On January 12, 2018, I was invited to give a screening and presentation at the 6th Annual Black Comic Book Festival at The Schomburg Center in Harlem NYC. It was an incredible experience. When I first created the series back in 2015, I always felt like the toughest demographic to reach with the subject of history were Junior High School students. Their attention span is often thwarted by technology, boys, girls, or just lack of interest. Well, that certainly was not the case on stage.
Not only was I able to grab everyone's attention early on, the packed audience of JHS students (and parents and faculty) made me feel as if this was a highly anticipated event for them. I spoke about the importance of representation in the classroom, the encouragement educators should be giving students and reminding them how incredible they are as students. I spoke about my previous experiences and how I felt like the lack of positive representation bothered me so much that I thought, I could either continue to complain about it, or do something about it. This series, was my way of doing something about it.
I went on to speak about the videos and how these heroes impacted my life and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I even watch the videos every so often just to get a boost of inspiration when ever I encounter a difficult obstacle. After the first video ended, the thunderous applause filled me with a joy that I had never felt before. I realized that feeling was that I had "reached" my target market! They loved it. I asked "wouldn't that be a fun way to learn history in your classroom?" and the frigid New York air was quickly warmed by eruption of synchronized voices in the auditorium shouting "yea"! It was obvious to me that none of the press, none of the celebrity "retweets" meant as much to me as the validation that I received from those bright eyed Junior High School kids from Harlem. If there was ever any doubt that I should continue developing more episodes, that doubt was instantly crushed that morning.
Heroes of color is an instructional video series honoring the achievements of people of color in and out of the military.