This month, I had the opportunity to speak with John Jennings, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and a Cooperating Faculty Member in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. Jennings is a scholar and artist whose artistic work is deeply influenced by the African American cultural experience and explores intersectional narratives linked to identity.
Julian Chambliss: You have recently grabbed a lot of attention with your adaptation of The Kindred. How does Blue Hand Mojo offer a different creative experience for you?
John Jennings: The opportunity to do Kindred with my long-time collaborator and friend Damian Duffy has been a remarkable experience. Octavia Butler is one of the most important American writers to ever live. However, Blue Hand Mojo is totally my own creation from top to bottom. The experience of essentially collaborating with another writer is vastly different than controlling the entire narrative. With Mojo I could make format changes, rearrange story elements, and enhance the narrative as I worked on it. You don’t have the same range of freedom when you are doing such a beloved book as Kindred.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).