Regarding Nina Simone’s Bad Reputation

•October 4, 2019 • 3 Comments
mom black renaissance
 
How it pained me to see my mother
In all her grace and glory
Baited to make her angry
So she could fit into expectation
 
As long and lithe as Josephine Baker
As tall and muscular as Grace Jones
How you would fetish her anger
A proud black goddess magnificent
 
Black and magnificent was her nickname
Her bearing and conduct intimidatingly same
With a long black cape and a lovely choker
More gothic than any novel by Bram Stoker
Statuesque and dark skinned like Roxie Roker
She fought to stay whole and so no
Body broke her…
 
But her fight to stay whole had a price to it
A people saying she was not nice to it
Like Nina Simone, she stood moody, alone
Her mood having no artifice or device to it
 
My mother bemoaned her choice
A white man married two kids and divorce
My white father stealing her black voice
Black and magnificent was her nickname
She who called herself Krishna
Was one and the same
 
How hard it is to walk this land
A paler ghost of she…
Who holds her invisible hand
And tries to make her way through,
Win or lose…
And finds herself shod in Mama’s shoes
 
How thick and wide and fat I am, me
Cast inside your roles of Mammy
Escape we’d love to but, now can we?
I am too old and fat to run away
From the roles in which you have me enslaved
My mom was Krishna, I am Ska
But to your ass I look like Ma
 
A caricature in an Octavia Spencer movie
A nutcase like Stephen King’s Mr Toomey
I thought I was a horror writer
But it seems
I will only ever be
A sassy black woman meme
 
Your racism sewed up tight
Tattered at the seams
It holds up your privilege white
Makes black folks wrong
And you always right
 
Nina Simone is dead
but her bad reputation lives on
Bad for being a domestic violence victim
Who held her head up too long
Looked too strong
And showed too much personal
Pain
In her song
A woman done wrong
But like my Mama
She was Black
So you never see pain
Just drama

San Francisco’s War on the Black Community

•September 19, 2019 • 2 Comments

Writing While Black logo37% of the Homeless people in San Francisco are Black. Less than 6% of San Francisco residents are Black. Black people are 7.7 times as likely to be arrested as white people in San Francisco. Saneism, ableism, and allegations of criminal behavior drug use are often used to veil racism where it is present in the removal of African Americans from power, position, and spaces which are White dominated.

San Francisco is getting to be more and more racist and unsafe for Black people. Black people are forced to self-segregate, move to the East Bay and remove ourselves from White Dominated spaces where we are attacked. Black people are being forced to self-segregate to POC only and Black/Mahogany groups and subsets, or move into Black friendly in the East Bay.

Microagressions like parking your body in front of Black people, yawning at them, and other types of bullying are used to remove Black people from white dominated spaces.

N***er-Baiting is the practice of instigating arguments and fights with Black people so that you can prompt an emotional response from them and then accuse them of being Angry, Emotional, Temperamental, Violent or Insane so you can undermine their credibility.

Character assassination campaigns are used to remove Black people from power and from places of authority.

A Year of Loss and Rebuilding

•September 18, 2019 • 4 Comments
BlackPantherMoviePartyThis is my niece Elisabetta Saulson, her high school sweetheart Jeveon Washington, my mother Carolyn Saulson and myself at the Black Panther movie in February 2018.
 
Little did we know at the time, a year later, Mom and Jeveon would both be gone.
 
My mother died January 2019 after a nine and a half year battle with Multiple Myeloma Cancer. My niece’s high school sweetheart Jeveon Washington was murdered at gunpoint in February 2019, a year after his nineteenth birthday. It was about eight months after they broke in June 2019.
 
This will be our first Halloween, our first Thanksgiving, and our first Christmas without my mother and Jeveon. Sometimes it’s hard to really process how cruel people can be and how callous. The cruelty of those who removed Jeveon from the world. The cruelty of doctors and staff when Mom was dying. The cruelty of friends who made every tiny thing imaginable more important than my mom’s life, her dying, my pain, or me and my family’s needs in the wake of two unimaginable tragedies and the loss of Jeveon’s young life.
 
