2017 New York Comic Con - Day 2
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Non-DC/Marvel Comics: 15 Black Superheroes You Should Know

For those anxious to see Black Panther, here are a few black superheroes who might not be in a movie anytime soon but you should meet anyway.

When asked to name black superheroes, you'll probably refer to the core four: Luke Cage, Storm, Blade and now Ryan Coogler's reboot of the Black Panther. But the world of superheroes is far more diverse than is reflected by mainstream media. As you may have guessed, a lot of these superheroes are just under the radar and not televised. Black superheroes go back a long way.

As many of the issues plaguing black people are structural and more complex than a simple plot could cater to, visual stories have helped to give out a message and entertain at the same time.

The first black superhero, Lothar, an African would-have-been prince, was actually introduced in 1934. It wasn't said overtly but the implication is that he was a slave to Mandrake. Later, the character was revamped as an equal. In fact, a lot of black comic books included slavery as a contrasting point for progress. Using political discourse to drive the narratives, authors drew and continue to draw from their environments.

For those anxious to see Black Panther, here are a few black superheroes who might not be in a new movie anytime soon but you should meet anyway.

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1. Spawn

Powers/Abilities: Regeneration, shape-shifting, super strength

In Volume 1 of Spawn (1992), Albert Simmons is introduced as the world’s greatest soldier and assassin, escaping deathly battles unscathed and eliminating targets without a trace. He was even called on to protect the president from outside forces and after his success, he proudly joined the U.S. Task Force. As it turns out, Al knew too many government evils and secrets so he was killed—sent to Hell to burn eternally for the assassinations of innocent people. He trades his soul with an evil force in exchange for the freedom to see his wife on Earth again. The demon he makes the deal with disfigures his body so when he returns to Earth, an anti-hero, he fights on the side of humans.

Todd McFarlane, who worked on The Amazing Spider-Man and the original Spawn, is expected to bring Spawn to television again.

2. Bulletproof

Powers/Abilities: Damage resistance, pain suppression

The superhero was born Zandale Randolph, identical twin to Tyrone Randolph. As the point of display for Tyrone's scientific abilities, Zandale was given superpowers. Tyrone was enamored with super dominion so he conducted a project in which he could impart them to someone with his DNA. Zandale was the test subject, but in the process, Tyrone was killed. His brother then adopts the name Bulletproof and takes on a duty to the people after learning to hone his powers. Bulletproof was first seen standing in for Invincible in the comic book after the same name.

3. Marsha Bradley

Powers/Abilities: Harnessing electrostatic energy

When the world was under attack, Marsha Bradley rose to the task, using her ability to manipulate electric currents and emit energy for protection. Her mother, Rapture, was killed when she was just a child and she lived with her father. Shortly after, she loses her father to the fire lords. They then attempted to kill Marsha but Malcolm, the Savage Dragon came to her rescue.

Initially, she thought him to be a villain but Malcolm, her half-brother, confessed this detail to her. Once the two learned that they were allies, they were able to defeat the fire lords and return home. Later, she met Thunder Head, another black superhero. They all battled together to defeat Mr. Glum, a well-known terror to the city.

4. Lothar

Powers/Abilities: Super stamina, super strength, manmade weapon resistant

The hero first appeared alongside Mandrake the Magician in 1934, fitting the description of a manservant and some even went as far as calling him a slave. He wore small shorts, leopard skin and a red fez. Initially, Lothar’s dialog was minimal and if there was any, it was unintelligible. He was brawny and couldn’t speak English well, fitting the Mandingo stereotype. His loyalty was one of subservience as he was the “Prince of Seven Nations” in Africa but he opted, instead, to travel with Mandrake and fight evil (or whatever Mandrake told him was evil). In 1965, Lothar was reinvented by Fred Fredericks and made to be equal.

