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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: October, 2015
Oct 26, 2015

While comic books pay creators nowhere near what most professionals get in movies, television, or video games, countless comic books fans yearn to be creators and spend years honing their skills, creating characters and stories, and sometimes even publishing entire works online or in print.

For a determined, highly-skilled, and lucky few, the result is getting hired by the major publishers or long-term success as an independent backed by crowdfunding, great sales, or both.

To stay determined and rack up skills, one needs a strategy, and that’s where our guests come in, who comment on how to do the job, and how to get the job.

Matt Hawkins, president and chief operating officer at Top Cow productions, discusses:

  • The must-own books on how to create comics art
  • How to take feedback
  • The need to go to conventions
  • Why you need to have an online portfolio
  • How not to talk about colleagues
  • How to improve your art skills
  • The personal demands of the job
  • The etiquette for contacting editors, and
  • The art of the pitch

Dani Dixon, a creator and publisher at Tumble Creek Press, discusses:

  • The importance of listening to editorial restrictions when submitting your work
  • The risk of keeping not-safe-for-work content in your online portfolio, and
  • The need to pick a social media platform that represents your professional interests the best

Ray Anthony Height, creator of Midnight Tiger, discusses:

  • What it takes to stay in the business
  • The need to continue learning
  • The paramount significance of deadlines, and
  • The three things you need to know to succeed in comics

Mark and Mike Davis, also known as the Madtwiinz, are the creators of Blokhedz, a four-issue indie comic limited series from 2004 and its 2009 companion webisode series that includes voicing by Talib Kweli and Dorian Harewood. They’ve gone on to freelance for Sony, Fox, and Disney, and have worked on The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, and GI Joe.
They discuss how they co-created Blokhedz.

All of this episode’s guests spoke on a panel at Eagle Con in May, 2015 at California State University at Los Angeles, except for the Davis Brothers, who spoke with me at San Diego Comic Con in July 2004.

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Oct 19, 2015

Chuck D. is the leader of Public Enemy, one of the contemporary music’s most influential acts, and creator of two of hip hop’s most powerful albums: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back from 1988, and Fear of a Black Planet from 1990.

Born in 1960 in Long Island, New York, Chuck D. attended Adelphi University where he contributed poster artwork to the growing hip hop scene, and where he hosted a hip hop radio show on WBAU.

Forming Public Enemy with collaborators Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, DJ Terminator X, and the martial artists the Security of the First World, Chuck D. led a bold new aesthetic into hip hop, combining the look and messages of the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam.

The group enjoyed enormous success and weathered enormous controversy, creating classic anthems such as 1989’s “Fight the Power” and 2004’s “Son of a Bush.” Chuck D. became a pioneer of digital music distribution, launching SlamJamz and HipHopGods to help artists free themselves from corporate control, bad contracts, and terrible pay.

Just as Public Enemy has toured widely and performed thousands of concerts, Chuck D. lectures widely at universities around the world. He was also a guest on my CJSR FM Edmonton radio show The Terrordome in 1999 and in 2005. The last time Public Enemy came to the Big E was 2010, and that’s when I caught up with Chuck D, at the Edmonton Event Centre, which was the exact place I’d met to interview him in 1999. He discussed:

 

  • Female music producers in hip hop
  • His reactions to the frantic cliché “hip hop is dead”
  • His thoughts on the arrest of African-American one-percenter Henry Louis “Skip” Gates who was also the head of African American studies at Harvard, and the degrading content of Gates’s series The Wonders of the African World
  • His perspective on reparations for the descendants of the prisoners of the centuries-long, continent-wide American rape gulag
  • His reactions to the HBO series The Wire and to the comments of one Wire writer who claimed that middle-class African-Americans face no racist barriers to their quality of life or advancement
  • His thoughts on the education of African children and teens and US President Barack Obama
  • The differences between Canadians and Americans
  • His comments about his wife and daughters and thoughts on the problems facing teens
  • The personal and political reasons why Public Enemy let Arrested Development create the anthem for Spike Lee’s 1992 feature Malcolm X, instead of doing it themselves
  • Whether PE will eventually make a Malcolm X tribute song, and why Malcolm X would not have existed without Montreal
  • One of Chuck D.’s favourites writers and favourite books, and
  • His thoughts on the then-recent death of Gang Starr’s legendary MC Guru

Note that you’ll hear a strange jump in the ambient noise after the first set of questions. That’s because we conducted the interview at two different times: in the afternoon before the concert, and then an hour before Chuck D. was to hit the stage.

We began by discussing how his then-new music portals She Movement and Hip Hop Gods innovated upon the work he began with SlamJamz.

 

To hear the ONE HOUR LONG patrons-only extended edition of my conversation with Chuck D. of Public Enemy, click on the Patreon link to become a sponsor for a dollar or more per week.

By funding MF GALAXY, you get access to all extended editions of the show, plus video excerpts from selected interviews as they become available. This extended edition includes a further interview with Chuck D. and with the legendary Public Enemy S1W Pop Diesel.

Chuck D discusses:

  • Whether Public Enemy’s pan-Africanism includes working with continental African musicians
  • How US President Barack Obama functioned as a weapon of mass distraction
  • The challenges and rewards of Paris’s unprecedented artistic collaboration with Public Enemy on the 2006 album Rebirth of a Nation
  • Professor Griff’s phenomenal production work on PE singles “Son of a Bush” and “Revolution”
  • Chuck D.’s perspective on his leadership in digital distribution and his rationale for the “micro-niching” of SheMovement.com and HipHopGods.rapstation.com, and
  • His thoughts on his friend Bono editing the “Africa” issue of The Globe & Mail and racism in Canada

 

S1W Pop Diesel discusses:

  • The history of the S1Ws and their origins with the Fruit of Islam, the security force of the Nation of Islam, and the organization called Unity Force, and the leadership of the S1Ws under Professor Griff
  • His own martial arts relationship with Griff
  • Pop Diesel’s non-PE career in his company First World Security, and how their force provides safety in dangerous areas of Baltimore and other areas without its staff being armed
  • His thoughts on whether the Baltimore-set TV series The Wire is excellent, or exploitative
  • His most profound experiences during his more than two-decade career with Public Enemy
  • His cultural experience of learning and mastering martial arts before the era of UFC, and
  • His own strategy for a healthy mind and body
Oct 12, 2015

Dr. Ganz Ferrance is a psychologist specialising in human potential, and family and marriage therapy.