Monday night, I told a friend I was alright, just going through some growing pains. The past year has come with a lot of painful lessons about the invisibility of Black pain. for as my mother’s life came to an end, I found I was increasingly expected to don the clothing of the Strong Black Woman, to silently suffer through her final days with no complaint, as my pain was troublesome and a bother to my friends. I, a burden for suffering. I, problematic if I was triggered or troubled by overt and covert signs of racism in the wake of my mother’s suffering at the hands of callous doctors, or my niece’s first love dying of gun violence.
 
The wounds run deep. #BlackLivesMatter isn’t a cause I support as an ally. Your derogatory comments when you call me a social justices warrior, or you make jokes about me being triggered by racist imagery, or ask me why it didn’t bother me so much before Jeveon and Mom died, hurt. I feel like I am not even a real person to you anymore.
 
When someone racist tells me he doesn’t believe I am black because I am biracial, I am supposed to suck it up. At every turn, I am supposed to swallow my pain. I am supposed to take the higher ground as others bully me while my mother lay dying, to coddle and shield thin-skinned other who are going through nothing much as my niece only 19 now grieves the loss of a young black many who died at only 19.
 
I am so glad that I work at San Francisco Bay View Newspaper now and my column #WritingWhileBlack.I wrote two columns so far, here’s my first column. I am so glad that I have the Black Horror Writing and Sci-Fi community, the Afrofuturist Community, the Afrosurrealist community, writer friends like Valjeanne Jeffers, Crystal Connor, Linda D Addison, Nicole Kurtz, Nisi Shawl and community friends like Wanda Kurtcu and Rudi Mwongozi and Hugh E MC and L.M. Kate JohnsTon who validate and know the struggle to be real. Projects like 100+ Black Women in Horror, Scierogenous 2, Black Magic Women, and Black Celebration to keep me sane.
 
How hard it is for me to bear the weight of this Strong Black Woman mantle you have thrown upon my shoulders in the wake of and in the days since my mother’s death. How hard it is for me to comfort others and tend to their wounds and emotions, making the smallest slight or wounding word or slightest change in the timber of my voice that shows the wound that rests deep in my soul since my mother left this world show.
 
My tears look like anger to you.
 
When I am hurt, you are afraid of me and hurt me even more. I look like a monster to you. Just like my mother did. And I thought you were my friends. And it hurts badly.
 
But I can’t help the way you see black women, how our softest words sound loud to you, how you think we are angry when we are hurt, and how even when you know we are going through something terrible you only think of yourselves and how we owe you deference and servitude.
 
All that hurts, but I am gonna #StayBlack and honor my mother in every way I can.

Black Celebration Collection this Halloween!

•September 15, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I am very excited to be working on a collection of essays, articles and interviews by and with African American authors on the subject of Black representation in horror. The book includes work by Paula D. Ashe, Valjeanne Jeffers, Crystal Connor, Linda D. Addison, James Goodridge, Balogun Ojetade, Nicole Kurtz and myself.  The book will be released on October 31. I am setting up the pre-release for it as we speak.

A collection of articles, essays and interviews with and by African American horror writers on black representation in horror, horror diversity, reviews of African American horror films, horror novels, weird fiction, dark fantasy and more.

“This essential collection captures thought-provoking essays (ex. Southern Gothic Horror, Magical Realism & Horror in Toni Morrison Novels, The Inimitable Tony Todd, Black Horror Films of the 30’s and 40’s, etc.), fascinating reviews, and insightful interviews written by horror authors from African Diaspora. You could search for each piece or buy this exceptional book and have all the remarkable work at your fingertips.”

–Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of “How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend” and HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Available on Smashwords for Pre-Release

Available on Amazon for Pre-Release

Black Celebration front

Here is a list of the essays and interviews in the book as it currently stands:

  • The State Of Speculative Fiction: Why Race Matters
  • Genesis – The First Black Horror Writers/Storytellers
  • An Interview With L.C. Cruell
  • Black Horror Films Of The 30s And 40s
  • The Inimitable Tony Todd
  • Black Creators In Horror Comics
  • My Life My Horror: On The Dearth Of Black Characters In Horror Movies
  • Living Among Legends
  • Black Occultist Rollo Ahmed
  • Movie Review: Pooka (2018)
  • Haunted Hickory Hill
  • Gagool To Akasha: Black Characters In Horror Fiction
  • A Forgotten Catalysis: Son Of Ingagi
  • Movie Review: Sorry To Bother You (2018)
  • Review Of Chesya Burke’s Strange Crimes In Little Africa
  • Black Herman
  • Sycorax’s Daughters Stoker Nominated
  • Sycorax’s Daughters Gives Black Women In Horror A Voice
  • Fierce. Fearless. Female.
  • The Sounds Of Horror In Black American Music
  • Movie Review: Voodoo Black Exorcist
  • Why Television Needs Damali Richards, L.A. Bank’s Bad Ass Black Vampire Slayer
  • Horror Blackademic Is A Real Thing
  • Black Magic Women Highlights Horror By Black Women
  • Oh, Susannah: How The Dark Tower’s Explores Black Woman Stereotypes
  • How Wesley Snipes And Blade Saved The Marvel Movie Franchise
  • Interview With Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks, Horror Scholar
  • Maman Dragonne
  • African American Folklore, Magical Realism And Horror In Toni Morrison Novels
  • Review Of Dawn By Alex Fernandez
  • Interview With Dawn Filmmaker Alex Fernandez
  • Sugar Hill: A Blaxploitation Gem
  • Linda D. Addison Wins HWA Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Interview With Linda D. Addison
  • Sister My Sister: An Open Love Letter To Abby And Jenny Mills From Sleepy Hollow
  • Warmth: An Unforgettable Journey
  • Review Of Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror By Eden Royce
  • Southern Women’s Influence On The Weird

Regarding my resignation from the Kinky Writing Group

•September 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Writing While Black logo

I’m still processing the whole writer’s group resignation (on my part). I started the group as an author to help aspiring writers, but somewhere along the way, two of the members who have little writing experience and never were published prior to Scry of Lust decided without my permission or consent to change the form of my group from a moderator-led group lead by an experienced instructor, to some sort of flat-file egalitarian group with no leadership or anarchist collective belonging to “everyone” and to use this structure invalidate my personal extensive experience and professional resume,

Then, they proceeded to tone-police me using both gendered and racially oppressive tone policing statements, referring to my issuing of any orders as “dictatorship” and screaming. Other people who witnessed the rehearsal and the performance viewed these characterizations as either completely fabricated or grossly exaggerated. They clearly suggested Angry Black Woman stereotyping and were very sexist and racist characterizations.

I feel very hurt, and since they have decided they want a peer-run writing group I have elected to turn it over to them to run as a peer-lead group, rather than to go along with the fiction that it started as a peer group, and the fiction that I am their peer. I am far more experienced and am not their peer. I do not feel like dealing with the series of personal attacks they have come at me with in order to bring an end to my leadership. So I have opted out entirely. Saneism, sexism, and racism aren’t cool.

I wish them the best of luck in their new peer-lead structure, but it is dishonest and disingenuous to pretend that I am not the founder of aforementioned group. It is dishonest to pretend that I don’t have a great deal more experience in writing, publishing, editing, proofreading, and teaching / workshop creation than the people who have repeatedly challenged me do.

Part of the reason I resigned was to get away from how personal they were getting, as both of them used my arguments with Darcy to impugn my character when the arguments were regular relationship issues and not a big deal and they didn’t need to involve themselves. My relationship with Darcy is way more important than that group and I refuse to put it at risk because a dude is so petty that he wants to attack my love life in order to try to get me out of my role of leadership.

AKA this dude kept complaining that I was “yelling” at Darcy when in reality we were snipping at each other aka arguing and it was very two sided (unlike this other person’s one-sided view of it). Another person complained because I asked Darcy to leave right after the event because we were having a personal argument over something Darcy did during the show. Neither of them should have been using my arguing with my girlfriend to try to undermine me professionally. That’s sexist. Also I have every right to leave the venue personally, and every right to ask my girlfriend to discuss something with me privately outside the venue.