5. Lady Sentinel

Powers/Abilities: Supreme technological proficiency

Lady Sentinel appears in the comic book, Youngblood. She’s the sister of the tech wiz, Sentinel, and has similar abilities. She crafted her own exoskeleton and, in the comic book, is recognized by Obama’s administration. She joins the campaign trail to contribute to the administration’s appeal and protection.

6. Michonne

Powers/Abilities: Sword fighting, fencing

You may recognize this character from the television show The Walking Dead. The show is actually based on the 2005 comic book. Michonne fenced as a hobby as a child but when the undead return, she revisits the sword to cut the jaws and limbs off of her boyfriend and his friend after they’re infected. To ward off any other zombies, she drags them around in chains. After fleeing to safety and watching a new boyfriend get murdered by a governor, Michonne relocates to a territory where there is no undead.

7. Elijah Jones

Powers/Abilities: Armed combat

In line with Michonne, Elijah Jones is a former slave with remaining anger. He channels that anger to battle the undead that seems to be crawling from all four corners. Elijah is representative of the surreality of immediate immersion after sustained trauma. In many ways, those "undead" are symbols of the demons or memories that remain in the subconscious after the conditions of slavery.

8. Ebon

Powers/Abilities: Super strength, super speed, flight

Valentine Jones is the descendant of Jom, a man who came to live amongst earthlings generations before him. His ancestor came to Earth to look after mankind eons earlier but died around the time that they “learned” war. Valentine felt lost after the death of his mother but Oju, a black man from another planet, tells Valentine that he is the ancestor of Jom and gives him access to his powers that are similar to Superman’s own. Valentine rechristens himself "Ebon" and continues the work of his ancestor. Ebon is considered the first independent black superhero and was the first comic book to be written by an all-black team.

9. Megaton

Powers/Abilities: Recuperative powers, super stamina, superhuman strength

Megaton is the namesake comic book of the Megaton Comics company. The main character, Matthew Scott, was born with myriad irregularities including two hearts and a hyperactive circulatory system, though they never posed any health risks. He toured with circuses and spent most of his childhood performing. But his hearts began to beat out of sync. A scientist proposed to help him and others like him and when he was the only subject to come out of the experiment alive, he became a superhero.

10. Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline

Powers/Abilities: Street fighting skills, thorough knowledge of law

Antonio Valor follows in the footsteps of his father. Presented with opportunities to navigate the political system, he opts instead to protect the world by his own hands. Valor decides against monetary rewards for the sake of the greater good. His powers aren’t supernatural but they are necessary. Brotherman Comics artwork and memorabilia are on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. His character was meant to promote knowledge as a strategy for protection.

11. Icon

Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, unlimited stamina

Icon’s alien ship crash-landed on Earth during American slavery on a cotton plantation. Alien in form, his life pod duplicated the DNA of the closest lifeform, the woman who’d become his Earth mother. He grew to love her and his siblings. Because he was young when he arrived, he was not entirely cognizant of his powers but when he learned that he had them, he used them to lighten the loads of the slaves.

Icon is immortal and has lived through all of the major American events such as the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Harlem Renaissance. He was active in them all. He acquired wealth and grew distant from society, watching his loved ones die off but amid the Harlem Renaissance, he fell in love with Estelle Jackson, another superhero, and had a child. As a superhero, his duty was to protect the rights and safety of blacks.

12. Rapture

Powers/Abilities: Harnessing electrostatic energy

Sharona Jones was a normal woman, kidnapped by Dr. Nirvana, who was trying to create superpowers similar to those possessed by Mighty Man and used the homeless as guinea pigs. All of the test subjects died, but Sharona lived. And the experiment, instead, left Nirvana in critical condition. She became Rapture and her power was generating electricity. She later joined the police force.

