In 2020, two storytellers attempt to produce a comic con and film festival when all hell breaks loose.
In 2019, Chad Eric Smith and William Mason Jones Jr. joined forces to produce Griot Con. This in-person family-friendly event was intended to fuse the excitement and spectacle of a comic convention with the cinematic experience of an independent film festival. Sadly, the conference, scheduled for September 25, 2020, at the Silver Spring Civic Building, had to be canceled due to the unexpected and historic global outbreak of a novel coronavirus. An attempt to move the event to 2021 proved difficult due to the constant uncertainty and inconsistency surrounding CDC COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. Turning lemons into lemonade, Smith and Jones decided to produce instead a documentary about the festival they couldn't have and why, resulting in a time capsule reflecting the zeitgeist of one of the most challenging times in recent history from their eyes.
William Jones, the founder of Afrofuturism Network (AFN), is a historian, “comic book geek”, writer, and educator. He is a sought-after public speaker on the subjects of the history of black people in America, the image of black people in various forms of media, pop culture and hip-hop music, to name just a few. He has spoken on various college campuses and at conferences both nationally and abroad.
AFN seeks to support the ever-growing community of black writers, artists, and thinkers in the realms of sci-fi, fantasy, comic books and film. Here, we analyze the contributions and portrayal of black characters in these mediums. AFN will examine the role and place of black people in the past present and future and serve as a hub for black creativity and thought.