Anyway I have better and more important things to do with my life than to try to teach people who pretend they already know everything, to give then rides, to organize anything for them, or to babysit them while they pretend I am not actually doing anything and act like the agendas, rules, writing exercises, anthology and everything else I was the primary organizer and producer (and often creator) of  magically appeared from nowhere.

Plague Master Series – Trevor’s Got Trouble At Home

•September 3, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Plague Master Series – Trevor’s Got Trouble At Home

By H.E. Roulo

HE Roulo 2If it wasn’t bad enough that Trevor, the teenage hero of the Plague Master series, is fighting zombies, arguing with a Plague Master, and trying to discover a way to permanently cure the infected, he must also deal with the terrible conditions on his homeworld, Shailon.

Shailon is a backwater in the 5-planet system recently colonized by ships from Earth. Families on the first ship to arrive declared themselves the winners, gave themselves the titles of Founder, and have been lording it over everyone else ever since. Their estates are large, and the general population is forced into cramped towns. Unfortunately, when there is an outbreak of the Regulon Disease, which turns people into mindless undead, the Founders respond by herding the infected into the lower districts and hiring off-world mercenaries to keep them there.

Trevor never had much, and once the zombies arrive he wants to find a way to fight back. He becomes a bait-boy for the mercenaries, and runs through houses to draw out any zombies inside. Eventually, he’s forced to leave Shailon for the Sanctuary Dome where infected are sent until they change. What he discovers, is that despite the dome being filled with rejects from other planets, it is still a better place to be than his homeworld. Not so much once the dome breaks, and zombies i

HE Roulo Cover2

nvade, but he is able to bring the formula for a cure back to his homeworld.

In the second book, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, Trevor is a hero for returning home with an inoculation against the change into a zombie. However, the Founders don’t administer the vaccine equally, and Trevor quickly realizes that conditions aren’t improving. As a hero, he is a threat to the Founders power and revolution is on the horizon.

A new zombie outbreak, the intervention of a Plague Master, and the realization that the long-sought cure is starting to fail all makes Trevor’s life harder than ever. Find out more in Plague Master: Rebel Infection.

Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome is the first book of the Plague Master series. Next up in the planned trilogy is Plague Master: Rebel Infection, releasing September 2019.

 

PRAISE FOR
PLAGUE MASTER: SANCTUARY DOME

 

“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”

-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.

 

Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”

-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask

 

Read more excerpts and see behind the scenes of the PLAGUE MASTER trilogy.

Twitter: @hroulo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heroulo

Blog: www.heatherroulo.com

Author Central: www.amazon.com/author/heatherroulo

Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome (Book 1): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CKAPXWW

Plague Master: Rebel Infection (Book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WTQV6M7

 

San Francisco has an anti-Blackness problem

•August 30, 2019 • 1 Comment

writingwhileblackbackground
San Francisco’s Black population reduced by more than 50% to 6.1% from 12.7% between 1980 and 2010. In 2016 the Black population was only 5.7  Comparatively, 13.4% of the National United States population is Black.

37% of San Francisco’s homeless population are Black.  My family and I were homeless in San Francisco in late 2005 and early 2006, before we like so many Black families moved out of the City. We moved up to Vallejo, where my brother Scott still lives. My mom moved to Berkeley in 2013 where she lived out the remainder of her life. I have lived in Oakland since 2010. My brother’s older daughter moved back to San Francisco in 2011.

Black people are 7.75 as likely to be arrested in San Francisco as white people. Black women, 5.8% of San Francisco’s female population, represent 45% of the women arrested in that City.

San Francisco’s Police Department has been under investigation for racial profiling repeatedly and is currently the subject of an ACLU suit filed in October 2018 about the racial profiling. (Case No. 3:18-cv-06097)

But most San Franciscans deny the blatant anti-Blackness in that City. A condition that has progressively worsened with the rise of tech concerns.