Prose for “right about now”

right about now

News for Immediate Release (1/31/99)

In 1995, the kinté space transformed itself from a paper publication of the by-gone desktop publishing revolution, to member content on America Online’s art and literature forums. At the beginning of 1998, the kinté space formally took on the Internet’s World Wide Web as Last year, this cutting-edge literary arts web site was getting its database-driven publishing technique together, soliciting and accepting compelling new content and laying a yet another foundation for one possible, cyber-art vision of the future.

The driving force behind this project is Los Angeles-based poet and professional software developer Bryan Wilhite. He has been using his many talents to make the kinté space a promotional tool and repository for poets and essayists all over the world. With a mixture of sarcasm and seriousness, Bryan asserts that he is, “building an arts space on the Internet with an American- and African-influenced view of the world, without building a virtual hate-ghetto or cyber-tourist trap.”

The kinté space is already well known as a multimedia poetry presence in the online world, beginning with recognition from executives at Macromedia (the makers of Authorware and Flash) and Caligari (the makers of trueSpace) and culminating with a feature at the venerable Mining Co. ( What is relatively less known are the newer prose, non-fiction material. This non-fiction element of the kinté space will range from static text to elaborate multimedia interactive presentations.

Bryan is very optimistic about including prose as well as poetry, “When I heard research specialist, writer and lecturer Runoko Rashidi speak in Long Beach about his trip to Australia, I knew I wanted to play my part in helping to get his message to a diverse audience. Nothing compares to him speaking in person and he is already quite well-known where he should be known. Perhaps our presentation of his work in the kinté space will secure him new speaking engagements in unexpected places. We are not trying to use the Internet as a substitute for high-quality human contact. We are trying to be a supplement or a compliment: an electric and interactive calling card.”

1998 provided many opportunities for Bryan to speak in person about poetry and arts in a techno-centric information age. For a second consecutive year, under the strategic direction of Rhonda K. Wilson, Bryan Wilhite served as judge of poetry for the NAACP’s national ACT-SO youth competition held in Atlanta, Georgia ( In association with Anne Bray and Gina Lamb of L.A. Freewaves (, he led Internet Workshops for the arts community of Inglewood and East Los Angeles. At the California Arts Council’s ( Governor’s Conference on the Arts, he served as speaker on a panel entitled, “Corporatization of the Arts: Whose Content becomes Commodity?”

Bryan Wilhite shared this panel with community-based visual artist and University of California instructor Ulysses Jenkins, columnist Matthew Mirapaul of, former contributing editor of Wired and journalist David Pescovitz and Larry R. Larson, General Manager of the collaboration between Performance Artist Laurie Anderson and Paul Allen’s Interval Research, Canal Street Communications. He was quite “star struck” and was occasionally quite incoherent but he thinks he got his main point across:

“Since it was the Governor’s conference, I wanted to make a political statement as well as deal with the subject at hand. I wanted that part of the arts world to know that I was young Black male in the context of State Government affairs having nothing to do with crime or abject inner-city poverty. I wanted them to know that I was born and raised in that so-called poverty. I wanted to thank Bill Gates for making his products cheap and accessible enough for me to teach myself a programming language so that I could get a white-collar corporate job and independently support my art which depends heavily on computer technology. Unlike Bill Gates, right about now I am in a win-win situation. The idea was to ignore any crabs in the proverbial barrel and get this message across. I find very little separation between politics and media. And I still think the media consciously and unconsciously avoids sending a positive message like this out to the general public.”