SHEMURENGA featured in wried magazine…



Performance artist d’bi Young is the blueprint for a green ‘supah shero’
02 April 13 by Charlie Burton

black supah shero photo by Wade Hudson

When the Jamaican-born dub poet d’bi Young was growing up in the 80s, she read US comic books obsessively — X-Men, Batman, Archie — and dreamt of being a superhero. In real life, though, she just didn’t feel like one.

“I inhaled all the stories about what my place was as a dark-skinned, diasporic African woman,” the 34-year-old remembers. “By the time I moved from Jamaica to Toronto I was deeply ashamed of how I looked.” Then, while at McGill University in Montreal, she resolved to embrace her roots, putting on dub performances. Her audiences reacted intensely, but she still felt that she hadn’t yet become a superhero.

That all changed in March, when Young appeared in a comic book published by a Ugandan collective called Klan Of The Kings. Its title, Shemurenga, refers to the Shona word for “revolutionary struggle”. Drawn as a Grace Jones reinvention, Young’s “supah shero” guards Earth from environmental disasters by using special powers.

“As well as hard copies, we will make it into an interactive app so the magic of the comic can come alive,” says Young. “Apps are about global accessibility and have the potential to make sharing information about, say, how severe climate change is, fun and exciting.” Now that is a super power.

Edited by Kadhim Shubber

letter #2 to the little girl/boy/being who dreams of being a supah s/hero/queero

reflection by wade hudson

the making of a black supah shero comic…

letter #2 to the little girl/boy/being who dreams of being a supah s/hero/queero and will know through her/his/their life that they always were, is and will always be…

dear little girl/boy/being supah s/hero/queero,

when i first began writing SHEMURENGA i wanted her to have supah dupah powers. powers that were out of this world. maybe out of my world. as the writing progressed as a collaborative process with the images ronald was sending me, and as i encountered the realities of my own mortality, SHEMURENGA began to shift as well.

i realized more and more that she wanted to be that part of myself that is a supah shero not because she possesses extra-terrestrial powers but because she possesses human courage.

courage takes you leaps and bounds into what you believe is impossible. courage is about self-knowledge. self-truth. the discipline to uncover the multiple layers of reality in which we live.

shemurenga’s ultimate quest is to fully innerstand who and what she is. this is the supah shero that i am growing into becoming. one who is aware of and grounded in the full extent of becoming.

this personal journey is lifelong. maybe even lifetimes long until the cycle of cyclical existence is broken.

are you up for the adventure…

in love and solidarity
your black supah shero auntie

SHEMURENGA black supah shero
launches march 9. 2013

letter #1 to the little girl who dreams of being a supah shero…

black supah shero by wade hudson

letter #1 to the little girl who dreams of being a supah shero and will know through her life that she always was, is and will always be…

dear little girl supah shero,

my name is d’bi.young anitafrika and I was born and raised in kingston jamaica. I grew up on comics cartoons and fantasy.

that entire time though, I longed to see super people who looked like me. most of the heroes were white and and male who saved white people from villains who were sometimes black and of colour.

there were also never any supers who came from the working class neighbourhood that I lived in and I always wondered why.

the sheros like cat woman (my favourite) and wonder woman were not leading archetypal figures. even though they had super powers, they were still subjugated by the men and by their circumstances. when storm was introduced in x-men I was overjoyed but her powers as an african supah shero were not maximized in my eyes.

SHEMURENGA is an attempt to combine the worlds of comic, cartoon, fantasy, and mythology into a black supah shero adventure in which our protagonist deals with life, oppression and liberation as they affect everyone and everything including herself.

this is an opportunity to tell the story of a spiritual, political, sexy, creative, healthy, emotionally balanced (or atleast on her way to being that) black supah shero who is guided by the ancestors, natures elements and her own heart.

she is eventually surrounded by a super team who represent all peoples on the planet. see you on an upcoming adventure…

in love and solidarity
your black supah shero auntie

SHEMURENGA black supah shero
launches march 9. 2013