Towards the end of the poem Liberetto starts beginning his sentences with “The Parliament of the African peoples…”, a strong ending to an entirely powerful piece; this statemential suffix was used to describe different parts of black government and culture. Although this may sound strange but as an African American person I don’t actively think about that culture that I follow or how much it effects life around me, especially in government. After reading that ending I realized how much of heavily black ideas are integrated into not only our culture but also our politics. The entire black identity seems to be based around this idea of freedom as a result: freedom from slavery, freedom to be oneself, and freedom of knowledge.
“We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality – all that we call feeling – if we would rightly comprehend him; there is nothing harmonious with humanity to be found in this type of character,(p. 150)” Continue reading “Week 1 Blog Post”
Afrofuturism is alluded several times in Tolson’s poem Libretto for the Public of Liberia. Two moments in the text that help you think about what Afrofuturism is or could be are in the line 59 and line 70. Continue reading “Week 2 Blog Post”
A perfect example of an afrofuturistic work is the film “To Catch a Dream”. The short film features the work of eight Kenyan designers; the film is based on a grieving widow, by the name of Ajuma, who suffers from recurring nightmares. She relies on old fairy-tale remedies, which expands her realization beyond the physical realm. Hands down, a 10/10 production film, especially in the afrofuturism department. The film was shot in various locations in the beautiful Nairobi. From the playlist to the artistic designs of the movie, this movie gives all the feels of afrofuturism and is highly-recommended.
I’ve always struggled with my dual identity as a Bengali-American. I was brought up in my home in one way and expected to be another way at school and in public. My mother constantly reminded me that I was not American just because I was born in America. She instilled her cultural values and traditions in me in such a way that I could never forget, even if I sometimes wanted to. At school, I was expected to speak in English and wear jeans, to look and act like all the other kids. I was the one brown kid in class who wore a colorful salwar kameez while everyone else had on the suggested blue and white uniform. Things like that made me resent my culture and heritage as a child. My teachers encouraged me to speak English at home, and in doing so, I received backlash from my parents. Continue reading “Two-ness, Three-ness, Five-ness, Infiniteness”
The most interesting thing about this course so far has been the level of interaction with my fellow classmates, and the ability to share different thoughts amongst one another. Having been in a black studies class before, the difference between this one and the last one I have been in is that this class isn’t based on boring lectures by the professor. Not to sound repetitive, but the class is very interactive and gives an open space to share ideas.
The Snead article has by far been one of my favorite reads because of his relation back to culture. My favorite quotes from him states, “In any case, let us remember that, whenever we encounter repetition in cultural forms, we are indeed not viewing “the same thing” but its transformation, not just a formal ploy but often the willed grafting onto culture of an essentially philosophical insight about the shape of time and history.” When Snead said this, the first thing that came to mind was the saying “history repeats itself”. This phrase carries various meanings, but the meaning related to Snead’s phrase is that “through history, the future can be predicted”. In the past, some of the actions of blacks led to either consequences or rewards. Because of the outcome of these actions, we now know the “do’s” and “don’ts” to prevent events from happening again. With afrofuturism, everything comes full-circle and past and current events truly shape the intake on afrofuturism.
Solána Rowe, professionally known as SZA, released the album CTRL last year in 2017. As suggested by the title, the album contains themes of control, but also modern love, jealousy, anxiety, and self-esteem. I think this album speaks volumes as a black woman speaking the truth against societal expectations. In black communities, black women assume the role of being strong and emotionally stable. Continue reading “Heard It’s Her Man Too”
*CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE)
I revisited the excerpt from “The Philosophy of History by Hegel” and although I didn’t agree with most of the piece morally, the idea of African American Universality did intrigue me. The more I though about this idea I realized that from my point of view one of the biggest things holding back the African American race as a unit is this kind of monolithic thought. Although we just barely starting to move away from this kind of thinking in more progressive circles, it still definitely affects our community from the root to the peak. If a young African American child from Brooklyn tries to introduce his other black friends to rock music that he genuinely cares enjoys he would undoubtedly be asked “Why you fucking with that white shit?” That kind of response will undoubtedly affect that child and make him less susceptible to try things outside of his community which undoubtedly leads to the cycle of negative ideas and practices in our own communities. This even affects African American political choices because the stereotype that “all black people vote democrat” is reinforced in our own community and any deviation from that is once again demeaned and looked down upon. I believe that for the community to progress we need to allow different streams of black thought to be voiced and change the rhythm of monotony.
In Space is the Place, I noticed the idea of material/earthly desires versus Sun Ra’s “altered destiny”. Although this was shown in many different ways, it seemed especially interesting that earthy desire seemed to be a majorly white concept. Sun Ra was on the planet to reconnect black people of Earth with the natural. He was only doing this for black people, which implied that this connection to naturality (shown partially through his music) is a black concept itself.
After this Wednesday’s class, I started to play my music on shuffle and was reintroduced to the album “The Chief” by Jidenna which is in my opinion the perfect example of Afro-futurism. The album is classified under the genre of rap but it has very traditional Afrocentric beats melded into classic boom-bap of the present. The album opens with an old Nigerian guru telling a story with the hidden moral of being careful who you call your family, because family are only closest to you to so that they can kill you easier; then it smoothly slides into the second part of a song with a simple African drums keeping the rhythm and rigid powerful rap. Another song on the album named “Long Live the Chief” does the same thing, opening with tribal/techno esque drums that meld shockingly well with the kind of “Kanye” tone of his voice; Rapping about his successful from nothing with such vivid afrocentric metaphors with terms that are relatable to today’s current climate. This song takes from the previous generation by paying homage to Nigerian culture in such a beautiful way, building on the music of the past and to make the music of the future.