Afua Richardson is a New York comic book creator, and winner of the 2011 Nina Simone Artistic Achievement Award for being one of the few African-American female comic book creators to have worked for all the comic book giants: Marvel, DC and Image Comics. In the spirit of Nina Simone, Afua is a political activist, a classical flautist, a professional singer, songwriter, actress , voice actor, and human beatbox artist, sharing stages with music greats such as Parliament Funkadelic, Sheila E and Sir Melvin van Peebles. She is best known for her work with Top Cow Productions on a miniseries entitled Genius, a six-time Glyph Award nominee and Reader’s Choice Award winner. She’s gone by many alias on account of her many proverbial hats. Lakota Sioux (after her Native American heritage) and more recently Docta Foo.
Afua calls New York City “a mechanical snake with a pulse: a rapid paced, filthy wonderful city that can swallow a person whole.” Her family life was a troubled one, so she’d lose herself for hours, huddled up to a small radio in her room, playing her flute along with any song she heard. She eventually started mimicking sounds which lead to beat boxing in all female hip hop crews like the Anomalies; a collective of female DJ’s MC’s and break dancers in the underground hip hop scene. She wanted desperately to breakdance but playing the flute made a strain on the wrists. It didn’t stop her from moving her feet. Afua found herself dancing background for MTV and BET’s early dance party shows and eventually singing background for various groups and recording artist. After a brief tour of Europe , she returned to the states, taking on odd jobs and various commercial voice acting gigs while teaching herself how to use digital art programs.
“I never thought I’d be an illustrator full time. I loved comics but i didn’t think there was a place for me in that world. I didn’t even consider it. But I Loved to draw. I took on a rather androgynous alias (Lakota) so as not to receive criticism on my work based on my being a woman. I was often met with a patronizing and sometimes condescending review of my portfolio: “You’re pretty good for a girl”, as if the lack of pencil-like appendage meant i was handicapped and incapable of illustrating well. That changed once I went online as Lakota. They told me exactly what I needed to work on in a matter a fact way. That’s what I wanted: to get better, and not have my ego fluffed. If I thought if I was terrible at it, I’d stop. But I saw some good in my work. I just needed to expand on that. I didn’t have the money for school. I barely had the money to eat, but I didn’t let it stop me from learning. ”