They say that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men series was inspired by the civil rights movement. This series would go on to become a phenomenon in pop culture. But…what if the metaphor was completely taken out of the equation? What if “in a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?” This is the concept of Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3’s new graphic novel Black and their main character Kareem Jenkins is the focus of today’s feature.
Kareem Jenkins was just an average teenager. He was out with two of his friends playing basketball when the police in the area received the following broadcast: “All cars report! Three suspects just robbed a restaurant at gunpoint, headed south down Lee Ave on foot. Black males, 20s, in basketball shorts, and t-shirts.” Needless to say, the police immediately descended upon three boys. When one of the boys attempted to run away in fear the police opened fire, killing all three of the children. Or so it seemed…
Though he should not have been able to, Kareem would awake in the back of an ambulance. Frightened he bailed from the ambulance and was rescued by a man named Juncture. Through Juncture, he would discover the world’s greatest secret- the Black people of their world had the potential to develop superpowers but this information was being suppressed by government forces. Kareem would now find himself in the middle of a war between a shadow government organization, a group of super-powered Black people striving for coexistence and peace, and another group of super-powered Black people working towards creating a revolution no matter how bloody it may become. Change is coming, and unfortunately for Kareem, he is the key to what kind of change will occur.
Brandon Blackmon was born and raised in Clinton, NC. After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology. He attended Pfeiffer University where he received a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is currently a licensed marriage and family therapist. Brandon is a proud blerd (Black nerd) and a firm advocate and believer that representation matters in all forms of media.