I thought. Ecstasy. “Where did you get these?”
“From a skinny Puerto Rican guy in a leather jacket.” 
That sounds like Louie Escobar. I told that asshole he was persona non-grata at my shows. Looks like he’s here to make a fast dollar peddling pills at the expense of babybats. I catch the sick look on the kid’s face and realize she took more than one. “Ebony, I need you to get her to St. Luke’s-”
“But that’s all the way on Morningside-”
With all the drugs she’s taken we don’t have a moment to lose. “The faster she gets her stomach pumped, the faster she can start feeling better.”
“What are you gonna do?”
“I’m gonna have it out with Louie.”

The Legendary Mad Matilda will be out…whenever I get enough money to pay an artist to design the cover. I’m hoping it’s sooner rather than later. You can help me get this book to the marketplace by donating $1 or more to my Paypal or my Patreon. In the meantime you can read the other two books in the Spinsterella Trilogy Spinsterella and Spellbound in paperback or e-readers today!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Spinsterella Fan Art

I recently received a piece of digital fanart from a digital artist called rundotexe. And after they saw Bill Walko’s Isis covers he wanted to design his interpretation of Matilda Crowley, the lead character in Spinsterella.

I love this image because it looks just like I imagined Matilda as she came down the stairs to announce that “The Lady has returned to the manor” in Spellbound. It clearly shows every one that you don’t need to have a pale skintone to wear a Goth look and that Black women can be Goth and FABULOUS while being spooky.

There’s a lot I love in this piece, from the slight resemblance to Tia Mowry (one of the inspirations for Matilda), to the nuanced reference to Monster High. Monster High was one of my favorite toy lines (before the reboot) and I drew a lot of inspiration from it for many characters including Matilda. I have to wonder if they read Spinsterella and Spellbound and if they read my blogs and my YouTube Videos, because everything I talked about regarding Mattie is in this image.

Seeing this digital has me thinking a Monster High Spinsterella doll would look AWESOME on store shelves. Let’s make it happen Mattel!

I know I said I’d feature fanart in future eBooks, but I’m seriously considering putting this piece on the refresh cover of Spinsterella. As far as I’m concerned this IS Matilda Crowley!

I’d love to have this artist design the cover for the final book in the Spinsterella Trilogy, The Legendary Mad Matilda. If I can get in touch with this artist and we can work something out, I’d love to see their art grace both covers. The only thing holding up Legendary Mad Matilda is the cover, and if I can get the cover straight, I can get that book out by this Halloween!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shawn Reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming

I got a chance to take in Spider-Man: Homecoming at the Magic Johnson this Saturday at a Matinee showing. And for the first time in nine years I was deeply disappointed in what I saw onscreen calling itself a Marvel Studios film. Yeah, there was a character named Peter Parker who fights crime as Spider-Man onscreen, but he acted NOTHING like the character from the comic books I grew up with. Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man is nothing more than Miles Morales with Peter Parker’s name on him.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is supposed to tell the story of Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After making his a strong first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man Homecoming was supposed to take us into Peter Parker’s corner of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, Peter Parker’s world looks too much like Miles Morales’ world, not his own Peter Parker now lives in the projects and all the core characters of Spider-Man’s whitebread part of the Marvel universe have been replaced with Social Justice Warrior diversity hires. Peter’s Best friend is a fat Pacific Islander. Flash Thompson is an Indian. Liz is black and MJ is biracial. The store Peter gets his sandwiches from is run by an Arab. There’s no Daily Bugle, no Robbie Robertson, No J. Jonah Jameson. Instead of working afterschool by taking pictures of himself, Peter works for Tony Stark in an “internship”. All of this is meant to make Spider-Man’s world appear more diverse and more real world, but it just doesn’t feel like the Spider-Man I grew up with. It feels like Peter Parker from an alternate SJW universe, not the REAL Marvel Universe.

The story for Spider-Man: Homecoming was hard for me to get into thanks to all the continuity baggage from previous films. Eight years after the Chutari invaision, Adrian Toomes and the employees of his salvage company are put out of work by Tony Stark and Damage Control, and that’s what’s supposed to lead to him turning to crime. And Spider-man is trying to find his way after the events of Captain America: Civil War. After stopping a robbery at an ATM he soon becomes aware of the Chutari tech and the Vulture’s operation. In his first big case he’s supposed to try to stop the Vulture from selling Chutari Tech to criminals. Unfortunately, thanks to all the continuity baggage I just didn’t have a reason to CARE about this story.

Thanks to the poorly written script I didn’t know whether or not to sympathize for Toomes or to hate him. And while Spider-Man bumbled around in his first attempts at being a superhero it didn’t really make me relate to him or connect with him onscreen.

Yeah, Spider-Man is finally a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But he’s NOT the Peter Parker we all know and love. He’s somebody else. And he’s not someone I think I want to see in another movie. Having Tony make Peter’s costume just doesn’t work for me. That’s Terry McGuiness’ shtick from Batman Beyond. Part of the charm of Spider-Man is that he’s this intelligent guy who can make his own stuff. Spider-Man is the guy who learned super-heroing on his own and created stuff on the fly to deal with problems. Watching his suit have web-wings, drones, its own artificial intelligence, and video recorders impedes his ability to be creative and resourceful. Seeing Peter interact with his suit didn’t make me think of Peter Parker, the intelligent kid who could think for himself. Instead I thought of Terry McGuiness the guy who works for Bruce Wayne.

Just like Iron Man’s armor in this movie, the film feels unfinished and incomplete.  Spider-Man: Homecoming feels like unfinished odds and ends of past Marvel Studios movies and ancillary MCU characters like Happy Hogan cut and pasted together to make a movie, not an actual movie. Tony Stark doesn’t take Peter Parker seriously, and the director and screenwriters of this movie don’t take Spider-Man seriously. And the end result is a clumsy, awkward uneven movie with a shallow storyline, weak one-dimensional characters and no heart.  

I wanted to like Spider-Man: Homecoming. But the film just doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man movie telling a story about Spider-Man like Sam Raimi’s Classic 2002 film. It feels like a satire of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Spider-Man shoehorned into it to be the butt of one big parody where the producers of Marvel Studios take shots at their own universe at the audiences’ expense.

Congratulations Marvel Studios you just made Superman III.  

Almost 30 years after the Salkinds made the film that heralded the beginning of the end the Superman franchise in the 1980s, and 20 years after Joel Schumacher killed the original Batman Franchise with Batman and Robin in 1997, I think Marvel Studios has just started the process of putting the nails in its own coffin.

The Salkinds thought adding more humor to Superman III would lead to the film being more appealing to audiences. And the addition of funnyman Richard Pryor would lead to big laughs. Unfortunately, people didn’t go to see Superman yuk it up with Richard Pyor, they paid money to see Superman kick bad guy ass. Yeah, I like some of the humorous bits in Marvel Studios films. They break up some of the tension and made the characters relatable to the audience. However, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming overdo the comedy and take Marvel Studios down the road that killed the Superman Franchise in the 80s and ended the Batman Franchise in the 1990s.

Marvel Studios is in TROUBLE. Only they don’t know it.

I started to see fractures in the Marvel Studios model with Avengers: Age of Ultron. And those fractures started to turn into cracks with Captain America: Civil War, Jessica Jones, the back six episodes of Luke Cage and that abomination of a Netflix show called Iron Fist. From what I saw in Spider-Man Homecoming the wheels are slowly coming off the Marvel Studios bus. Kevin Feige better get it together because Marvel Studios is very vulnerable at this point. All it takes is the right studio with the right project to beat them at their own game. As much as I hate Zack Snyder’s DC Cinematic Universe, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was a MUCH better film than the slop he presented onscreen calling itself a Spider-Man movie.

I can’t recommend Spider-Man Homecoming. The film just doesn’t meet the high bar established by 2008’s Iron Man or 2009’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Those two films were true to the source material and the heart of those characters. Spider-Man Homecoming is true to what Disney and SJWs want Spider-Man to be, not who he really is. Spider-Man may have come home to Marvel Cinematic Universe, but all I saw onscreen was a reason to stop going to Marvel Studios movies.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Halle Berry's DISGRACEFUL Return To The Black Community

Actress Halle Berry recently made an appearance at the Essence Festival to promote her movie Kidnap. And while she was there she made several disingenuous statements about how she was so concerned about the issues of Black actresses, the lack of opportunities for Black actresses, and the low pay Black actresses receive in Hollywood. This chick is full of shit a toilet bowl gets jealous. 

I find it funny how Halle Berry is so concerned about the issues of Black actresses now that her star has faded with White Hollywood. She wasn’t worried about the issues of Black actresses back in 2001 when Lee Daniels was paying her $1 million for starring in Monster’s Ball, the film that destroyed the image of the Black woman. Nor was she concerned about the low pay or lack of opportunities for other Black actresses when she was being paid $10-$15 million a picture for films like Gothika, Die Another Day, and Catwoman by White Hollywood.

I wonder how concerned Halle was about the issues of Black actresses and Black people when she threw the Black community under the bus by bashing up Eric Benet in her divorce, saying things like she “Tried” Black men in the pages of Ebony Magazine, and flaunted White men like Gabriel Aubry and Oliver Martinez in the faces of Black people. Back then she didn’t seem too concerned about the struggles talented Black actresses like Tia Mowry, Salli Richardson Whitfield, Kimberly Elise, and many other sistas who could have gotten a boost from playing a supporting role in one of her films. Nor was she concerned about Black directors like Ava Duvernay who were trying to uplift the image of the Black woman. Halle could have easily used her A-list star power to help any of those sistas take their projects or their careers to the next level.

But she didn’t. After Halle won her Oscar it was all About TEH HALLE. How many doors did that Oscar open for you and other Black women Halle?

The same amount you closed in the faces of all those sistas behind you once you got yours. Now that you can’t play the role of the Jezebel for White men anymore and you’re too light to play Mammies, you’re so concerned about the struggles of Black actresses.

Fuck You Halle. Fuck You.

You only want to be “Black” and be around Black people when it benefits you, not when you can do something for other Black people. Piss off.

If Halle Berry had reached back for a single Black actress, worked with an indie Black director like Ava Duvernay, or a helped Black screenwriter like myself get their script greenlit after that 2002 Oscar win her appearance at the Essence festival would mean something and her words would have resonance with Black people. As they stand right now they’re just bullshit. Now that she’s a washed up 50-year-old single mother with two kids by two different White fathers, she’s not worried about the lack of opportunities for Black actresses, she’s worried about the lack of opportunities for herself. In her old age she sees that her Oscar has no value to White people anymore. And now, she’s looking to go back to the Black community to get a few slices of bread from Black people’s tables.

And because many Black men are a bunch of dumbass SIMPS she thinks she can get it from them. Broken down old Halle Berry knows that because many Negro men are thirsty and have ABSOLUTELY NO STANDARDS they’ll accept a 50-year Bustdown baby momma with two kids by two different White fathers just because they think she’s light skinned and pretty like in her old magazine pictures from the 1990’s.

And because Black women have absolutely no moral position they’ll accept Halle Berry back in their community as a fellow Sista because they want to keep getting a pass to continue getting away with all the irresponsible, reckless, and immoral behavior Halle legitimized as social norms over the last 15 years. If they let Halle come Back and be a Black woman in the Black community, then they can cement whoredom as a social standard for Black women and not make any efforts to raise the bar for moral standards out of the dirt Halle dropped it in.

Thanks to Halle Berry participating in Monster’s Ball the that bar for Black women’s moral standards is buried so deep beneath the earth’s crust it’s right at the molten core right next to the self-esteem of the Black woman. All those ass models in magazines like King and Smooth and pointing their butts up for a camera on Instagram? All those Twerk videos on YouTube? All those fight videos in fast food restaurants between Black women? Those porn websites like Ghetto Gaggers where White men humiliate Black women and call them the N-Word? All those reality shows like Love & Hip-Hop, Basketball wives and Real Housewives? All those TV shows like Scandal where Black women play the role of a side piece to a White man? All those Swirlers online praising White, Asian, Hispanic and Arab men as better than Black men?

You can thank Halle Berry for all that. That’s her legacy. That’s what she’ll be remembered for years from now. Driving the image of the Black woman straight into the GUTTER and corrupting the minds of a generation of young sistas to devalue and degrade themselves and hate their own men.

However, Essence Magazine celebrates this woman as some sort of hero at their Festival. Showing us how much the moral position of Black women has declined over the last 15 years. An unrepentant sellout betrays the Black community. And Black women embrace this harlot without holding her accountable for anything she’s done.

Damn. Just Damn.

The old African Proverb says “A Race can rise no higher than the moral position of its women.” And I see how low the moral position of Black women is when they accept someone who is as disgraceful as Halle Berry back into their community. In any other community a traitor like Halle Berry would be shown the door. But because Black people have no standards for anything, they accept her with open arms. Showing the world the reason why no one needs to respect Black people. Because Black people have no respect for themselves.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Troubles With Typos in Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics has been having a problem with spelling grammar and punctuation in some of their publications lately. There have been quite a few typos in many of their recent comics. And one of their senior executives Tom Bevoort is in denial about the problem. 

I’m an indie publisher running a one-man operation off his laptop. And I’ve run into my fair share of quality control issues in the fifteen years I’ve worked on publishing my own books and eBooks. However, I’ll admit the problem and make an effort to correct them in my books. When I’m alerted to an issue by readers, I’ll proofread a story and re-upload it so future readers can have the best quality publication.

Unfortunately Tom Bevroort, an executive at Marvel, a subsidiary of a multibillion dollar corporation like Disney can’t seem to do anything about typos in Marvel’s comics. This is a man with hundreds of editors, assistant editors, and freelance proofreaders on his payroll. It’s a sad day when an unemployed guy working on a shoestring budget is willing to take the editing of his publications more seriously than an executive who makes six figures at the division of multibillion dollar corporation.

But this is par for the course with SJW Marvel. Where 22-year old kids fresh out of college are working in their editorial department without any guidance from a seasoned professional to teach them the craft of comics or the basics of working in a publishing house. Most of these kids probably haven’t read the Chicago manual of style, Elements of Style, or the Bedford English handbook. So they don’t know how use these tools to improve the quality of their work. If they did they’d know what grammatical mistakes to look out for before they sent a book out to the printers.

A combination of inexperienced staff and poor leadership usually what leads to quality control issues like typos in publications. And when there’s a quality control issue like typos in comics, the only thing a senior manager can do is admit the problem and try to do better. While no publisher will make perfect publications all the time, a smart one will make efforts to rectify them so they won’t keep reoccurring.

Marvel’s problem is that their editorial department is run by people too young to understand what craft is. An editor on a publication should be someone with years of experience working with publications, deadlines and schedules. That’s someone who’d be able to catch something like a typo in a proof before a final publication goes to print.

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes publishing books. And over the last eight years running SJS DIRECT on a laptop with a shoestring budget I’ve made efforts to improve the quality of my paperbacks and eBooks. While I aspire to get to the point where I can produce books that are 99% typo free on my own, I’d like to think Marvel could do the same with the billions of dollars Disney is pouring into all the new staff they’re hiring.  If Tom Bevoort can’t make his editorial staff get a handle on something simple like typos in comic books then maybe it’s time for someone new at the top at Marvel.