Today’s interview is with the creator of Comics and Coffee and the host of the Comics and Coffee podcast, Phoenix Shanklin.
Uncanny Pop: Which female role models that have had an impact on your life and how have these women influenced you?
Phoenix Shanklin: I don’t have many female roles models, in my life that I can think of. I have always been a “lead your own path” kind of woman. However, I can say that I appreciate the support and love from My mother, Barbara and my late Grandmother, Patricia. They have taught me to value myself and be the best that I can be.
UP:What has been important to you as a woman-specifically a woman of color-in your community?
PS: What is important to me, as a woman of color, is to never have to find myself becoming a societal statistic: The one that inflicts a negative impact on us, in general. For example, I chose not to fall into the negative influences of my environment.
I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. These streets are rough. And with some of the people around you, you have to try to avoid the pressure of being apart of those group of kids or teens who became wayward to the streets. Or, being around the wrong kind of people who could have lead me down a bad path.
Back in High school, my mother and father kept me from the streets. They kept me focused on my homework. That was what lead me to become the woman I am today. I am more focused on achieving goals that tends to have a positive reflection on not only me, but women of color, as a whole. Plus, despite having Kidney Failure, I never let that stop me from doing the things I love to do.
UP: What can fans of Comics and Coffee look forward to this year?
PS: As of now, I want fans who listen to the podcast to keep looking forward to more funny, amazing chats about Comic-book news and superhero movies and pop-culture discussions. However, I am hoping I can give more fans of the show an opportunity to join us as guests, and be apart of the experience on Comics and Coffee.
UP: What other personal projects are you working on?
PS: I am currently planning to return back to college to achieve my Associates Degree. And hopefully, start a mini-magazine for my Media Junk Food project–which is currently on hold, as of now.
UP: In your opinion what are some of the biggest challenges that women face today?
PS: There are various issues that come to the surface that’s affecting women, right now. One that comes to my mind, is the fact that there is a low number of female video game creators in mainstream gaming industry. The Gamer-Gate issue is an issue that is creating alot of negativity towards the gaming industry. Most of it is regarding differed perceptions on sexism surrounding the industry. And with all that being said, we cannot deny the lack of female contributors in the game, today. I can’t fathom that. That needs to change.
UP: In your opinion, what things have changed for the better in geekdom for women? And what things still need to be worked on?
PS: To be brash, this “battle of the sexes” shit needs to change. Shouldn’t matter if you have either a penis or a vagina. What should matter is what contribution you should offer to any platform that is heavily popular in mainstream or independent platforms of multi-media. There should be a better message we are sending out there where anyone should have the right to be apart of something they love without dealing with sexism. If that makes any sense.
UP: How can those of us who are geeks/nerds encourage young girls and ladies who want to be involved in the community?
PS: African-Americans, such as myself, are often unacknowledged in the nerd (BLERD) community. There is a format that I would like to mention called “Black Girl Nerds”, created by Jaime Broadnax. Because of this website, we now have a platform that not only helps us express ourselves, but it also helps spread the awareness of how the nerd community is more diverse that most people think.
I consider this concept to be healthy and refreshing.
UP: Has there been an improvement on how characters in popular media accurately represent women?
PS: We are in a state of progress, if that makes any sense. “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Scandal” and “Jane The Virgin” could be considered as shows that depicts women from all walks of life in a positive direction.
UP: If you could meet any influential woman, whom would you choose? What questions would you ask her?
PS: Hmmmm. Tough one. I would love to meet Pam Grier or Margaret Cho. Both are amazing human beings. Both follow me on Twitter. (Hope that doesn’t come off as bragging, haha) However, they are both passionate about different social issues–without coming off as pretentious, rhetoric-spewing snobs. So, if I can meet either of these women. My god. I wouldn’t know how to act.
UP: This year the theme for Women’s History Month is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” Why is it important to weave our stories – individually and collectively – into the essential fabric of our nation’s history?
PS: I just feel like it is so important for women to be recognized for their achievements in society–TODAY. We’ve got to set the standards. Raise the stakes. These achievements that women must set today, will be essential examples for every young girl who hopes to set achievements things of their own in the future. And that is, because they’ve looked at us, as say, ‘If she could do that. Than, I know I can, too.”
You can follow Phoenix at the following social media sites: