Ronald Nelson is an illustrator and columnist from New York City. His skill set also includes storyboarding, character design, technical illustration and portrait drawing. Prior California art gallery exhibitions were at the Cinema Place Gallery in Hayward and Jazz Heritage Center in San Francisco. He’s drawn graphic novels for various independent publishers and New York politicians, most notably Congressman Charles B. Rangel and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. As a columnist, he is regularly featured in articles for The Amherst Bulletin, Amsterdam News, Daily Hampshire Gazette, and The Beacon. You can check out his personal website HERE.
(H)afrocentric Comics: Volumes 1–4
Author: Juliana “Jewels” Smith • Illustrated by Ronald Nelson • Colors/Lettering by by Mike Hampton • Foreword by Kiese Laymon
Publisher: PM Press
Page count: 136
Subjects: Art-Comics / African American
Glyph Award winner Juliana “Jewels” Smith and illustrator Ronald Nelson have created an unflinching visual and literary tour-de-force on the most pressing issues of the day— including gentrification, police violence, and the housing crisis—with humor and biting satire. (H)afrocentric tackles racism, patriarchy, and popular culture head-on. Unapologetic and unabashed, (H)afrocentric introduces us to strong yet vulnerable students of color, as well as an aesthetic that connects current Black pop culture to an organic reappropriation of hip hop fashion circa the early 90s.
We start the journey when gentrification strikes the neighborhood surrounding Ronald Reagan University. Naima Pepper recruits a group of disgruntled undergrads of color to combat the onslaught by creating and launching the first and only anti-gentrification social networking site, mydiaspora.com. The motley crew is poised to fight back against expensive avocado toast, muted Prius cars, exorbitant rent, and cultural appropriation.
Whether Naima and the gang are transforming social media, leading protests, fighting rent hikes, or working as “Racial Translators,” the students at Ronald Reagan University take movements to a new level by combining their tech-savvy, Black Millennial sensibilities with their individual backgrounds, goals, and aspirations.
“Smith's comics ooze with originality.”
“(H)afrocentric is a book that is incredibly contemporary and fits the progressive minds of today's readers. It tackles issues of intersectionality and gentrification in ways that are not only informative but also entertaining. It's unlike any comic book I've ever read.”
—Jamie Broadnax, founder and managing editor of Blackgirlnerds.com
“(H)afrocentric is fully dope, artistic, brilliantly drawn, styled, and wonderfully radical with an awesomely fiery heroine! Juliana Smith and her team are to be commended for this desperately needed political and cultural contribution. Get into it and grab your soapboxes!”
—Jared A. Ball, author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto
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- Instagram: @ronaldrobertnelson