Getting O-town cues from the local writer and cartoonist, Jaylen Christie for his new comic series release for Black History Month.
By: Kit Mohr
Finish it up, Friday!
To cap off this week in style, today we are sitting across from local creator Jaylen Christie. This talented man has got a handful of solid advice on how to best explore this city as he has taken on this city in full force. When we asked him, what’s an unpopular opinion you have about the city? He literally replied, “None. I love it!”
So today we are hearing from this talented, Orlando passionate, creator who has released his new comic “Stink Bomb and The Brain Kids” for Black History Month. We’ve got the deets on that and more ways to finish out this month strong below!
Who are you? What do you do?
I’d like to think of myself as a bit of a multihyphenate – at least that’s what I tell myself anyway. I work in public relations and help several companies with diversity, equity and inclusion related projects. I’ve been blessed to win several accolades, including an international Hermes Creative Award and a PR News Diversity Leader Award. Additionally, I’ve written opinionated pieces for outlets including The Grio and Blavity, and I’m a motivational speaker and actor. Locally, I’ve appeared in several plays at the Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park and Playwrights’ Round Table. I am a proud graduate of Florida A&M University, an HBCU, and am an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Wax poetic for a second and tell us: what brings you most alive about this city?
There is always something to do! There are so many fun weekly events and the sense of community pride here is abundantly evident. I moved to Orlando from Tallahassee to give myself a new start. That was over a decade ago. Since then, I’ve made great friends, become active with several local boards, and earned a master’s degree from UCF. I don’t see myself leaving any time soon.
We see you, Jaylen 🏆
What’s your favorite Orlando memory?
A friend of mine once portrayed Celestina Warbeck at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. She called me on to the stage to dance with her. That was pretty cool. I may or may not have been a little tipsy. Blame the butterbeer.
If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
So, one of my fraternity brothers introduced me to Thrive Cocktail Lounge & Eatery in Downtown Orlando. They serve this dish called Mochi Wangz – double fried, rice flour chicken wings with Korean buffalo sauce. It changed my life. That’s all I’m going to say. Ha!
Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Orlando day.
I’m an unapologetic nerd, so I’d probably be at any of the Orange County Library System’s 16 locations. And I’d probably stop by Craft & Common afterwards for one of their turkey paninis, followed by happy hour at The Hall on the Yard with some friends. I like a good time now! I be in these Orlando streets!
If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?
Get out and explore! Orlando has too much to offer to be sitting in the house all day.
How does Orlando help you do what you do/influence your work?
The city has an abundant network of movers and shakers, which has helped me tremendously when it came to forging connections in the world of public relations. Additionally, when I began writing and illustrating my comic book, those same individuals proved to be an invaluable asset to me when it came to identifying printers, colorists and graphic designers to help with my passion project.
Hot off the press, Stink Bomb Man and The Brain Kids by Jaylen Christie
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Well, I begin UCF’s PhD program in sociology this August, so that’s pretty exciting! However, I think what I’m looking forward to the most this year is the release of my very first comic book “Stink Bomb Man and The Brain Kids,” which debuts later this month! I created the characters as a child due to a lack of representation I was seeing in superhero cartoons. The three leads are all Black.
“Stink Bomb Man and The Brain Kids: Vol 1” sets up the story of Brittany and Jesse McBrilliant, siblings with exceptionally high IQs, as they balance fighting crime while attending James Baldwin High School in the fictional city of Princeton Bay. When their father disappears under mysterious circumstances, all clues point to Nicodemus Graves, the billionaire industrialist CEO of GraveCorp Technologies. To that end, the siblings team up with their grandfather, Dr. Beaumont McBrilliant, to develop a wrist-worn device called a Brainerator, which gives Brittany and Jesse the ability to shift into The Brain Kids, superheroes without traditional superpowers, yet use their smarts and aptitude to fight crime with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Keeping Princeton Bay safe is no easy feat though. Luckily, The Brain Kids have Stink Bomb Man to lend them a helping hand. Following his accidental crash landing on Earth after settling a trade dispute on planet Venus, Stink Bomb Man, a super-powered alien and intergalactic peacekeeper from the planet Stinkapolis, uses stink bombs to subdue super-villains. A bit daffy and unapologetically upright, he’s also a prince and is working to become acclimatized to Earth’s strange customs. Hilarity will ensue.
“Stink Bomb Man and The Brain Kids: Vol 1” is the start of a six-part miniseries. It is aimed toward teens and is filled with lots of humor. Kids may find interest in it as well. The miniseries embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and has a little bit of real world issues thrown in too. Those interested can visit my site to purchase!
Support the talent and creativity of local creators! We are here for this, Jaylen!
Know of a person or organization that we ought to feature? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Pulptown Locals to Know,” and you could see their name in an upcoming newsletter!
✌️ A few more things…
🕷️Celebrate Black History month with puppets.
MicheLee Puppets will be performing at elementary schools this month for Black History Month by showcasing four African folktales. “African Tales: Masomo Makubwa” debuts this week and will feature over 50 puppets, masks, and shadow puppets that are manned by actors Kera Shackelford and Arius West. Rodrick Blackman, the show’s writer and director, said the idea began last summer after wrapping up a tabletop show called “A Tree Full of Monkeys.” Their team began to expand on that original idea and eventually created the 40-minute show depicting the stories “The Hat Seller and the Monkey,” “Fly, Eagle, Fly,” “Anansi the Spider,” and “The First Music.” (Orlando Sentinel)
🎉How to celebrate Black History Month with your taste buds.
GO See The City is offering a food tour that highlights amazing black owned restaurants in Orlando. “We initially created the Black-Owned Restaurant Food Tour to support Black-owned businesses during the pandemic,” said GSTT’s CEO Aneshai Smith. “This year, we are honoring their perseverance and resiliency through it all.” You can participate by downloading the app, which will also give you 50% off at participating restaurants. (WFTV)
🥧Don’t want to download an app? You can go to these restaurants.
Orlando Weekly built an incredible list for you to choose from of black owned restaurants. Head to Chicken Fire for some of the best fried chicken in town made Nashville-style hot. Or, for a traditional African experience, head to Selam Ethiopian & Eritrea Cuisine, which happens to be one of the top 10 restaurants in the US according to Yelp. (Orlando Weekly)
That’s all for this week! Provided I survive the Disney half marathon this weekend that I had no business signing up for, and have no business running as I have not trained in the slightest, I’ll see ya next week for more O-town updates!
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