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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: Nova Sparks’ ‘Dome’


The first in its trilogy, Nova Spark‘s apocalyptic, alien novel Dome is filled with characters figuring themselves out as their home disappears and a new questionable home arises that forces them to find the truth and what is real home.

Alternating between the point of views of a father and daughter, Sam and Emma, the story begins with Sam, who is having an affair and taking his life and family for granted. His daughter, Emma, who does well in school, is just as unenthusiastic about life, manufacturing drugs in a lab to sell to other students. But it is when Sam starts having dreams about the end of the world and is compelled to act on them to try to save Earth, his entire family, his wife, Kat, and Emma, along with thousands of others are transported to another world – one manufactured by a alien race, The Syrion, to simulate home. Yet what they soon begin to discover is that this new home is not home sweet home and more like a lab where they are the animal experiments.

Spark’s story is a narrative about how a crisis takes one out of their comfort zone or rut but can revitalize strained or dying relationships between people. The destruction of Earth and the suspicions about the Syrion brings Sam, Emma and Kat together again. It is also like an intergalactic versioning of history — the alien Syrions claim to “save” humans from their own destruction but it turns out that the former group may have actually caused the destruction of the other’s home or abducted them and quarantine them for their own desires, for experimentation, for control, for power. Sound familiar?

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Modern Griots Reviews: Highlights from Word, Rock and Sword Concert


Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon

I love seeing spaces where a group of women with so much power, spirit, energy, creativity and love, and who break the mold get the shine they deserve. So here is some shine for them today. In their fourth year, the Toshi Reagon-presented and funded (with no sponsors) Word, Rock and Sword Festival provides a space for women and LGBTQ communities to express themselves and find healing. The events included health and creative workshops,community gatherings/services, author readings and film screenings, and justice conversations. This was my first year in attendance and the event I was able to attend was the musical concert — A Musical celebration of Women’s Lives — on Saturday evening at Le Poisson Rouge lounge.

The women that gathered together that night were truly forces of nature; you could feel the energy rising in the room. Opening the show was Adaku Utah dance to Laura Mvula’s “That’s Alright,” a great match for her dance as Utah moved like a dancer-warrior prepared for spiritual battle, much like in the song. The night proceeded with acts familiar and not so familiar to me, a variety of young and old, fun and serious, funk and folk. Some of the memorable artists of the night included revolutionary poetry and music of Climbing Poetree and The Mahina Movement, June Millington still rocking it at 66 with her song “Gods and Foreign Strangers,” Hanifah Walidah’s funktastic high energy performance of “We Got It,” Be Steadwell’s “queer pop and soul” song of magical love, “Witch,” Toshi Reagon’s rendering of Patreese Johnson’s (Out in the Night) poem about struggling mothers, and Marcelle Davies Lashley’s performance of her song “I Found God in Myself,” appropriate for the 40th anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s book, For Colored Girls. Nona Hendryx ended the night with a bang performing “Chameleon,” “Gypsy Moths,” and “Sweat,” having her own booty shaking line on stage. Words, Rock and Sword stresses throughout the sacredness and complexity of women’s lives, and that women’s healing comes from receiving justice for the oppressions done to us as well as the freedom to express and explore of our voices and our bodies. And that deserves a big spotlight.

Below are some of the artists and the works performed Saturday and here’s a link to more info about the events and artists from the festival:

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music


Melanie “Coco” Mccoy

*The Sci-fi anthology, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction From Social Justice Movements, will be released in Spring 2015 by AK Press! The anthology includes short stories from LeVar Burton, Terry Bisson, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Alixa Garcia, Autumn Brown, Bao Phi, David Walker, Dani McClain, Dawolu Jabari Anderson, Gabriel Teodros, Jelani Wilson, Kalamu ya Salaam, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Mia Mingus, Morrigan Phillips, Tara Betts, Tunde Oluniran, Vagabond, adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as an introduction by Sheree Renee Thomas.

*Kickstarter fundraiser for Latino/a Rising , an anthology featuring U.S.-based Latino/a science fiction work.

*Fundraiser for “Kindred: School-Wide Summer Reading” class project (Ms. Durkin‘s Books project at Coppin Academy 432 in Baltimore, MD): Help every student in the class receive a copy of Octavia Butler’s book!

*Afropunk’s “FEATURE: Visual Artist Melanie “Coco” McCoy Unravels The Mystery of Sankofa & Afrofuturism:” “When you scroll through Black Twitter or Tumblr you see a lot of young, Black radicals talking about protesting the injustices against our communities and wanting to change the mainstreams ideas pressed on us. However, how many of those “activists” do you really see out in the streets making that wanted change? Visual artist and writer Melanie “Coco” McCoy is regularly amongst the mobs of protesters on and off the computer screen. She stands for Black liberation, feminism/womanism, Black history, spirituality, Afrofuturism, Black female sexuality, and Afrocentric ideals. Many of these resonate in Coco’s paintings. She uses the ideas she studies at Temple University as a African American Studies major and incorporates them into much of her work. Much of her work is based on Sankofa. Sankofa is an Akan word (originating in Ghana) meaning, ‘to go back and fetch it.’ Coco believes deeply in that saying (that we’ve all heard time and time again) ‘you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’re coming from.’”

*Atlanta Blackstar’s Blerd’s “Black Speculative Tech – Uses of Technology in Black Science Fiction, Part 1:” Rasheedah Phillips (The Afrofuturist Affair) is looking for other examples as well.

