Kwanza Osajyefo

ComicsVerse’s Rachel Davis sat down with Kwanza Osajyefo, co-founder of BLACK, at the Sixth Annual Black Comic Book Festival!

The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

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ComicsVerse: Welcome to the Sixth Annual Black Comic Book Festival! I am with Kwanza Osajyefo, co-founder of BLACK, and you are watching ComicsVerse. How are you enjoying the Con so far, Kwanza?

Kwanza Osajyefo: It’s been fantastic. This is my second time as a vendor at the con. My third time was just as an attendee/person-who-loves-this event, and it’s always great to come out to Harlem and, like you know, soak in the energy and all of the great art and things that are here!

ComicsVerse: This is the sixth year for a festival dedicated to black comic creators and characters. Do you still think this is important? What does this bring to the comics community, a festival like this?

Kwanza Osajyefo: I think it’s absolutely important. I mean, the real truth of it is that for a long time and when you think about what you just said, this is only the sixth one. That means that there were like, what, a hundred other years where there weren’t festivals like this? So, I think it’s really, really important to, like, have events like this, where you can, like, highlight and amplify all this great art and all this awesome culture.

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ComicsVerse: One of the big highlights this year is, of course, BLACK PANTHER with the movie coming out next month. Do you think that now that we have Marvel’s bringing out the first black hero film coming out from Marvel’s Studios no less, do you think there will be any effects within the comics industry for other black characters to get their own movies or cross into other media? Do you think there will be other good effects on the smaller comics community?

Kwanza Osajyefo: Well, yes, definitely. I mean BLACK’s been an option for a film with Studio 8. I’m definitely looking at the already success of BLACK PANTHER. I’m hoping that when that cast is done, they can be in my film.

ComicsVerse: Yes! Oh my gosh, yes! Let’s get the same cast.

Kwanza Osajyefo: Yeah!

ComicsVerse: Yes, so can we talk about BLACK AF of America’s Sweetheart? That book has just come out can you tell us a bit about it and what that brings to the larger BLACK universe?

Kwanza Osajyefo: Absolutely, so actually America’s Sweetheart comes out on January 31st. I wish it were out right now. I would have brought copies here.

ComicsVerse: Me too.

Kwanza Osajyefo: But the premise of it is, a young woman after the events of at the end of BLACK decides to become a superhero, a patriotic superhero and it’s all about the struggle of her altruism and trying to be like this icon and this hero for people to feel good about black people with superpowers. And how the world can sometimes be kind of cruel and unaccepting, so it’s something that I really wanted to do, like even way before BLACK kind of blew up.

Kwanza Osajyefo: I wanted to tell a story like that because I wanted to write something for young girls to enjoy and expand the BLACK universe a little bit more. So BLACK AF is just going to be that expansion, so it’s going to be a lot of character-focused stuff, a lot of people that you saw in the original BLACK, but like story focuses on them.

ComicsVerse: Can’t wait to read that and what can we expect next from BLACK? Any spoilers you can give away?

Kwanza Osajyefo: I can say that if you have the Kickstarter edition, you have the inside track on what the next big tentpole book is, so BLACK was originally, aside from BLACK AF planned as a trilogy. So if you have that one there’s a little secret in there on that last page, nobodies figured it out yet, but when you do I’ll know.

ComicsVerse: Get on it! I want to know what the secret is! Get the Kickstarter edition to find out. And can you tell us about any future projects? Possibly coming in the line for you or your creative team?

Kwanza Osajyefo: Yeah, I mean we have just been like working on BLACK for the most part, doing the AF series has been something that I think people have asked for immediately ’cause BLACK had so many characters in it that people really wanted to see who all these people are. So that’s really what we’ve been focusing on right now. I’m writing the next book after America’s Sweetheart right now.

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ComicsVerse: Anything about that you can divulge?

Kwanza Osajyefo: It has to do with ninjas and human trafficking.

ComicsVerse: Oh.

Kwanza Osajyefo: Yeah, so it’s a very interesting story, that much like a lot of stuff that we do in BLACK is like suppose to be a parallel to the black experience. So I thought it was an interesting topic to explore, but still, do the superhero angle and tell a ninja story which something that me and my co-creator, Tim, have always wanted to do. So we’re going to sneak in a little political realness with some ninjas on you guys.

ComicsVerse: If that isn’t enough to get you into reading BLACK at this point, there’s something wrong with you. Read BLACK as soon as possible. Thank you so much, Kwanza for your time.

Kwanza Osajyefo: Thank you.

For more BLACK and Kwanza Osajyefo, subscribe to or follow Kwanza on Twitter!

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