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(H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1–4
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(H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1–4

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  35 reviews
This unflinching visual and literary tour-de-force tackles the most pressing issues of the day—including racism, patriarchy, gentrification, police violence, and the housing crisis—with humor and biting satire. When gentrification strikes the neighborhood surrounding Ronald Reagan University, Naima Pepper recruits a group of disgruntled undergrads of color to launch the ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published September 1st 2017 by PM Press
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Average rating 3.17  · 
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 ·  103 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Start your review of (H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1–4
I really loved this.

"(H)afrocentric is the best of Boondocks, without crusty misogynoir. It's the best of Chappelle, without uncritical transphobia. It's the best of A Different World and Atlanta without commercial breaks every eight minutes selling you colorful sugar and fried meats" - Kiese Laymon

No better words could ever describe this comic that is funny as hell, sharp, and unapologetic af.

For the rest of this review and to see an interview with author, Juliana Jewels Smith, CLICK HERE.
Stewart Tame
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that resists easy summary. The cast is a group of students, all attending Ronald Reagan University in Oakland, CA. The strongest personality is Naima, a budding revolutionary who wants to change the world. She’s aided by her brother, Miles, who’s more passionate about his drumming, but always willing to pitch in. Also willing to pitch in are her friends, Renee and Milo. Among other storylines, the gang throws a block party to resist gentrification, and Naima gets an ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this mostly. It has a good beginning, the middle kinda made me lose interest, but the ending made up for it. I want to read more in this series, but I would like to see them explore LGBT issues more than just mentioning it in passing. My only drawback is what another reviewer pointed out in that the comic was a little "hotep" for her, and I tend to agree somewhat.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish more of the book had the "Racial Translators" storyline rather than the block party storyline. There is no explanation of how the main character gets all of the up-front capital to fund the block party. She just drops $1000 on a web designer like it's nothing. And the block party is raising money for something that is so outdated--an online forum? This is supposed to stop gentrification? The artwork is great and the Racial Translators narrative (the little we get of it) was awesome. But ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A well drawn comic but a bit too Hotep for my tastes. I do not think I am the intended audience, however. This is really a millennium comic/graphic novel. It feels as though it takes up where Boondocks left off, except with less easy options and a narrower variety of ages. These are college students musing about how to shape their world. There is very little intergenerational interaction.

For me, it was meh, but I bet a younger person would love it.
A graphic novel featuring characters in college is more "new adult" / adult than young adult but forward-thinking or social justice warrior teens will connect with the characters, specifically Naima who is fighting gentrification in the local area near the university that she attends.

Amazingly deep character-building with a thoughtful and engaging premise that is a conversation starter and useful contemporary text.
there were QR codes :/ I don't scan QR codes
DNF @ 30 percent.

Really interesting premise, but a lot to take in. Eventually I lost steam and couldn’t get back in. Maybe I’ll come back in later but I doubt it.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received this book as an ARC from an Independent Publisher Giveaway. I was very excited for this book, because I hoped it would be a critical and biting satire of whiteness, of gentrification, etc. What I received instead was a book that clearly tried at satire, but hardly succeeded. That isn't to say this book is bad, because there are some things it does very well, such as keep a pulse on Black culture and integrate it well into the text. But there is minimal critique of Naima's own ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm really glad this exists, but it's also not _for_ me. It explores themes and ideas that need to be seen more in comics, but the plots and pacing are haphazard at best.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Adults and teens.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
The first half of this volume deals with the protagonist activist Naima's attempts to combat gentrification by starting a web site dedicated to disseminating information on how to fight it. In order to fund the web site (i.e. pay the web designer) she decides to hold a fund-raiser in the form of a block party. The twists and turns of organizing the event, and the denouement of the event itself, are what the first half of the book is about. The second half is about Naima's experiences as an ...more
Natalie Cannon
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
When I picked up (H)afrocentric off the library shelf, I did not know I was picking up a bomb beyond language. Juliana "Jewels" Smith's writing, Ronald Nelson's art, and Mike Hampton's colors don't hold back, and together they're quite the knockout.

The plot is pretty simple, with typical comics silliness popping up as needed. Naima, her best friend Renee, her brother Miles, and his best friend El are some of the very few students of color at Ronald Regan University in Oakland, CA. A
Emily Murray

I was a bit confused by this graphic novel... I think the topics and issues it covers are incredibly important and I think a graphic novel is a really unique and effective way to tell the story, but it just didn't quite work in this case.

