When I read both passages by Butler and Jemisin I immediately got the central idea of religion being a driving force behind the idea of afro futurism. They don’t necessarily fit with the idea of sci-fi or advanced technology in my opinion but I think that how the black community is today is what writers of the past would consider to be afro futurism. In Jemisins story, it uses the idea of keeping the same culture within black communities but now they are even more based on religion. What seems normal in modern day New York may be considered abstract and futuristic to previous generations. Many of the previous generations practiced in superstition, especially in Africa. Superstition is found to clash with religion in Jemisins piece just as it might have back when it was introduced early on. In Butlers excerpt, religion is used as sort of “ends justifying the means”, using scriptures to justify things like violence in order to protect their own property.
In watching the Janelle Monae film I found some parallels with the Lorde essay and I was a bit confused but it made me think about the roe of women within the idea of afro-futurism. In the Lorde essay she mentioned that Malcolm X had altered and broadened his opinions concerning the role of women in society and the revolution and the Janelle monae video featured primarily black women, making me wonder how effective women are in revolutions across the board and what they mean to the idea of afrofuturism. Lorde herself demonstrated the strength of black women through afro futurism. I believe her greatest contribution to the idea of afrofuturism was the continuation of the idea of black women being strong and outspoken and furthermore she adopted the idea of non conformity.” Either I denied or chose between various aspects of my identity, or my work and my Blackness would be unacceptable. As a Black lesbian mother in an interracial marriage, there was usually some part of me guaranteed to offend everybody’s comfortable prejudices of who I should be. That is how I learned that if I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. My poetry, my life, my work, my energies for struggle were not acceptable unless I pretended to match somebody else’s norm.”
When I think of examples of Afro-futurism that I see today I immediately think of my favorite rapper, Vince Staples. Through his last album I feel he embodied the very sound and idea of Afro- Futurism, even landing himself a song on the Kendrick Lamar produced Black Panther album. Vince described his album Big Fish Theory as afro futurism half jokingly but it still shows connecting elements. “We making future music. It’s Afro-futurism. This is my Afro-futurism. There’s no other kind…This is Afro-futurism y’all can keep the other sh*t. We’re trying to get in the MoMA not your Camry”. Rapping about his former gang lifestyle and what it’s like to be Black in America over futuristic, upbeat EDM beats. I feel like this connects to the idea of repetition especially because Vince himself challenged the idea that these beats are new or different because the EDM, electronic beats we think of today as outside of black culture actually originated in Detroit house music. Dance music, like almost every other kind of music to come out of America in the past century, is black music. Although he doesn’t speak about Afro-futurism in the conventional sense of the word, even bristling at the term himself, Vince speaks about societal problems and black issues over beats that sound the same as decades of black American music, tlike Sun Ra and Parliament-Funkadelic.
These poem excerpts were hard reads but this is what I grasped from Tolsons writings. There was one quote that stuck out to me that I believed I immediately understood. “Europe bartered Arica crucifixes for red ivory, Gewgaws for black pearls, pierres d’aigl’is for green gold:
Soon the rivers and roads became clog almanacs! “. I think this quote specifically relates to the direct pillaging of not only Africas resources, but also the art and culture associated with different African cultures. Continue reading “tolson”
“The negro, as already observed, exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state. We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality-all that we call feeling if we would rightly comprehend him; …” (Hegel 150)
In the time that I spent reading the Hegel excerpt I felt myself go through a range of emotions, as he began to suggest that Africans exhibit characteristics of being inferior to west culture and goes on to strip identity and humanity from people of African descent. Hegel’s inaccurate assessment Continue reading “”