What is the connection between BlackSci-Fi.com and ECBACC?
I founded an organization back in the late '90s called the Black Science Fiction Society [BSFS]. I was creating panels, workshops, and events where fans and creators of Black speculative fiction and comic books could meet up and talk about their interests. Through that, I created a website that eventually became BlackSci-Fi.com. It evolved from producing the events to reporting on events. Black artists at a mainstream convention were off to the side of Artists Alley or in the back somewhere. So, when I covered a convention, that was the first place I'd go.
I went to Wizard World and saw Alex Simmons who said to me, "Hey have you heard about this Black comic book convention going on today? It's a get-together on Temple's campus for Black comic book artists." I was stunned. I made a beeline to Temple's campus and got there about 5 minutes before the end. I met Yumy who was running it so I sat down with him and we got along instantly. I said to Yumy there is no way we can get these great guys together and not have the audience too. There are people who want to meet them and buy their products. My background is in communications, marketing, and project management, so I asked him for his permission to call it a convention and coordinate the things that would make it one. We made sure we had some panels, workshops, and vendors. Then it just grew from there.
I was the original Event Coordinator and Vice President of ECBACC for 8 years. Yumy was always open to new ideas and wanted to see what I could do. The writers and the artists wanted to talk and exchange information with their fans so we made it a family atmosphere.
What do you want to see for the future of ECBACC?
I want it to always be changing with the times. ECBACC isn't any one individual; it's an entity, and it should pass to the next generation. It should become whatever they feel the need to create. What's important to me is that the upcoming generation understands the legacy of what they have.
How important are the literacy programs like ECBACC S.T.A.R.S. and ESTEAM?
They're a critical and logical outgrowth of the convention. Most age groups want to know how to put a comic book together, so we wanted to make sure we met those needs so we can train the next generation. I can remember as a kid reading comic books and having a dictionary beside me so I could understand some of the words. It's for the older generation too because it's never too late to enjoy learning and creating. People didn't see comic books as an option for a career. And now people understand, so it's part of what we teach.
What role do you see ECBACC playing in the broader landscape of conventions?
There are many conventions that use the ECBACC format or are inspired by it. Many of the writers have gone on to greater things. ECBACC has been an incubator for a lot of people. You can see now that ECBACC has become a jewel in the heart of Philly and should be honored and recognized.