How did you get involved with ECBACC and how has it affected your life?
I was doing a Rites of Passage class with Baba Yumy, and he told me I look like this character named Dreadlocks. I love and respect Baba Yumy, so I looked into it. I was like, "Wow, I do favor this character!" I looked deeper into it, and he references the gods of Africa and works to bring balance to the world. I felt that our purposes were intertwined. The character had a big ankh on his chest and I was like, "You know what, I'm gonna do this." I grew up looking up to superheroes, but I'd never seen myself in those heroes. To be 30+ and realize a dream that I could become a superhero was deep!
So, I called up Andre Batts in Detroit and told him that I would love to play his character, and he gave me the OK. We hooked up the costume, and Baba Yumy said I had to come to ECBACC with it. The rest, as they say, is history.
What does ECBACC mean to you?
I look at it as a cultural revolution. It's life-altering. It's definitely a platform where Black Excellence can be displayed. It changed the whole way people think about Black superheroes and African characters.
What is a treasured memory from ECBACC?
A few years ago ECBACC was invited to a convention in Maryland. Yumy asked me to come with him. We had an ECBACC table set up, and I was one of the cosplayers representing Philly. I had an interaction with a youth who was really shy with everyone else. We talked for 5 minutes and he gave me the biggest hug. Someone took a picture and captured exactly what we were feeling. All the reasons I was involved in ECBACC were embodied in that interaction.
What changes have you seen over the years and where would you like to see ECBACC go?
I'd love to see ECBACC go international. I think culturally responsible superheroes are important and need to be seen all over the world to show an alternative to what's negative and popular.
I love the things that they are doing. I don't see any need for changes. I love that it's once a year so there's a build-up and something to look forward to. I love the fact that they are willing to go all over the country to present these ideas and concepts to the masses. We have a beautiful culture, and this is the perfect opportunity to introduce people to Kemit and Alkebulan, and Nubia. We contribute a lot to the world and people need to know that.
How has ECBACC affected your own art and work?
I work with youth, so dressing up as a superhero expands my demographic to younger children. I've been traveling the country playing Dreadlocks. I developed a workshop called How To Awaken Your Inner Superhero based on the character and his principles. I tell the students that they all have the attributes of a superhero as well; they just have to develop them. Working with ECBACC took my social activism to the next level and I will forever be grateful.