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Author Archives: Aker

About Aker

Hello. I am a Baruch College graduate with a B.A. in Music and Journalism, and a focus in African Diasporic Studies. I plan to expand on my blog, Futuristically Ancient, publish my thesis on percussion in hip-hop and my poetry collection, and probably go to Grad School for Cultural Studies and Media Analysis. I have been to Dominica, Japan and London. I can speak Japanese and French. My interests are music, writing, poetry, studying different types of art, African Diasporic studies, Religion/Spiritual Systems, Comparative Analysis and much more. I also have locs (dreadlocks) and since I am a Leo, I love my hair! LOL!

Modern Griots Reviews: MoonDance at PS1


Fhoston Paradigm

Many go to church on Sundays for inspirational music and message, but last Sunday I was at the Moondance event at MOMA’s PS1 in Queens for them. Organized by DJ King Britt, the event, which took place in tent dome, featured several DJs, several musical performances, poetry and a discussion on Afrofuturism. The afrofuturistic event was filled with the interplay between fragments of past and future – D. Sabela Grimes dance performance consisting of an alien-like yet ghostly kind of ritual masquerade, soul and electronic music (“my soul system”), and cultural black performance and language with futuristic wording; DJs Hank Shocklee (of Public Enemy), HPrizm, Ras G, King Britt and Fhoston Paradigm pulling from a vast array of musical sounds to quilt together new works and Shabazz Palaces‘ combination of electronic and acoustic drum sounds; Ursula Rucker‘s Black Arts Movement-inspired word mysticism brought together social issues like the death of Trayvon Martin, honoring Amiri Baraka, and connecting spiritual hymns and sexuality.

This was all reinforced in the panel discussion moderated by Afrofuturism author Ytasha Womack, and included Britt, Rucker, Shocklee and Alondra Nelson. Womack described Afrofuturism as where the future meets the past; it facilitates that healing where we feel may have been a break between the two in modern culture. She continued by asking about the notion of race as technology and how afrofuturism is a tool to deconstruct race, how afrofuturism cultivates imagination to transcend circumstance especially in marginalized communities where imagination is under attack and how music is a gateway to understanding afrofuturism.

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Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts


*Please DONATE to my blog! Any amount would be appreciated. Either click on the donate button on the side panel or send donations via PAYPAL to my email svfreebird87@gmail.com. Thank you!

Jamea Richmond Edwards

*”Dope Art: Jamea Richmond-Edwards Charcoal Drawings” on For Harriet.

*”Daenerys Targaryen is back to “save the coloureds” Tour de #GameofThrones 2014” on Media Diversified: “The character of Daenerys Targaryen is emblematic of Game of Thrones continuous problem with race[1]. Beyond the emetic “white saviour scene to close Season 3, we are first introduced to her during a forced marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki people (who are non-white). At the wedding, the Dothraki are painted as little more than savages, with the men literally killing each other to force themselves on the women; hypersexual and hyperviolent, two big racist boxes are ticked[2].

This state of affairs remains the norm if you are both a regular television viewer, and a person of colour (PoC). The dynamic is especially acute in the world of genre fiction. Because we all look at the television screen, and what stares back at us is a lens; a white lens. It’s why weak racial depictions remain a habitual problem.

Culture is the progeny of the world we live in, and for far too many writers, the world they live in is so saturated by the social construct of “whiteness”  that they fail to see anything beyond that. Which – intentionally or otherwise – serves to position whiteness as the only point of view worth depicting[3].”

*Indiegogo Campaign for short, 42:24. Here is the summary:

“Back in 2010, I was listening to Erykah Badu’s “Twinkle,” while designing a website. Intrigued about the new language I encountered on the track, I learned that the meaning of the words were directly connected to my studies of Kemetic (Ancient Egypt) Science at the time. I decided to write 42:24, a short film incorporating the 24 hour routine of the 42 Laws of Ma’at.

In 24 hours, Carla Khari is challenged to adhere to the 42 Laws of Ma’at, when her cousin, Brea Taylor comes to stay at her house. Carla just wants to find balance before the sun reemerges.”

*In Buffalo, New York, artist Lauren Ashley Howard is presenting her solo exhibition, Voyager: Navigating the Black Feminine Space on April 26th. Here is the description: “The Black Barbie Corps. of Astronauts (BBCA) invites you to explore the Black Feminine Space through an installation featuring paintings, found objects, performance, photography, and the BBCA’s Space Shuttle Crew–the reverse relaxed Barbie dolls.”