13. Spirit

Powers/Abilities: Flight, martial arts, astral projection

Hey Everyone! I want to say from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for supporting my comic book. I recently introduce my comic book character “Spirit” the first female Haitian superhero. I am blessed to have made it this far. To everyone who has been asking how to purchase a book. Please click on the link in my bio. Much Love thanks #RedBand #SpiritBoy #Haiti #Haitian #spiritsdestinycomics #comics #comicbooks #animation #blacksuperhero #comic #comicbooks #comicarts #comicpanel #sequentialart #spiritsdestiny #spiritsdestinycomics #superhero #superheroes #superherione #superheroine #blacksuperhero #blacksuperheroes #comicfan #comicbookfan #haitiansuperhero #indiecomics #toonboom #cartoons #2danimation #haitian #haitiansuperhero #haitiansuperheroine #ShortFuseRedBand

A post shared by Dorphise Jean (@spiritsdestinycomics) on

Destiny Mitsu Jean is just another troubled teen to the rest of the world. She's distant and can be lethargic but it's all a response to childhood abuse. She withholds the information from her mother and grandmother for a long time but she tells them, eventually. She's close to her grandmother, the matriarch, but her relationship with her mother is cleaved. Still, Destiny's mother, a Navy SEAL, nearly beat them to death, and her grandmother cast a spell on them. On an unsupervised and forbidden trip to her mother's lab, Destiny has an accident and chemicals leave her altered irreversibly. Grateful for having lived and now able to communicate with the spirit realm, she uses that connection to rid her community of injustice.

14. June X11

Powers/Abilities: Teleportation, telepathy, super strength, invisibility

June doesn’t have any true origin story. All people know is that he’s from Nigeria. His only mission is to bring peace wherever there is turmoil. Not exactly defined as a superhero, he’s on a continued quest for equality and brings about justice when he finds that it's disrupted. The hero's theme of unity is very likely borrowed from the June 12 election of President MKO Abiola in Nigeria. For the first time in a decade, the people voted together, no matter their region and no matter their tribe, to protest the lengthy military coup. June XII is a reminder that the country is a democracy. For that reason, the hero is, himself, a physical manifestation of Justice.

15. Wise Son

Powers/Abilities: Super intelligence, injury resistance

As a member of the Blood Syndicate of Dakota City, Wise Son planned to meet with fellow gang members and opposition for a final war called the “Big Bang,” but police came to stop the battle before it could begin. Gangs were sprayed with a tear gas made with Quantum Juice, killing many and giving powers to the surviving few. Wise Son went down almost immediately but when he woke up, he saw and heard the cops so he ran. Eventually, he bumped into those cops and thought that was it. But their van blew up and he found himself underneath it, unharmed. He then realized that he was indestructible and decided to count his blessings and protect the city. Eventually, he partners with Icon.

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Issa Vibe: The Best Songs To Fit Your Different 4/20 Sessions

April 20th isn’t a national holiday, but it might as well be.

Although recreational marijuana use is only legal in 10 states, the U.S. is home to approximately 35 million regular users of cannabis, according to a survey done by Yahoo News and Marist University. That's 10.6 percent of the American population and while that may seem minuscule, the numbers are growing daily and it's understandable.

Weed has now become a staple of American culture; it's become a legitimate business in the states where it's legal, it's now part of the way people socialize, and better yet it's a theme in some of the hottest music out today. "Kush" has been included in some of the hardest verses that millennials and generation-z kids have heard in their lifetime.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, amazing emcees in their own right, are also widely known for their love of the green plant. Wiz's biggest album, Rolling Papers is clearly influenced by weed and along with the Snoop Dogg-assisted "Young, Wild & Free" is all about that green positivity.

There's an endless list of hits about rolling up a joint, hitting it and passing it, but what about moods? Whether it's a bowl, a blunt or an edible weed, can leave people feeling a variety of ways and that all can be traced to a certain strand of weed someone's inhaling, or the mood they're already.

Regardless, it's important to be prepared and have music ready to match whatever feelings marijuana concocts; and that's why VIBE compiled an adequate list of songs for each of the main pot moods.

So on this 4/20, sit back, relax, smoke and find the songs that suit the vibe.

