The last time I spoke with Jacque, the founder of Adorned by Chi, she was a trailblazing entrepreneur, putting out creative new pieces in her store that encouraged Black women to embrace their nerdiness with vibrant colors. I am happy to say, that she is embracing 2018 with fire and her Instagram continues to inspire me. More recently, Adorned by Chi has started a new project, one that dives deeper into the graphic novel world and focuses on Igbo legends while combining classic anime storylines. This new tale involves 5 extremely different but inextricably connected Nigerian students who must learn to harness their magic in order to defeat a great terror, The Nothing. I am a huge Magical Girl aesthetic fan, so you know my nerd alert was piqued. I was able to get more detail on the exciting new development, so please enjoy an inside look on Adorned by Chi’s new series!-Monica
Black Nerd Problems: Please tell me more about Magical Girls in West Africa! Where did the idea come from and how was the journey of making it into a reality?
Jacque: I’ve always been such a fan of magical girl anime and aesthetics. I had the idea of creating a story in the same vein (celebrating feminine power and friendship) but in a setting I’ve been interested in exploring- Nigeria! Many people don’t know but the “Chi” in Adorned by Chi is actually an Igbo word- it essentially means “God”. As an Igbo American lady myself I feel like our mythology, deities and magic aren’t as celebrated and explored as other cultures like Greek or Roman. I hope to introduce people to Igbo myth wrapped in a fun magical girl bow!
Making my vision a reality has been a bit of a long process. The story, characters and plot had to be mapped out and really fleshed out before I reached out to artists in my community. Luckily I have great creative people in my circle so finding people to work with was as simple as a post on Facebook and a scroll through Instagram! I decided to create a multimedia experience so we’re working with musicians, animators and illustrators to bring the story to life!
BNP: How does the graphic novel tie into Adorned by Chi?
Jacque: We’ve been celebrating our favorite fandoms by giving them a bit of a “melanin infusion”. But I think it’s time to create the same kind of magic for characters that already look like us. In our story, “Chi” is actually a super essential to the plot!
BNP: What stories are you trying to tell with this new series?
Jacque: I want the stories to revolve around empathy because I feel like it’s something the world is definitely lacking right now. There are also secondary characters pulled right from Igbo mythology who aid our team in discovering the scope of their magic.
BNP: Who is your favorite character? Also what can we expect in the future from this series?
Jacque: Fave in this story? Definitely, the group’s shy leader Chiamaka! As in what to expect in the future for this series: We have nine issues planned for this volume, and we have three volumes planned in total!
Follow along with the Kickstarter Campaign here where this project about an interactive multi-media graphic novel about West African Magical Girls (and a guy)! reached fifty percent of its goal after its first week! Follow along with the project’s progress on Twitter and Instagram! Lastly, be sure to check out Adorned by Chi’s website and see what new goodies are in stock and treat yourself and/or someone else!
The working cover art was done by Tiana Mone’e