bhm Tag

Black is Beautiful – Postcard set 1

Black history month – Postcard set by Robert Liu-Trujillo
This is a set of postcards featuring three Black women from a series of Black history month. The subjects I chose are not who are typically talked about during the month and that is intentional. I hope with my series of illustrations, I can be one of many artists expanding the consciousness of Black lives and the Black experience. We all love Rosa, Malcolm, and Martin, but there are so many more people we should know. These women are:

Betty Reid Soskin- Oldest African American park ranger 

Memphis Minnie- Pioneering blues musician

Edna Lewis- Ground breaking chef

Jim Simon-Black is Beautiful 18

Jim Simon is an artist and animator. He is the first African American to found his own studio called Wantu Animation. He worked on films/shows such as Fat Albert, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Smurf’s, X-Men, Vegetable Soup, Sesame Street, The California Raisins, Peter Pan, Sonic the Hedgehog, and he animated the opening credits to “Soul Train”! He was featured as an up and coming business man in Black Enterprise in 1977. Wantu was making nearly 100 short animations in the late 70’s for which, they received over 25 awards. Despite the awards in the early days, Simon had to go to work for the bigger companies to survive.  He had to put his studio Wantu (which would focus on content featuring African American stories) on hold, probably drained financially and emotionally from projects or studios that were not interested in Black characters. Simon left animation, went homeless for many years and stopped making art all together. It wasn’t until the last ten years that he returned to making art, and is now living in San Diego. I salute him because he was a pioneer in the art form. Today I see brothers like LeSean Thomas, Carl Jones, and Everett Downing out there today trying to extend the path. Shout out to “African American Animators Past & Present” who got me hip to Jim and so many other folks.
Dig this? Check out Brenda Banks and Floyd Norman

Roc Raida-Black is Beautiful 12

I met Grandmaster Roc Raida while living in Brooklyn. I got to meet some inspiring folks who I’d been following for years. So many I didn’t get to meet. I contacted Raida and volunteered to do some artwork for his new Dj Battle called “Gong”. We spoke over the phone, I showed him what I was working on which he dug, I brought it to the Knitting Factory in Manhattan and got a front row seat to draw the djs while they competed. It was an amazing battle and I was proud that a Bay Area veteran “DJ Mistah B” was in the house representing. Roc, is one of the pioneering members of the legendary X-Men/ X-ecutioners DJ crew. They represent a long line of brothers in NYC rippin shit on the turntables whether they were scratching, making mixtapes, on the radio, or party rocking. Roc and his crew did all of that. Roc Raida was an incredibly skilled Dj who won the 1995 World DMC championship after placing or winning so many other battles. Those folks who were into DJ culture knew of the Invisible Skratch Piklz(SF) vs The X-Men (NYC), and knew of Raida’s rep for battling. On stage he was all business, serious as fuck. But in person he was all smiles, very kind and welcoming. Roc put out countless LPs on his own and with the crew. He DJ’d for MF Grimm and Immortal Technique I believe. He was the judge for countless battles, and he also produced tracks for many hip hop legends. He not only gave do respect to his elders, but he was putting in work for the next generation of battle djs. Known for his body tricks, I wanted to show him in one of his infamous behind the back crossfader moves. His presence is greatly missed and I hope to see more about his life’s story. Respect to the X-ecutioners and the DJs that have paid tribute to him! RIP Roc Raida (1972-2009)

David Hackney (Death)- Black is Beautiful 10

I’m late to the party, but just saw the documentary “A band called death” about the Detroit band DEATH. It was an awesome documentary about the lives of three brothers, David, Bobby, and Dannis Hackney who together formed what some believe to be the first punk band in 1973. I wasn’t so interested in who started punk, but more just the lives of these three young men and how they came up with some amazing music back then. Their style proved to be way ahead of its time and people from the typical black music labels like Motown and many others did not understand them. I kept wishing as I watched that more young Black artists like them get more support to create without all the BS that comes with being an artist. Go watch the documentary and see how the children of these guys rediscovered the music of the band and how they have reclaimed it and have been performing it. This resonated with me since i have family that played all kinds of music and were in bands before I was born. David Hackney, the oldest of the group passed away , but before he died predicted that the world would come looking for their music, and it did. Two of the brothers are still performing as Death and can be reached at

Special One- Black is Beautiful 9

Man, rest in peace to “Special One” aka Karryl Smith from the Conscious Daughters. The first time I hear the daughters I was like “I’m getting that tape” and I still have some TCD vinyl. Her style was rough, feminine, and masculine and she just had flow, timing, and cadence that its hard to find now days in the Bay. You could tell they took the time with their craft. Special One and her partner CMG were an incredible duo, classic Bay Area hip hop group who sold plenty records, toured extensively, and still have a loyal fan base. Shout out to CMG who I believe is still making music! And shout out to Paris of Guerilla Funk. Just wanted to pay my respects to this Bay legend who is dearly missed. “How we roll” is one of my favorites that I heard on a compilation and of course “Fonky Expedition” and “We roll deep”.