Over my decades of radio broadcasting and now podcasting, I’ve spoken with scores of people about the structural and systemic barriers to the freedom, prosperity, and happiness of Africans and other groups.

On this episode of MF GALAXY we’ll hear about another set of barriers, which, while being influenced by the structural and the systemic, are a distinct problem unto themselves. They’re also usually more difficult to perceive and define. I’m talking about psychological barriers inside the human community generally and African-Canadian communities specifically, barriers which have been passed intergenerationally and are the legacy of the horrors of colonialism across the African continent, and of the continent-wide rape-gulag in the US and in the Caribbean.

Ganz Ferrance is ideally suited to discuss these intergenerational barriers to our individual and collective health and success, and the means to overcome them. He’s been teaching mind-body health for over two decades in Canada and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology from Andrews University in Michigan and an MA in Educational and Developmental Psychology.

He’s also an increasingly well-known media figure, having appeared on CBC Radio, CHED Radio, CTV Edmonton and CTV’s Good Morning Canada, ByuRadio, Canadian Learning Television, and Sirius XM, and in the pages of P&G Every Day, Our Weekly, and Ebony Magazine.

In this episode of MF GALAXY, Ganz Ferrance discusses:

  • What Eurocentric psychology misses about the profound, cumulative, psychological impacts of the lifelong experience of enduring racism
  • The significance of what sociologists call “stereotype threat”
  • How people in societies that are free on paper but racist in reality can achieve strong mental health
  • How “purpose tremor” relates to the well-intentioned but counter-productive messages that African parents give their children
  • The danger of waiting for saviours
  • The effects of the competing values of community versus the individual, and
  • Whether African celebrities have an obligation to Africans across the world

Today’s show comes from deep inside the archives of the Grand Lodge of Imhotep. Ganz Ferrance spoke with me at his office in Edmonton in September, 2008.

 

To hear the exclusive patrons-only extended edition of my conversation with Ganz Ferrance, click on the Patreon link to become a sponsor for a dollar or more per week.

By funding MF GALAXY, you get access to all extended editions of the show, plus video excerpts from selected interviews as they become available. This extended edition includes Dr. Ganz Ferrance discussing:

  • The benefits of chess, horse-riding, golf, and other non-stereotypically African activities for African-Canadian families
  • The fluidity of racial stereotypes and how they limit people’s futures
  • The “racial solidarity” reasons why some people defend corporal punishment, and
  • How people can change from focusing on defeat to focusing on victory

To contact Dr. Ganz Ferrance, book him for counselling or a speaking engagement, attend his classes, or to purchase his CDs and DVDs, visit doctorganz.com.
 

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Oct 5, 2015

Charlie Kernaghan is the executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, a Pittsburgh-based NGO of global labour advocates. They risk their own safety in pursuit of justice for some of the most exploited workers in the world through exposing human and labour rights abuses perpetrated by US companies producing goods in poor countries.

Kernaghan has made his living as furniture mover, carpenter, cab driver, and university instructor, but he began his crusade for workers’ rights in 1985 after participating in a peace march through Central America. In 1990, he became the director of the US-based National Labor Committee, the fore-runner to the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

Kernaghan’s international fame came from rattling the chains of one particular celebrity: Kathie Lee Gifford of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Gifford’s name was on a line of clothing from whose profits a portion of proceeds was used to aid disadvantaged American children. The problem? The clothes were made in Honduran sweatshops. By thirteen year-old girls working thirteen-hour shifts for 31 cents an hour. Under armed guard.

After Kernaghan broke that story, Gifford broke into tears on North American television, and she threatened to sue him and the tiny NLC. Her threats crumbled into defeat when she was eventually forced to sign a code of conduct that included independent monitoring, a story detailed in the Canadian documentary The Corporation (http://www.thecorporation.com).

Being known as “the man who made Kathie Lee cry” is enough to endear Kernaghan to many; he’s been written up in Mother Jones magazine, been featured on David Barsamian’s Alternative Radio and gives somewhere around seventy speeches a year while he and the Institute maximise their pressure against plutocrats such as the owners of Wal-Mart and the NBA to ensure justice for the people who make the the products that elevate them to the global top 1% inside the global 1%.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Charlie Kernaghan discusses:

  • The typical, miserable working and living conditions for the 35 million women and girls in 2004 who sewed the clothes of the world in sweatshops
  • His reaction to the much-repeated lie that transnational sweatshops are improving the quality of life wherever they go
  • His advice on how to make your Christmas or year-round shopping less globally exploitative and more just
  • What’s far more powerful than mere individual consumer choice on the path to global labour justice, and
  • The strategic and moral value of boycotting companies versus boycotting entire countries

Today’s conversation is from sub-level ten inside the archives of the Grand Lodge of Imhotep. Way back during the Christmas shopping rush of December 2004, Charlie Kernaghan spoke with me from his office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by telephone. Please note that back then, his organisation was called the National Labour Committee.

I began by asking Kernaghan about the amount of money US consumers spend on others and themselves to purchase their Christmas cheer, and how little reward would go to the people who actually produced those gifts.

 

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