By Hannibal Tabu
Many might not expect a conglomeration of comics talents a mile north east of San Diego Comic-Con, but the second annual Afrofuturism Lounge proved that wrong.
With free admission to the exhibit hall for pre-registrants; music and live broadcasting from Key 56 Internet Radio; and panels including “Cultural Appropriation and Intellectual Property” and “Afrofuturism in Architecture,” this event offered a valuable alternative to the madness near the Gaslamp District.
“We figured there’s a lot of people that would like to go [to SDCC] but can’t break through,” said Keithan Jones, co-organizer of the event. “Some people said they’ve been waiting for six years to get in. Having it be free solves that problem.”
Much like the Black Heroes Flash Mob that preceded the opening night, Jones said the Afrofuturism lounge is, “a focus event, whereas SDCC is a smorgasbord. It’s based around African descendants and African influenced art. We make it easy to locate these Black creators.”
Jones said that event founder LaWana Richmond brought him on due to the success of his annual February event Black Comix Day in Balboa Park and his inroads to the indie comics community. “The challenge that we face,” he said, “is giving people to give us their time. We solve that by having our event in the evening after Comic-Con’s [exhibit floor is] closed.”
On Friday night, people joked and literally danced in the aisle of the exhibit area and a cosplay contest garnered cheers and applause.
Jones explained, “It’s festive in the respect there’s music, there’s drink, there’s food, there’s a cosplay competition. There’ll always be an after-party/art show vibe to it. We wanted to put a bit of flavor to it.”
Jones hopes to draw bigger names to the event in the future to further legitimize the Afrofuturism Lounge as a bonus for fans during the wild weekend.