Greetings Glocal Citizens!
For this two-part conversation, I catch up with Oakland-based serial cultural entrepreneur, Isis Asare. Born in Harlem, New York to Ghanaian parents Isis, a fellow Stanford University alum, has called New York, Houston, Ghana (as a Peace Corps volunteer), Seattle, and now Oakland, California home at various times in her life. She once described herself as using her over-priced education, love of technology, and acumen for experimentation to hack Hollywood. And this is where her first entrepreneurial enterprise—Sistah Sinema emerged. With Sistah Sinema her goal was to be a part of a movement to create a global market for independent film fostering deep, engaging discussions about the difficult issues of gender, sexuality, race, and class. In 2015 she successfully exited by selling the platform to community investors.
With over a decade of finance and business development experience at Fortune 500 companies such as T-Mobile, Microsoft, Shutterfly, and Amazon, in 2019 she went on to launch Sistah Scifi, the first Black-owned bookstore focused on Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, Science Fiction, and Fantasy in the United States. Between 2019 and 2020, Sistah Scifi sales increased tenfold through expanding physical book selection; launching private label shirts, sweatshirts, and bags; and offering audiobooks and ebooks. Sistah Scifi has been featured in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/paidpost/facebook-gbm/facebook-economic-impact/good-ideas-deserve-happy-customers.html), Oprah Magazine (https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/books/a33497812/black-owned-bookstores/), BookRiot (https://bookriot.com/black-bookstores-after-summer-protests/), Buzzfeed (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ariannarebolini/black-bookstores-black-authors-books), VentureBeat (https://venturebeat.com/2021/06/17/oakland-black-business-fund-finds-corporate-partners-and-issues-grants/), and Facebook's Boost My Business (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=334145808260989). Sistah Scifi has also hosted author interviews with John Jennings, NK Jemisin, LL McKinney, Jewelle Gomez, and Nisi Shawl to name a few. Sistah Scifi has developed strong collaborations with major international publishers such as Hachette/Orbit, Akashic, Abrams, Macmillan/Tor.com, and Simon and Schuster.
Tune in to hear even more exciting now and nexts for Isis and the Sistah Scifi brand!
Where to find Isis?
On LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/isisasare/)
On Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sistahscifi/?hl=en)
On Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sistahscifi/)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/SistahScifi)
On TikTok (https://www.tiktok.com/@sistahscifi)
On YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSxlNWhm49onoIvCtm1ih8w)
What’s Isis reading?
Skin Folk: Stories (https://a.co/d/iBE1syn) by Nalo Hopkinson
The Fishermen (https://a.co/d/3zQXxDv) by Chigozie Obioma
The Other Black Girl (https://a.co/d/inqiGFs) by Zakiya Dalila Harris
What’s Isis watching?
Good Trouble (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Trouble_(TV_series))
The Last of Us (https://www.hbo.com/the-last-of-us)
What’s Isis listening to?
Therapy for Black Girls Podcast (https://therapyforblackgirls.com/podcast/)
Float (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_h_9_cF9M) by Janelle Monáe
Other topics of interest:
Keta, Ghana (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keta)
Lovers and Friends Show (https://wolfeondemand.com/film/869/Lovers-Friends-Show-Season-1)
Ujamaa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ujamaa) and the theme House \@ Stanford University (https://resed.stanford.edu/neighborhoods/neighborhoods/neighborhood-r/neighborhood-r-houses/lagunita-ujamaa)
Bronze Restaurant - Washington, D.C. (https://dcist.com/story/23/01/27/first-look-bronze-h-street-dc-afrofuturism-african-caribbean-food/)
African Folktales Reimagined (https://about.netflix.com/en/news/african-folktales-reimagined-short-films-launch-date-announced)
Brave New World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World) by Aldous Huxley and on Television (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World_(2020_TV_series))
Logan’s Run (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run_(film))
Octavia E. Butler (https://www.octaviabutler.com)
An Unkindness of Ghosts (https://sistahscifi.com/products/signed-an-unkindness-of-ghosts-hardcover?_pos=1&_sid=01daeaacc&_ss=r) by Rivers Solomon
Beauty in Truth Documentary (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Walker:_Beauty_in_Truth)
Pariah Film (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pariah_(2011_film))
Uhura (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyota_Uhura) on Star Trek (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek)
Marcus Books, Oakland (https://www.marcusbooks.com/)
American Writers Museum (https://americanwritersmuseum.org/)
Northwest African American Museum (https://www.naamnw.org/) Special Guest: Isis Asare.