Featured Guests

Featured Guests:

DJ Lynnée Denise is a cultural producer who spent her most recent years as a lecturer at California State University Los Angeles. She used DJ culture to develop curriculum and public forums exploring music of the African Diaspora. Her work is inspired by underground queer cultural movements, the political history of 1980s, theories of escape, and the relationship between race and music technology. The rhythm and sprit of her writing is informed by ‘ancestors in her line of work’ and include James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Octavia Butler, and Nina Simone. A wanderluster she’s lived in over eight U.S. cities and built a transnational network of artists, scholars and activists in Johannesburg, Montreal, Amsterdam, London, Marseille, and Berlin. Lynnée is a graduate of the Historically Black Fisk University and received her Master’s in Ethnic Studies from the historically radical San Francisco State University. 


John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside.  His work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings is a 2016 Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Jennings’ current projects include the Hiphop adventure comic Kid Code: Channel Zero, the supernatural crime noir story Blue Hand Mojo, and the New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred.


Stacey RobinsonStacey Robinson is an Assistant Professor teaching graphic design and illustration at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and is an Arthur Schomburg fellow who completed his Masters of Fine Art at the University at Buffalo. His work discusses ideas of “Black Utopias” as spaces of conflict resolution away from colonial influence by considering Black affluent self-sustaining communities, Black protest movements and the art movements that document(ed) them. As part of the collaborative team Black Kirby with artist John Jennings, he creates graphic novels, gallery exhibitions and lectures that deconstruct the work of artist Jack Kirby to re-imagine Black resistance spaces inspired by Hip Hop, religion, the arts, and sciences. With MotherBoxx Studios, a design team facilitated by Black Kirby, we collaborate with an amalgam of artists and writers to facilitate graphic novels, comic conventions, and curate exhibitions.  His recent exhibition ‘Binary ConScience’ explores ideas of W.E. B. Du Bois’s “double consciousness” as a Black cultural adaptation and a means of colonial survival. Recent works appear in books: ‘Kid Code: Channel Zero’ from Rosarium Publishing, ‘Prison Industrial Complex For Beginners,’ from For Beginners Books, ‘I Am Alfonso Jones,’ written by Tony Medina, from Tu Books, and forthcomingThe Black Speculative Arts Movement: Afrofuturism, Art+Design(edited by Reynaldo Anderson) from Lexington Books.


Alex Shakar’s latest novel, Luminarium, won the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction.  It was also named a Washington Post Notable Book, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and other periodicals.  His novel The Savage Girl was a New York Times Notable Book and has been widely translated.  His story collection City in Love won the FC2 National Fiction Competition.  He is an associate professor on the fiction faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Moderator of “Worlds Colliding” Session:

Lynne M. ThomasFive-time Hugo Award winner Lynne M. Thomas is the Co-Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Uncanny Magazine with her husband Michael Damian Thomas. The former Editor-in-Chief of Apex Magazine (2011-2013),  she co-edited the Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords, as well as Whedonistas and Chicks Dig Comics. She moderated the Hugo-Award winning SF Squeecast and contributes to the  Verity! Podcast. In her day job, she is the Head of the Rare Books and Manuscript Library and Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the largest public university rare book collections in the country. You can learn more about her shenanigans at lynnemthomas.com.