There’s nothing like landing an interview from an inspirational and motivational person in the comic world who challenges the norm! #LoisLaneStatus This individual not only hosts comic book conventions for different ethnicities but also includes an artists convention (dance, music, artwork, etc.) along with the comic convention as well! Who is this person? Hark, heroes and villains!! Say hello to Detroit native, known professionally as "Crown", CEO of MECCAcon, living a comic fans dream.
Crown has a love and a passion for comics and art. For several years, she had been tag teaming with others by putting together annual comic book conventions. She’s even had the special honor of being in charge of Black Comic Book Day in Detroit for some time as well. However, it was only a matter of time before she realized she could fly solo and create her own type of Comic Con called MECCAcon.
What’s does MECCA mean, you say? Well sir, in the blue shirt, let’s find out from the CEO Crown herself on what MECCA means, and also how it was inspired to be.
I have been throwing annual comic book conventions with other people for quite a few years now, as well as being in charge of Black Comic Book Day here in Detroit. I decided after realizing that I was putting in so much work for everyone else, it was now time for me to just work on my own. 2014 was our first year. The name MECCAcon stands for Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts. The acronym came from my fellow comrade and close friend, artist Shawn Alleyne of Pyroglyphics Studio. I decided to call it MECCAcon because Detroit is widely referenced to the Arab American community as "D-Mecca", for a multitude of reasons. I wanted attending the convention to somewhat be a "pilgrimage to Mecca". Also, it's a loose play on mechas, being that we focus on comics and science fiction as well.
Going into more detail, Crown reveals why MECCAcon is so important to her and to the African American people in Detroit.
“MECCAcon holds a lot of relevance in my life for various reasons. I wanted to make sure that I continuously contribute to the art community of Detroit, and really, the city as a WHOLE. Detroit gets completely slaughtered in the media every chance they can get, and [even] on a global basis. We are the blackest city in the United States, and that affects agendas. I want to show everyone that our art community thrives VERY hard. Comic books are a medium that can reach the masses, as well as encourage literacy to the youth. As much tragedy that is going on in society children need to remember to also utilize their imagination. I also believe in all things INDEPENDENT art, so I love that we not only focus on Indie comics, but we also will highlight independent film as well with our INDIE FILM FESTIVAL with award winning filmmaker, Ka'ramuu Kush.”
MECCA'S Mission states: "The primary reason M.E.C.C.A was established was to instill knowledge primarily in the younger art culture. It is my mission to make sure that children know that all "heroes" do not look the same, that many actually look just like THEM." This prompted the question of how had Crown seen MECCA change/impact the perspectives of black children on how society views "heroes".
Last year was my first year on my own doing this, so I was nervous about this very thing. I knew how much of an impact I've made with children with other culturally centered conventions and art instillation while working with other people, but I was scared I wouldn't have that effect by myself. I was very wrong. Children came up to me and hugged me, telling me how much fun they had, as well as showing off the books they picked out to take home with them. We didn't have a gigantic turn out last year, but you would have never known that looking at the children's faces. They had a ball. I've had many parents tell me that their youth wanted to start drawing, writing, etc, after leaving the convention. It means the world to know that I contributed to their future like that. That is truly why I do this.
Crown doesn't foresee MECCAcon expanding to different cities in America but not to worry! There are other ethnic comic conventions throughout the U.S.!
I cannot speak on the future as far as expansion. I'm primarily focused right now on the elevation of my city of Detroit. Black and independent comic cons are all across our nation. John Jennings even throws two on the same exact weekend in two different coasts. (laughs) There is also East Coast Black Age in Philadelphia, OnyxCon in Atlanta, Black Comic Book Festival and Urban Action Showcase, both in New York, Black Comics and Arts Festival in California, and a very large one in Lagos, Nigeria. The very first was in Chicago, where Black Age was originated, by Turtel Onli. I think everyone has things covered (laughs)
And sidenote, check out this flyer for AfriCoz at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention on May 16, 2015! Get ready to pull out your cosplay in Philly!
What's next for MECCAcon goal wise?
I named my convention MECCAcon because in the years to come, I want every artist to feel like they HAVE to do MECCAcon. I want it to be prolific. That's the one and only goal Im focused on right now, other than gaining more sponsors. (laughs) I'm ready for women to be so included in conventions, it becomes the d--n NORM. That's about it.
Not all heroes look the same or even wear costumes, as we all know and Crown keeps that in mind when she reveals what she wants people to say after attending MECCAcon:
"When I went to MECCAcon, I learned that I myself am a hero, too and didn't even need a cape."
A great example of someone realizing that wearing a cape is completely optional, meet Natalie McGriff. She's 7 years old and was awarded last month for her comic The Adventures of Moxie Girl, a story about an Afro Puff Superhero. Look for more of her work in the future! Check out what Ms. Natalie is up to next HERE.
To see more of what MECCA has to offer or sign up for the upcoming convention on September 19, visit the website HERE and be inspired to write or artistically create your own story!
Additional Info about the upcoming MECCAcon Convention:
Date: September 19, 2015
Location: Detroit Public Library 5201 Woodward, Detroit, MI
Admission: $6 (click HERE for more ticket info)
Any special guests in attendance? Why of course!
Guests include: 133art, Women in Comics NYC Collective International, Khary Randolph, Pyroglyphics Studio, N Steven Harris, Rosarium Publishing, Micheline Hess, Peep Game Comix, filmmaker Ka'ramuu Kush, Artist Jason Phillips, Anthony Piper/ TrillLeague, David Walker, Alitha E. Martinez, The Nerds Of Color, Black Tribble Nation, Black Nerd Problems, Delia Gable, Sheena Howard, and more.
News and Updates from Crown! Come on, peeps!