One thing I noticed when listening to the ” Writing Afrofuturism ” playlist is the beats and the sound of the songs. Each song has its own unique beat and sound to it, and for me that is a very crucial component to an afrofuturistic song. For example, the songs such as ” Zodiac Sh*t ” or ” Table Tennis ” by Flying Lotus don’t exactly have lyrics that stand out, or have no lyrics at all. However, that does not make the song ” less good.” It just allows the listener to focus more on the beat and make something out of that instead. Even for the songs that do have lyrics, for each song one can already feel the “mood” of the song when listening to its beat or sound. Whether the artist wants you to feel calm, angry or hopeful… one can be able to feel these things or know what the artist is feeling by simply listening to its beat, rhythm or tempo.
When first reading, Ralph Ellison’s, Invisible Man I didn’t think much of it as a afrofuturism novel. However, thinking back to it, I now realize that this novel goes into many interesting topics that touches on afrofuturism. I briefly want to talk about the title itself, Invisible Man, and the fact that the protagonist in this novel is nameless. As I was reading this book, in high school, I constantly wondered what the protagonists name was. I also found myself frustrated at the fact that the author does not give us any clue to what his name could be, even after he changes it. Then I realized, once you give someone a name, you have given them an identity and every issue or challenge that person goes through is specific towards them. That’s when I began to understand why Ellison decided to leave the protagonist as nameless, or at least came to an assumption. As the Invisible Man, the author was able to write about the issues and struggles African Americans go through as whole. In other words, the protagonist represented all African American men in America. Even by referring to the protagonist as the ” invisible man” says something, and emphasizes how black people in America are not taken serious, or even acknowledged. We even see the narrator being set up for failure since the very beginning, while trying to find a job, when it is revealed that the true purpose of his scholarship was to keep him running around and waste his time. To me this symbolized how our government system is, and how it was not made for African Americans, or any minority group, to succeed. I just found it very interesting and clever on how Ralph Ellison decided to tackle these issues during the time this novel was written. ( I’m not sure if im making sense, especially to those who have not read the novel yet)
I believe that it was really powerful when W.E.B DuBois wrote, “he wouldn’t bleach his negro blood in a flood of white Americanism… He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both.” Although he understands the history and the struggle being black in America comes with, he embraces where he comes from and who he is. While at the same time, it is important for him to acknowledge and still embrace his American culture. However being both black and American is hard not to separate because of all the challenges African Americans have to face. This quote reminds me of the movie Black Panther because one can see the contrast between the Wakandans ( who were her colonized ) and Erik Killmonger ( who grew up being black in America facing racism, ect.) I feel like that quote connects to the black panther movie because of how Killmonger embraces both his ” negro blood ” and being American. We see this in the way he takes the throne and how different he is from the black panther, who is much more traditional.
A quote that struck me when reading was, “whenever we encounter repetition .. let us remember we are not viewing the same thing, but its transformation That quote stuck out to me the most because it reminded me of the quote we discussed during class, “transformation is culture’s response to its own apprehension of repetition” The way I was able to interpret that quote was, cultures respond through the fear of history repeating itself. Continue reading “”