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Otherworldly Videos: Trip Into the Underworld – Kode-9 & The Spaceape and Okmalumkoolkat


Kode-9 & The Spaceape’s “The Devil Is a Liar” from the upcoming EP, The Killing Season. This EP covers themes of confronting illness, the unknown, and “things not being what they seem or appear to be.” In the video, Spaceape (Stephen Gordon) is clearly dressed like Baron Samedi (Hatian Voudou loa of death), one of the influences for the look of the video. Read more in the interview about the video and EP on The Fader.

Okmalukoolkat of Future Mfana latest video “Allblackblackkat,” a  “hyper-surreal take on a Zulu cleansing ceremony performed on a male member of the family before funerals, a ritual which Okmalumkoolkat himself experienced as a child.” He describes his persona as “future concepts in the now…Like Zulu sci-fi but it’s also all about highlights. Most things that are edited out of our known history, from his point of view of course.” (Source: Okay Africa and OA2). This is from his latest EP, Holy Oxygen I.

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Behind the Mask: Interview with DOPEciety’s Denisio Truitt


Fulani T-shirt

Recently, at MoCADA‘s Soul of Brooklyn Launce and Concert, I was introduced to Denisio Truitt’s line, DOPEciety, which she described as afrofuture apparel. I was intrigued and so I interviewed her to find out the inspiration for her line and her plans for it. Read below:

1) How did you become interested in fashion and how did you start your clothing line, including creating its name? Who or what are some of your fashion inspirations?

My mother loves to tell the story of how I used to raid her closet at eight and nine years old and cut up her clothes to make outfits for myself.  Eventually she taught me how to sew clothes for my dolls and then for myself. I’d have to say though I only really took an interest in fashion a little after college. I was artistically blocked (I’m a former English and Studio Art Major), so creating outfits and clothing became a different medium for self expression. I used to make little one-off t-shirt designs for myself, and people started commenting that they loved them, so I decided spring of 2013 to launch my own t-shirt company. The DOPEciety name is a contraction of “dope” and “society”. The idea for the name, like many of the designs I create, is meant to evoke a sense of duality of being both gritty and high society.

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Moving on the Wires: News, Posts and New Music


Support this blog by donating to my Paypal (send donations to my email svfreebird87@gmail.com) or my become a patron on my Patreon page!

*Growing up, I remember seeing shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch or movies like The Craft, and wanting to see women of color as witches (although The Craft did have Rachel True). If I did see women of color as witches or magic(k) women, they were usually stereotypically portrayed in a degrading manner, like Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean or Tituba in the recent show, Salem. That is why I am happy to find out about MisSpelled, a show featuring witches of color, and written and created by Lindsey McDowell. I wish I found out about this show earlier, but they have a Kickstarter where they are raising funds to continue producing more episodes. See the Kickstarter video and promologue below:

*Black Girl Dangerous’ “Reclaiming the Sacred Black, Indigenous QTPOC Science of Sustainable Living and Survivor-Ship Magic:” “When most people think of scientists, they think of white, cis, non-disabled, heterosexual men in lab-coats cooking up ways for other white, cis, non-disabled, heterosexual people to survive sci-fi horrors like dinosaurs—but who, for what ever reason, can never think of ways to sustain the world’s need for electricity without stripping the earth of vital minerals. These Ivy-League educated, so-called genius scientists who send people to the moon and other planets and calculate the distance between this planet and our neighboring planets in order to speculate the probability of a select few humans living in those other planets, are the same ones who can never seem to figure out and implement ways of making this planet safer for ALL its inhabitants…So many people look to “modern (see western, imperialist, eurocentric) science” as the one true signifier of human brilliance—people who berate Indigenous wisdom as folklore and imagination, people who believe African science to be nothing more than superstition, people who look for “cold hard facts” and never ponder or consider the amount of suffering, exploitation, and oppression that has gone into garnering those facts. These are people who, somehow, believe that western, modern-day science happened in an “objective” vacuum and that it has not consistently worked, hand in hand, with white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism.” (Reading this reminded me of Elizabeth Nunez’s When the Rocks Dance.)

*Amazing Stories’ “Interview: Kaitlyn McKnight YA Author of a YA Novel:” This 12-year-old is the author of her own book, The Zodiac Saga 1: The Search fpr the Temple, Friends, Foes and the Zodians.

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Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Elizabeth Nunez ‘s Books of Caribbean Magic


Next week, Elizabeth Nunez will be read from her memoir, Not for Everyday Use, at the fifth annual ringShout event, which will be the Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event. The event will take place September 16 at 7pm at the Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden in Brooklyn, and also features Bridgett M. Davis (Into the Go-Slow), Saeed Jones (Prelude to Bruise), and Lauren Francis-Sharma (‘Til the Well Runs Dry). By coincidence, i randomly picked up two of Nunez’s works at the library a couple of months ago, Beyond the Limbo Silence, and When the Rocks Dance, and they were great introductions to her mythic and magic-filled writing. As I continue to look for Caribbean works that can be analyzed from an afrofuturist lens, I was fortunate to stumble across her work.

Born in Trinidad, Nunez combines Trinidadian and Caribbean culture with magic realist, mytho-spiritual and mystical elements. The first work of hers I read was Beyond the Limbo Silence, an alternate historical fiction set in 1960s Trinidad and America during the Civil Rights Era that infuses water myths, dreams, Voudou ritual and Obeah magic. The story follows Sara Edgehill, a young woman who feels like an outcast in her native land of Trinidad, Read the rest of this entry »

 

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