I often felt like I was missing parts, (and perhaps that was because throughout the story there were occasionally instances that asked us to scan a QR code or go to a website "for more about x" but I didn't do that...) but it felt very rushed and jumpy and
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Change is afoot in Oakland, and a group of students at Ronald Reagan University are out to defend their community from gentrification – and Naima begins to find her voice as a leader of a campaign to build links between communities threatened by change and disruption. It doesn’t sound like much of a story –but Juliana Smith’s (H)afrocentric is packed full of sly commentary on contemporary racial politics and culture. While the first three volumes focus on the gentrification story, there are ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Ok, first off, as a middle aged, white woman, from a small community, I am not likely the target audience for this comic, however, when reading the description I thought it would be a book I would find interesting. Many of the issues the comic touched on, gentrification, the housing crisis, racism and more, are ones that I believe are important for all of our society to be aware of. I felt like this story missed the mark. Maybe I am just not a comic person, ok I'm not, maybe I am too old, oh to ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A 2.5 rounded up because of the subtler parts of the comic. I was very entertained by the tongue-in-cheek signs/book covers/etc that were in the backgrounds of the comic panels ( Henry Louis Gates Jr: How I Survived a P0lice Encounter and How You Can Too! ). Those were Smith's time to shine, and shine she did. The Racial Translator storyline was intriguing too, but as others have said it was a much smaller portion compared to the obscureness that is the Block party. I wish there was more time ...more
Alyssa Noch
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
There's some really fantastic points and quotes in this, but the organization of the comic seemed a little off with some odd time jumps and skips in conversation on top of many crowded pages in terms of dialogue (it was hard to follow which speech bubbles to read first).
This all made it hard to follow at times, which is a shame. If it flowed better, I probably would have liked it more. I also think it would have helped get the comic's main points across surrounding racism, and more, a lot
Josh Newhouse
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19may
Tough to review... my favorites stories were the first and 4th and the art was expressive and beautiful... clearly I am not the targeted audience but I still felt the message was on point, though sometimes the stories meandered on their way... lots of potential and I’m keeping an eye out for more art from Nelson and stirring by Smith in this series or another...

Closest movie analogue “Sorry to Bother You” especially for that last story...
May 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this grafic novel when I picked it up but was sorely disappointed. Rather than creating a world affected by systematic racism, gentrification, the housing crisis, etc., this gn spent 90% of it's time talking about these issues rather than showing. I feel like this gn is better suited for a high school class room as a way to define important terms and open a discussion about these topics.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. The comic follows a black revolutionary and her friends on her quest to make the world a better place. There is cussing and usage of the N word, so its really not for younger readers. Fans of the boondocks will be delighted to read this funny, honest, and heartfelt comic as it makes you laugh and leaves you feeling hopeful about the world.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Book Challenge Category: A Comic Written or Illustrated by a Person of Color

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I love the concept of using comics to talk about activism and gentrification, but, ultimately, I found the illustrations and text difficult to follow. Really just not my cuppa soup.
This comic wants to cram a lot in - a block party for a website about virtual diaspora & to pay an old woman's rent, a friend obsessed with the concept of Aztlan, dreadlocked white people, and dudes obsessed with conspiracy theories. It was kind of a mess...
Brenna Sydel
Gimme more.

There's just not enough here! But what there is is good. I love the art. I love the lettering. The story is interesting and compelling. This is also not conducive to digital so read it in the physical form !
Tiffany Robinson
Dec 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
I picked his book up based only on the cover. I really thought I was going to like this but i didn’t. I thought it was dull.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this comic! The characters were really engaging and fantastic, and the fourth issue killed me (in the best possible way.) I can't wait to see more from this universe! ...more
DNF around 25%. The text is way too small to read without a magnifying glass - and what little dialogue I could make out didn't exactly have me rushing to find one.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
enjoyed this graphic novel - however I was not as into the drawing style and at times the narrative was hard to read.
Breeanna Pollock
Dec 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
This honestly kind of sucked. The characters made zero sense. They should have had more sense for being in college.
3.5 - a lot of good here but I'm fundamentally not within the target audience, I guess? which is not the book's fault.
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