*CCCADI‘s 2nd Annual Health & Wellness Expo, Transforming the Temple: The Bliss of Now will be happening on April 26th. Susan L. Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and former Editor in Chief of Essence Magazine, will give the keynote address. Click on the link above to get more information and buy tickets.

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Modern Griots Recap: OmniPresent


“The Protector” (one of the art pieces)

Thursday, I attended the science fiction magazine, Omni Magazine, reboot reception and although I was not overwhelmingly impressed with the exhibition, there were a few highlights from it that I took away:

*DJ and musical creative King Britt was there to show off his skills, including his  A Different View mix (listen below), and some artwork he collected for the exhibition, which was uniquely placed in view-master toys hanging from the ceiling. He describes the collection: “Fast forward to now. In my music collaboration with Omni, I selected a few images that I remember or spoke to me from the archives. The particular images I ‘scored’, influenced the sounds I decided on, the sonic direction and vision. I definitely gravitated toward images, that displayed multicultural ethnicity in a science fiction and futuristic context for my collaboration.

My favorites were photos from The Man as Art article from the June 1981 issue. Malcolm Kirk photographed many natives from a tribe in New Guinea, which are breathtaking. The article explains the different modes of dress and meaning behind different jewelry and such. The main quote from the article is “In this island society, a man’s status is measured by the value of what he gives away”. So I present to you Omnipresent : A Different View.” All the works can be seen on each track on King Britt’s souncloud page.

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Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Books for Healing


Last Sunday, I attended Beatbox Botanicals‘ first Harriet’s Apothecary event. Besides having a relaxing and soothing experience, listening to over an hour of sound healing session, learning how to do tinctures and having a divination reading done, I also gathered a few book titles at the event:

* African American Folk Healing by Stephanie Mitchem

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Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts


*Please DONATE to the blog! Any amount is appreciated! Either click the donate button at the side panel or send donations via paypal to my email svfreebird87@gmail.com. Thank you!

Source: Creator’s Project

*Janelle Monae Interview on The Guardian (David Bowie and Iman are huge fans!) and post about the future of holograms in concerts featuring Monae and M.I.A.’s performance.

*”7 Black Scientists and Engineers Who Helped Make Space Travel Possible” on Atlanta Black Star.

*Oju Africa has developed their own black emojis.

*Black Radical Imagination is presenting a 2-day forum from April 11-12th screening various films at NYC’s Cooper Union, featuring films and works from Martine Syms, Jeannette Elhers, Jabari Zuberi, Terence Nance & Sanford Biggers, Lauren Kelley, Lewis Vaughn and a special screening of Memory Room 452 by John Akomfrah.

*Besides appearing at MOONDANCE at PS1 next week, King Britt will also be opening the exhibition, Omnipresent, for the reboot of the science fiction magazine, Omni Magazine. on April 11th at Red Bull Studios in NYC.

*”Cool Jobs: Comic Illustrator Talks Art and Race in the World of Superheroes-” Afua Richardson Interview on Black Enterprise: “From what I’ve seen, there are some amazing black male artists in the industry – there’s Brian Stelfreeze, Nelson Blake, Sanford green, Keron Grant—they’re there. What I think ends up happening is a lot of aspiring black creators often make these kind of cliché comics. They make comics about the hood or about Egypt and they don’t push the perimeters of what being black can be defined as. Perhaps they think that because there’s not a lot of black protagonists, people should support them ,regardless of the quality of their work. They’re almost like, “Well, we’re not accepted, we’re not represented in comics properly so just accept this current effort.”  The problem I have with that, is they’re expecting Marvel and DC to tell their story instead of telling it themselves . being black is not a handicap. You can’t expect someone else to tell your story and get it correctly. I would hope they’d aspire to be a universal creator. Put your culture in your work, but also tell a good story. Make it, so that anyone can receive this and understand. If you create something for a niche market, understand the limitations of that niche. Beyond popular belief, Black people are not a niche market. The concepts, the stories, the things that blacks as a whole have contributed to humanity go beyond hip-hop and the streets.”

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Modern Griots Interviews: Daví


Davi for BK Museum2Previously, I reviewed musician, dancer and DJ Daví‘s work, now here is an interview with him where he discusses his show at the Brooklyn Museum, The Beginning of Everything eating, his love for Wangechi Mutu’s work, his first EP, Got the Seed and lessons he learned from Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, Melvin Van Peebles and Cubic Zirconia. Read below:
1) How did you realize and develop your passions for these different creative interests that you have?
I honestly don’t have a moment in my memory when I realized I wanted to be who I am today because it was all I ever knew I was passionate about. When I was 6, my mother took me to see the touring production of The Wiz with Stephanie Mills and I remember for months I would act out the scene when the Wizard debuts for my babysitter, “So-you-wanted-meet the wizaaaaaard.” 
 
