Week 2 Response

Melvin Tolson’s poem Libretto for the Republic of Liberia was very difficult to read and comprehend. From what I understood, the poem was about a history of African peoples and their story that is untold. Almost like Tolson is filling in the blanks left by the white man in the official story. I thought it was very interesting that Tolson chose to use the solfège scale to separate the verse paragraphs. At first, I did not realize what it was until I continued to the rest of the poem. I thought of Afrofuturism in the section FA where Tolson repeats “The Futurafrique” several times. They seemed to be very similar words, the only difference being that the order of the words is flipped. I think that they mean the same thing- they mean the future of Africa, African and black peoples, culture, etc and what the vision is for them to be. For them to be empowered and flourishing and breaking all the European standards of beauty and civilization.

Also in FA, I caught several different cultural references which I found very interesting. Coming from somewhat of a mixed background, I recognized many words that were familiar. Some of them I knew and some I had only heard. Al Sirat is Arabic and comes from the Islamic belief that one must cross Al Sirat (a bridge) on the Day of Judgement to enter Jannah. I also recognized the Hindi word dharna which is a nonviolent sit-in protest. I looked up many other words including Kremlin (a complex in Moscow, Russia), Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia), Picayune (a Spanish coin), and many others. Perhaps what Tolson intends with this section is the globalization of culture and tolerance and intercommunication among the whole world and not just the imposing Western Culture which is in some ways the whole message of Black Panther.

One Reply to “Week 2 Response”

  1. I agree that the FA section had many cultural references. I also thought it was interesting that Tolson used the soflège scale to categorize the poem. I think Tolson was portraying the progress of Liberia in stages leading to a climax almost.

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