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The "Let Me Chill Out" Mood 

Sometimes the best way to come down from an over the top high is to play some tunes with a soft beat and a light voice. The best artists in the game right now, like Jhené Aiko for instance, have created that sound that's perfect for when relaxation is needed, so of course, she made the list.  These are the top four songs that can help anyone kick back and relax if a pull from a joint just isn't hitting the right way.

"Blue Dream" by Jhené Aiko "Muse" by Afro Nostalgia "Summer Games" by Drake "LOVE." by Kendrick Lamar (feat. Zacari) The Bad B*tch Hours or "Top Two and I'm Not Two" Mood 

You look around the room and realize: you're top two and you're not two in it. All it took was one or a couple of puffs and then a pass to make you feel pretty good about yourself. One of the main upsides to smoking that's constantly mentioned in the media is that it can help alleviate chronic pain, well, another positive to it is that it can leave you feeling sexy, sensual and everything in between.

This is that high that can make you feel that you're significant other is lucky to have you, and subsequently makes you hit them up, that tells you: you're single and ready to mingle. It's a smoking session that lets you know: if you shoot your shot now, you'll score and it's a session that you want music playing that only affirms how sultry and seductive you feel. If this is how 4/20 leaves you feeling, putting on some RiRi or even Young Thug can effectively get you 'in your bag.'

"Same Ol' Mistakes" by Rihanna "Tyrant" by Kali Uchis (feat. Jorja Smith) "Worth It" by Young Thug "Smoke Break" by Chance the Rapper (feat. Future) The "Head in the Clouds" Mood 

More often than not, edibles have the power of leaving people spaced out and speaking slowly, after consuming them. Sometimes smoking weed, or hotboxing with friends is a silent event. Either everyone's consumed by their phones, or every other person has been looking at a nonexistent spot on the wall for the past 15 minutes.

Regardless this isn't the high where people want to hear "Act Up" by City Girls, no matter how much they love them. No, this is the high where people need music that takes them on a journey. Songs where the production is out of this world and it seems like the artist specifically made the song for a smoke session like no other. Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD is full of tracks with that vibe, and Lil' Wayne, a weed connoisseur of his own, has songs that fulfill that need too. Smoke a bit and let the weed do its thing.

"ASTROTHUNDER" by Travis Scott "I Feel Like Dying" by Lil' Wayne "Hyyer" by Kid Cudi "St. Tropez" by J. Cole The "Got the Giggles" Mood 

This is when the blunt hits perfectly and there's nothing wrong in the world or when the bowl did its' job and leaves everyone feeling silly. A "feel good high" is the best way to describe and the best way to live through that kind of smoke session is to listen to some "feel good music." These are the songs that can have people swaying unknowingly to its' beat, or the tracks that leave people smiling from ear to ear. This is the session that lets people know that "this is it chief," and here are the best songs to go along with it.

"Pass the Vibes" by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment "Dreamcatcher" by Metro Boomin' (feat. Swae Lee & Travis Scott) "It's a Vibe" by 2 Chainz (feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko) "Binz" by Solange
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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Beyoncé performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.
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Homecoming: The 5 Best Moments Of Beyoncé’s Documentary

Once Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline in its nearly 20-year history, we knew Coachella would never the same. To mark the superstar’s historic moment, the 2018 music and arts festival was appropriately dubbed #Beychella and fans went into a frenzy on social media as her illustrious performance was live-streamed by thousands. (Remember when fans recreated her choreographed number to O.T. Genasis’ “Everybody Mad”?)

With a legion of dancers, singers and musicians adorned with gorgeous costumes showcasing custom-made crests, the singer’s whirlwind performance honored black Greek letter organizations, Egyptian queen Nefertiti, and paid homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Aside from the essence of black musical subgenres like Houston’s chopped and screwed and Washington D.C.’s go-go music, the entertainer performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Black National Anthem,” and implemented a dancehall number, sampling the legendary Jamaican DJ and singer, Sister Nancy, to show off the versatility of black culture.

