Response to Libretto for the Republic of Liberia

When I first gauged the reading, it was certainly confusing. The formatting of the text, usage of complex diction, and unending verses, make the content itself difficult. However, that difficulty makes the reading and its message on Afrofuturism more palpable. Continue reading “Response to Libretto for the Republic of Liberia”

Libretto: Liberia within Afrofuturism

In Tolson’s Libretto for the Republic of Liberia, a moment arrived early in the piece that helped me conceptualize Tolson’s writing within the framework of Afrofuturism as the interface of activism and art/aesthetics; this section consisted of lines 9-16. Whereas Hegel defines Africa from a racist perspective, Tolson characterizes Liberia in juxtaposition, which entails direct refutation of depictions of Africa as “side-show” or “bio-accident,” (10). Continue reading “Libretto: Liberia within Afrofuturism”

Liberia’s Response to Hegel

When the question is “what did you find most confusing about this poem?”, I imagine most of us could come up with more than just one line. One line I was particularly confused by was “Liberia? No oil-boiled Barabas, No Darwin’s bulldog for ermined flesh, no braggart Lamech, no bema’s Ananias…” Even after reading the analysis at the end, and doing some google searches of my own, I cannot seem to figure out this statement. “Oil-boiled Barabas” was a man in the bible, killed by oil. “Darwin’s bulldog” refers to Thomas Huxley, an English biologist who supported Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Ermined flesh”, on the other hand, refers to the fur of a weasel. Lamech is a descendent of Cain, the biblical figure who killed his brother Abel out of jealousy. Ananias was a member of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and a bema is the altar area in an Orthodox church. While I gathered all these definitions, I still cannot figure out what the author is saying. Continue reading “Liberia’s Response to Hegel”

Week 1 Response

The Hegel piece really made me angry after initially reading it. It really blew my mind that he could actually think of people in such a way. Honestly, it was such a dose of reality because it made me realize that not only does Hegel think this way but other people do as well. In his writing, he depicts the Africans as savages and cannibals without reason and dehumanizes them. Continue reading “Week 1 Response”

Repetition in Culture

Repetition that seems like “‘a quality of difference’ compared to what has gone before” is  a constant is one of James A. Snead’s claims in Repetition as a figure of black culture. Snead says that human culture evolves and things from the past emerge in the future as either improved or retrogress. Culture either progresses or regresses. I agree with James Snead that culture is  constantly evolving.

I found that claim interesting and it made me think about what American culture is at the present moment compared to its history. Continue reading “Repetition in Culture”

Short Reflection

“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.”


This statement stood out to me in particular because growing up in an African household and experiencing the interesting parenting style of my mom and dad, it was a real eye-opener. Most of the friends that I surrounded myself with always seem to be pampered and given the newest type of accesories out there. At the time, it was hard to grasp, and truthfully, I took it to the chest. It wasn’t until my grandmother came to live with my family and I in the US for a couple months that I realized why my parents were not into the concept of splurging money and showering their kids with expensive clothing, sneakers, and so on. The African culture back home has been revolved around hard-workers and people trying to set-up the best possible path to success for their children. Referring this back to the Black Panther discussion in class, when T’Challa’s sister introduced sneakers to him for the first time, it was symbolic of the lack of appeal for flashy items in the African culture. Rather than worrying about sneakers and so on, the Black Panther’s main focus was centered around the fate of his people; just like African parent’s main focus is centered around the fate of their children’s future.

Hegel’s Hypocrisy

“Slavery is in and of itself injustice, for the essence of humanity is freedom; but for this man must be matured…”

Hegel’s main argument in the piece is captured here; while slavery is wrong, black people are not consciously mature enough to live freely, and thus must be enslaved for their own sake. One of his key points is the concept of man over God. On page 151, he writes “…Herodotus called the Negroes sorcerers:-now in Sorcery we have not the idea of a God, of a moral faith: it exhibits him as alone occupying a position of command over the power of Nature”. Continue reading “Hegel’s Hypocrisy”

“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 “”

Dev Hynes, Negro Swan, and the collaborative Afrofuture?

In a recent review of Blood Orange (Dev Hynes’) Negro Swan, Judnick Maynard suggests that “His mastery and comfort extends to the way he welcomes collaborators.” Collaboration is a feature of R&B, of course, but reading Maynard’s review in light of Snead’s sense of repetition as having a communal possibility, and in light of your frustrations with Hegel, I wanted to raise a question about collaboration: Continue reading “Dev Hynes, Negro Swan, and the collaborative Afrofuture?”


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 “”