I have long struggled with the concept of Afrofuturism although I have had it defined for me several times. I think that the issue for me is understanding the real world application* of the Afrofuturist philosophy. I warn that I will present no answers here, indeed I possess none, yet I will ask quite a few questions. Additionally, I hope I do not offend any Afrofuturists or anyone for that matter, with my questions–they come from a place of ignorance not malice.
I have struggled in finding things that are Afrofuturistic, because I think like many people I find it difficult to pin down an exact definition of this topic (shout out to one of my classmates posts from last week) yet as Professor Lytton Smith has suggested (please excuse any inaccuracy in my paraphrasing) Afrofuturism is an ever-evolving area of study, thought, art, etc thus its definition is surely frequently being altered and added to.
Of all the readings so far, I have enjoyed Langston Hughes the most. I grew up with a copy of “I wonder as I wander” flouting around my house and ever since I read that beautiful title I have been intrigued by Mr. Hughes.
“The Futurafrique glitters…the Momolu Bukere Black-Hound winging along the seven-lane Equatorial Highway toward Khopirû”(610). While reading M.B. Tolson’s Libretto for the Republic of Liberia I was intrigued and more than a little confused by Tolson’s allusions and vocabulary. The above quotation in particular confused me, although initially, my interest was sparked simply by my curiosity about the meaning of the word “Khopirû”. I discovered in the poem appendix that Khopirû means “To Be”. I learned further that Khopirû is linked with a concept known as; the “Eternity of Thence”. The “Eternity of Thence” is in my understanding, an existential idea that involves individuals living their lives not concentrated on the future, instead concentrating on the current moment–all of which aids one in living “the good life”. I was a little confused as to what this word, and by extension concept, was doing in this particular poem. What is its relevance? What does it have to do with Liberia and “Futurafrique”? Upon further thought I believe that the word in this circumstance is being used to alluded to what Tolson believes to be the improved future of Liberia. He wants Liberia and possibly all of the above mentioned “Equatorial Highway” to go forth with this idea of just “being” as countries. Perhaps he wants Liberia to learn from this philosophy? I am not sure and would like to dissect further in future conversations, classes and writings.
I sat down at my desk to read the class assignment never thinking, however naïvely, that the content would be quite so jarringly racist. I am sure my reaction to the Hegel excerpt was in no way unique, nonetheless I would like to share my thoughts on the reading, in the particular the racism.
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