One year after #Beychella’s historic set, the insightful concert film, Homecoming, began streaming on Netflix and unveiled the rigorous months of planning that went into the iconic event. The 2-hour 17-minute documentary highlights Beyoncé’s enviable work ethic and dedication to her craft, proving why this performance will be cemented in popular culture forever. Here are the best moments from Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary.

The Intentional Blackness

“Instead of me bringing out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”

Throughout the documentary, Beyoncé made it known that everything and everyone included in the creative process leading up to the annual festival was deliberately chosen. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” says Beyoncé. “Every tiny detail had an intention.” When speaking on black people as a collective the entertainer notes, “The swag is limitless.” Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Homecoming are the shots that focus on the uniqueness of black hair and its versatility. What’s appreciated above all is the singer’s commitment to celebrating the various facets of blackness and detailing why black culture needs to be celebrated on a global scale.

Beyoncé’s Love And Respect For HBCUs

#Beychella — which spanned two consecutive weekends of Coachella’s annual festival — was inspired by elements of HBCU homecomings, so it was no surprise when the singer revealed she always wanted to attend one. “I grew up in Houston, Texas visiting Prairie View. We rehearsed at TSU [Texas Southern University] for many years in Third Ward, and I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. My college was Destiny's Child. My college was traveling around the world and life was my teacher.” Brief vignettes in the film showcased marching bands, drumlines and the majorettes from notable HBCUs that comprise of the black homecoming experience. In the concert flick, one of the dancers affectionately states, “Homecoming for an HBCU is the Super Bowl. It is the Coachella.” However, beyond the outfits that sport a direct resemblance to Greek organizations, Beyoncé communicated an important message that remains a focal point in the film: “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

The Familiar Faces

Despite being joined by hundreds of dancers, musicians and singers on-stage, the entertainer was joined by some familiar faces to share the monumental moment with her. While making a minor appearance in the documentary, her husband and rapper/mogul Jay-Z came out to perform “Deja Vu” with his wife. Next, fans were blessed by the best trio to ever do it as Kelly and Michelle joined the singer with renditions of their hit singles including “Say My Name,” “Soldier,” and more. On top of this star-studded list, Solange Knowles graced the “Beychella” stage and playfully danced with her older sister to the infectious “Get Me Bodied.”

Her Balance Of Being A Mother And A Star

Originally slated to headline the annual festival in 2017, the singer notes that she “got pregnant unexpectedly...and it ended up being twins.” Suffering from preeclampsia, high blood pressure, toxemia and undergoing an emergency C-section, the entertainer candidly details how difficult it was adjusting post-partum and how she had to reconnect with her body after experiencing a traumatizing delivery. “In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected. My body was not there.” Rehearsing for a total of 8 months, the singer sacrificed quality time with her children in order to nail the technical elements that came with the preparation for her Coachella set. “I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol … and I’m hungry.” Somehow, throughout all of this, she still had to be a mom. “My mind wanted to be with my children,” she says. Perhaps one of the most admirable moments in the film was witnessing Beyoncé’s dedication to her family but also to her craft.

The Wise Words From Black Visionaries

Homecoming opens with a quote from the late, Maya Angelou stating, “If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.” The film includes rich and prophetic quotes from the likes of Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and notable Black thinkers, reaffirming Beyoncé’s decision to highlight black culture. The quotes speak to her womanhood and the entertainer’s undeniable strength as a black woman.

Blue Ivy’s Cuteness

Last, but certainly not least, Blue Ivy‘s appearance in the concert film is nothing short of precious. One of the special moments in the documentary zeroes in on the 7-year-old singing to a group of people whilst Beyoncé sweetly feeds the lyrics into her ears. After finishing, Blue says: “I wanna do that again” with Beyoncé replying with “You wanna be like mommy, huh?” Seen throughout Homecoming rehearsing and mirroring Beyoncé’s moves, Blue just might follow in her mother’s footsteps as she gets older.

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