*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.
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.
Jamaican-American visual artist Renee Cox recently released her latest collection of work, Sacred Geometry: where she turns bodies of various people into mandala-inspired geometric fractal patterns. Given several of the stories I have heard lately in the news, her work is again relevant, reinforcing the divine power and value of ourselves, our cultures, our spirituality, and our bodies that is so often dismissed in the world we live. Here is part of her artist statement about her collection:
“…My new body of work, ‘Sacred Geometry,’ consists of digitally manipulated black & white portraits that display self-similar patterns. They are executed with precision, creating sculptural kaleidoscopes of the human body while exploring the power of symbols as elements of collective imagination. The inspiration for this new work comes from fractals, a mathematical concept centuries old and used by many ancient African cultures.
The work has also been the result of my embrace of the digital world. Bridging the gap between the old and new technology has brought on new challenges and endless possibilities. As the digital world has transformed the medium, I have embraced it and integrated it into my process.
‘Sacred Geometry’ has brought a new viewing experience. The simplicity and connectivity of the fractal concept seems to be engaging the viewer in a profoundly different way, bringing a certain peace, reflection and joy.”
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Despite having a cold last week and recovering from it, which is why I have not posted in a week, I managed to go to three exhibitions — Sol’Sax’s Medicine from Heaven: How African American Culture Was Used to Cure the USA, Maksaens Denis’ Mutation X062 and Kara Walker’s A Subtlety. Below are slideshows from each event:
Sol’Sax‘s Medicine from Heaven: How African American Culture Was Used to Cure the USA at Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn
This exhibition reminded me a lot of Margaret Vendryes’ African Diva Project where traditional African masks are placed on the faces of legendary African-American figures symbolizing the sacredness of African-American and African Diasporic cultures.
I have not done this post in a while, so here it goes:
Recently, Shadow and Act reposted an essay from last year, “African Renaissance, How The Prefix ‘Afro-‘ May Arrest Imagination & Manifesto Salesmanship,” by . I had a few thoughts about it that I formed during a private conversation with Cosmic Yoruba last year, but I never published them. So, I decided to do it now, especially after seeing Pumzi director Wanuri Kahiu’s TED Talk about labels:
I know I am a bit late on reviewing this one, but finally here is my review of it:
Ytasha L. Womack’s Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-fi and Fantasy Culture is a well-thought out introductory book that is a smooth blend between a personal memoir and a reference source for those interested in delving into the world of afrofuturism. Each chapter expands on the last and expands conventional ideas of what afrofuturism is, giving space to many voices within it and giving plenty space for further research into the aesthetic and lens.
Moving on the Wires: Black Science Fiction Festival, Alien Bodies, Blitz the Ambassador and The Last Poets, NYU Black Surrealism Conference…
*Black Science Fiction Film Festival on February 7th in Atlanta, Georgia. Watch clip below:
*The Alien Bodies: Race, Space and Sex in the African Diaspora Conference will be taking place at Emory University on February 8-9 in Atlanta Georgia. Sadly, I won’t be there, but at least it will be recorded for later viewing. Also, after the conference, there will be a Music from the Mothership: Sonic Event at Emory Dobbs University Center.
Ramel Jasir began his painting career in 2006 after a friend advised him to start as a way to deal with some stressful events in his life. As a self-taught artist, he describes (click on the link to see his interview) his art as his “ever-evolving voice in color.” Taking influences from indigenous art found in cultures all over the world, he creates a variety of artwork including realist, abstract, collage and even cartoonish.