I want to thank Thieves Can’t for providing this space to allow Black creators to speak and share our creations. There is tremendous value for non-Black creators to actually see the works of Black creators and artists for these fundamental reasons:
Those of us who belong to the Black community navigate through life with a set of experiences unique to our circumstance, perspective, upbringing, and response and reactions from the society as a whole. Though many of those experience will seem foreign, perhaps even unrelatable to non-Blacks, what lies beneath our experiences are the same fears, motivations, aspirations, anxieties as anyone else. Although our cultural language is unique to who we are, we still have a need to be loved, to love, to feel safe, to have the space to pursue our dreams. That is shared among all human beings. This is what connects all of us to one another.
What also speaks to these common wants and needs among all of us is the fact that there are many Black creators who create stories that are driven by these universal aspects of the human experience. The stories I create often fall into this category.
A Ninth World Journal
I am the creator and producer of A Ninth World Journal, an audio drama set one billion years in the future. It is based on a man who was experimenting with creating a teleportation device but ended up with a condition that causes him to randomly teleport to various places with no control over it. The situations he often finds himself in are challenging and often dangerous, trying to navigate in a strange and unknown place every time he jaunts.
The stories, the world, and the settings are based on the tabletop roleplaying game Numenera created by Monte Cook Games. The creators of the game deliberately made their far flung futuristic world (known as the Ninth World) where race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other aspects of people that contribute to marginalization in the 21st century are completely normalized as non-factors toward how people are regarded. So while I have made the main character Black (described as dark-skinned in the series) his race has had no impact on his experiences, other than as a base of description to identify him. This honors the concept that Monte Cook Games baked into Numenera of survival being the paramount source of conflict a billion years from now, and not race. This is to reflect their optimism of a future where race or other aspects of identity do not factor into how people are considered and treated.
Listen, Rinse, Repeat
I am also one of the producers of the podcast Listen, Rinse, Repeat. This podcast is comprised of episodes 20 seconds or so in length to provide enough time to listen to while washing one’s hands. It was created as a public service and health habit promoting project in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then we have released over 250 episodes that include a variety of types and genres including non-fiction, PSAs, poetry, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi… the list goes on. We are actively looking to include stories from the perspectives of the Black community as well as the LGBTQ+ and other members of the BIPOC communities and any marginalized peoples to broaden the content within the minisodes we share.