“This year we scheduled it for March 1 because we want it understood that black history does not end with February; it continues all year long,” convention founder and College Park resident Joseph R. Wheeler III said in a statement. “We will ‘March’ forward, continuing to honor and create new, progressive and sustainable history via edutainment.”
Combining education with entertainment, he said, the event will feature comic books, graphic novels, animation, speculative fiction novels, film, dressing up as favorite characters, video games, visual art exhibitions and more. Its mission, Wheeler said, is “celebrating the impact, contributions and presence of the African Diaspora in realms of the imagination via the popular arts.”
Another calendar check will reveal the main convention has occurred in August since its inception in 2009.
Wheeler said Saturday’s version is distinguished by the subtitle Sankofa, a West African word meaning “go back and fetch it.”
“It means to know your history as you move forth into your future,” he said. “We honor this tradition by celebrating black visual artists, actors, writers and composers who have contributed to the popular arts.”
Deborah Daniels Dawson, a convention volunteer, said Wheeler and his team have created a unique experience.
“When you visit once, you will want to return again and again,” she said.
Her granddaughter, exhibiting artist Jasmine “Jazzy Bear” Dawson, created comic books like the fitness-oriented “Sustah Girl” and an action-adventure series, “Black Assassins.”
The 22-year-old East Point resident credits the convention organizers with kick-starting her career.
“I started volunteering for them in my junior year in high school,” the Tri-Cities High School graduate said. “I had never been surrounded by that many black artists who are professionals at graphic novels, comic books and science fiction.”
Dawson, who said her nickname combines artistic inspiration and strength, is now a graphic arts major at Georgia State University.
If you go:
When: Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.
Where: South Fulton Arts Center, 4645 Butner Road, College Park
Tickets: $5 general admission, $3 age 12 and under.
Information: (404) 612-3087 or www.onyxcon.com