By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 27, 2013 at 2:56PM
An intriguing idea actually...
I'd actually love to see these expanded into full-length graphic novels/comic books, and, dare I say, made into feature-length films!
Artist Dawolu Jabari Anderson, took age-old fictional, racist, stereotypical characters and turned them into weapon-wielding, powerful superheroes, all from his imaginary comic-book series titled Gullah Sci-Fi Mysteries.
The most prominent of the group is Mam-E, described as "a ferocious, headphones-wearing riff on the Aunt Jemima/Mammy stereotype."
The artist details her origins tale as follows:
Dinah is also known as Mammy or Mam-E. Dinah’s easy going servitude with her parental qualities are always at the service of the ‘whyte chilluns’. She’s always there for moral support to the plantation owner. Dinah however stays at odds with her friend Uncle Remus, 'who bymby sneaks up to de kitchun fo' a lil taste of roast’n ears or de lickin’s of liquor in de pot left from chicken smuder’d in calamus root sawse’. Soon Dinah’s world would change. The world that she knows that submits to the laws of physics would be “latched on ta a whole new woild of hoodoo. Saturn hoodoo dat is.” On the blackest night of the year... a Saturnian named Emereciana visited Dinah’s shack that stood behind the mansion. She took each of Dinah’s instruments of servitude (broom, iron, washboard etc.) and modified their molecular structure to fit technological Saturn specifications. Emereciana secretly gathered intel on Dinah’s work habits and daily rituals. She then calibrated the cosmic powered instruments to fit Dinah’s essence signature. Early one ‘mawn’n’, Dinah was sweeping the front porch while humming an old slave spiritual. The broom then unlocked it’s fantastic powers responding to the frequencies of Dinah’s voice, thus transforming her into Mam-E.
Her super hero abilities are described as follows:
Mam-E is endowed with great strength and enhanced agility and endurance. More than anything she has an undying will that has served her even more so than her cosmic capabilities. She has a broom that has secrets yet to be unlocked. She has learned with a sudden sweeping gesture that she can conjure a miniature tornado, which can lay low a small cabin. The broom can also project synthetic kinetic energy blasts. She can build up the force by slamming her broom against a hard object. The kinetic blows are stored in the circuitry of the broom where they are amplified and then channeled through the three rings at the end of Mam-E’s broom. So far she hasn’t reached a limit to the amount of kinetic energy that can be discharged.
Also part of this superhero family is Uncle Remus, who has the ability to "manipulate reality in a person’s mind... The victim becomes trapped in an alternate reality."
Uncle Remus also possesses great strength and enhanced agility and endurance.
The cover illustrations were all included in a past art exhibit at the Joan Wich & Co. Gallery in Houston, Texas, 4 years ago, titled Dawolu Jabari Anderson: Tales Of New Dimension In Time And Black Space.
Really, I do think this is an idea worth exploring further, whether in comic book format, or even on screen, tackled straight-on, or as satire. While I'm sure they'll draw controversy, think of it as a way of turning these various "types" that continue to haunt us, completely on their heads.
I dare you!
Check out Dawolu's blog HERE for a lot more covers like the two below.
I'm going to reach out to him to see if he ever did make anything further of these, or if it all ended with the exhibit in 2009.