"I look at Khemfest as an extension of the work they've been doing for the past 20 years at ECBACC."

Naseed Gifted

Founder of Khem Fest & PBS Media LLC

How many ECBACCs: 10

Favorite Indie fandom: E.X.O, Black, and Tuskeegee Heirs

Favorite Mainstream: X-Men, Black Panther, Spiderman (as a kid)

But wait, there's more: Khem Fest | PBS Media LLC

Do you remember how you heard about ECBACC and started attending?

I had an experience with my son. We went to see The Incredible Hulk, and I talked to him about Superheroes. He could name Batman, Superman, and Spiderman. All the superheroes he named didn't look like him. In my household, we know about Khemit. We know about the 3-M's: Malcolm Marcus, and Martin. Initially, I got upset, but then I decided to do something about it. That sent me off on a journey. During this journey, I looked into developing my own comic book series. In my research, I stumbled upon ECBACC, so in 2008 I brought a couple of my students down to Temple University and I was amazed. I didn't know there were so many indie Black comic book creators until I was blessed to be a part of the event.

At ECBACC, I saw some of the most phenomenal art I had ever laid eyes on. It was created by Mshindo [Kuumba]. I told myself that one day I'd work with him. So fast-forward to 2010 when I'm working on my story; I got a chance to work with Mshindo on my character development. And in 2012 I premiered my first book at ECBACC and I've been going ever since.

What's a cherished memory from ECBACC?

I think one of my favorite memories of ECBACC would be interacting with Brother Yumy because he was so warm and caring. I reached out to him in the process of developing Khem Fest. During the conversation I had with him, he was ecstatic, but that was outside of ECBACC. I do have one inside of ECBACC. I think it was 2013. I brought an individual who cosplayed my PB Soldier character as well as other indie Black characters. Everything I've done in the comic book world has debuted at ECBACC. I've made lifelong friends and business associates connecting with all of the creative talent at the nexus of ECBACC. All of them have inspired me in some fashion to push forward and get to where I am today.

Khemfest has a STEAM focus. Was that by virtue of your profession? What was the thinking behind that?

That comes from my background. I'm not coming from the art world. I'm actually coming from the world of engineering. I've always advocated for the next generation of technology leaders. What could be a cooler way than to say, "Hey, there's STEAM career paths connected to animation, comic books, and gaming!" That way we can connect the now generation with the next generation of creative talent.

Has ECBACC provided ways for you to grow as a creator and entrepreneur?

Everything I've done is because of my exposure to ECBACC. As I said, I didn't grow up in this community. I was kind of adopted into it, but I'm a student at all times. I actually had to go through training and attend courses to understand the business and the writing of comics. They say what you don't get from experience, you pay for, so ECBACC was my training ground. I look at Khem Fest as an extension of the work they've been doing for the past 20 years at ECBACC.