2) How do the multiple ways you express yourself creatively, from music to dancing to DJing, show the different features of who you are?
Music shows my mind. Dance illustrates my understanding. DJing shows my appreciation.

3) What was the process of piecing together your album “Got the Seed” and your performance, “The Beginning of Everything eating?” How did they differ?
 
Orchestrating the “Got the Seed” EP was really a slow but organic process. Took about a year and some change. I waited to hear production that moved me and once I did, the melodies then words filled themselves in through me. The project as a whole is about recognizing that you got all you need is a seed so what then grows from the seed is as much about an understanding of your seed as it is about doing or being something. Understanding it’s an inward and outward process.
 
Orchestrating the “The Beginning of Everything eating” was a much different process. I watched Wangechi Mutu’s “The End of eating Everything” countless times, studied many of Mutu’s interviews and visited the “A Fantastic Journey” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum numerous times. Over the course of about 5 month I gradually developed the show you experienced – the concept of the 7 scenes, narrative, music, poetry and choreography were made to hopefully give a reflection Mutu’s intentions within her work. 
 
The contrast of both our works in my opinion is the necessity of understanding self. In order to contribute the you that only you can to the world, you gotta love and accept the collage of colors, experiences and wonders that you be. 

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Otherworldly Videos: Shola Amoo’s Touch


British filmmaker Shola Amoo‘s film Touch, which he recently premiered in the United States at The Future Is Weird showcase, is now online. The futuristic short follows Jessica and George who are in love, but Jessica hides a secret which puts her life in danger as she chooses to love and go her own path. Based on what I saw, I already want this to be a longer film. Amoo is also currently working on his next film, A Moving Image.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Afrofuturism/Afrosurrealism, Film

 

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Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Digital Griots and Does Africa Dream of Androids?


Alternative cover by artist Ronald Davis.

While searching for random stuff through the internet again, I came across Adam Joel Banks 2011 book, Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age. The book looks at the intersections between African American cultures and community building, and new technology and new media, the intersections between tradition and innovation and the constant search for new connections that others have not found. Utilizing the guide of the DJ as the modern “griot and master rhetor,” Banks sees the guide of his book as “standing between tradition and future, holding the power to shape how both are seen/heard/felt/known. exhibiting mastery of techniques, but always knowing that techniques carry stories, arguments, ways of viewing the world, that the techniques arrange the texts, that every text carries even more stories, arguments, epistemologies.”

One of his chapters, “Remix: Afrofuturistic Roadmaps — Rememory Remixed for a Digital Age,” specifically analyzes the old schooland “back in the day” phrases, how they reveals tensions and celebrations within African American cultures between past, present and future and how each interact with one another, and how the remix is one of the tools used in and a product of that interaction. Click here for samples from other chapters.

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Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts


*Please DONATE to the blog! Any amount is appreciated! Either click on the donate button on the side or send donations to paypal via my email svfreebird87@gmail.com. Thank you!

Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program

*”Don’t Blame Science Fiction for Hollywood’s Race Problem:” “And there’s a decent amount of it these days, because the post-millennial resurgence in Afrofuturism has been one of the more fascinating and welcome developments of the last decade or so. This trend been written about a fair amount in relation to music — the most prominent example is Janelle Monáe and her ArchAndroid mythos, but there’s also the hyperspace hip hop of Flying Lotus and Deltron 3030 and the more esoteric work of acts like Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program, whose most recent album, Back On the Planet, was one of the under-appreciated joys of last year.

You hear less about an Afrofuturist revival in film and literature, but if there’s not been a resurgence in other areas of pop culture, it might be because, hey, Afrofuturism never really went away. Octavia Butler was writing right up until her death in 2006, and produced as rich a body of work as any of her white male contemporaries. And once you start digging, there’s a wealth of writing that addresses the future from the perspective of people of color, from the reasonably well-known to the fascinatingly obscure.”

*”Star Wars and the 4 Ways Science Fiction Handles Race:” How science fiction uses metaphor, tokenism, diversity and explicit dealing with racial issues to handle race.

 

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Art of This World: City Trips


Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to see some out of this world art, so I’m sharing some of it.

These are from the Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties exhibition that I saw at Brooklyn Museum:

Barkley L. Hendricks’ “Icon for My Man Superman (Superman never saved any black people—Bobby Seale), 1969

 

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