Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Kyla Marshell and Jason Parham


After reading Ebony’s “7 Black Writers You Should Know,” I wanted to highlight a couple of them in a post. Besides technology reporter Jenna Wortham and her Girl Crush Zine, and Uzoamaka Maduka attempt to revilitalize the American literary magazine with The American Readerthe two writers that stood out to me were Kyla Marshell and Jason Parham. Below is an apocalyptic poem from Marshell in which black people will live on through their hair:

We’ll Always Have Négritude

won’t we? he asks, reaching for my tiny brown
hand. when credits roll in black & white,
& FIN flashes bright across the final frame,
we’ll still be black as vice—won’t we?
he wants to know what happens
to The Last Black Man on Earth
in The Last Black Man on Earth without waiting
for the tentative sequel, after we applaud & lights
come up & someone nameless sweeps our popcorn kernels
into a vortex-shaped box. is that where
The Last Black Man on Earth goes after we’ve
learned no animals were harmed in the making
of this production? does he fade into the white
light of Colored Heaven (which is a real place),
or fall to a fate worse than death—Vermont?
don’t worry, i say to my panicked date,
his hands atremble. The Last Black Man on Earth
finds his way home through the overturned cars
and fallen trees. the sun begins again, & so does he.

Continue reading Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Kyla Marshell and Jason Parham

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Modern Griots Review: Black Futurists Speak


Black Futurists Speak: An Anthology of New Black WritingWhat does it mean to be a “Black Futurist?” Writer and media and technology strategist Kwan Booth gives a glimpse into it as part of the Black Futurist Collective, editing Black Futurists Speak, an anthology including a doctrine, essay, short stories and excerpts, and poetry. The collection was put together after multimedia literary performance took place at the Omiiroo Gallery in Oakland, California last year, which was curated by afrosurrealist D. Scott Miller.

Not only does the anthology center on a variety of futuristic black thought from afrosurrealism to black nationalism to black nerdom, the stories and poetry focus on themes like Octavia Butler’s novels, the mystical and gritty underworld, the interaction between lovemaking and technology, the potential of children and the loss of them, metamorphosis, guardian elders, the pursuit of knowledge in the body and mind, the ritual of music-making and the entering of a new space that is both familiar and not. There are also some pictures of the event at the end. Some excerpts from the book (which costs $1.99 on Amazon) and more photographs related to the book can be read at Booth’s tumblr.

Here is an interview with Booth on THE DIGITAL DRUMMER: Jim Neusom Urban Tech Talk on the Radio, where he discusses the book, and the latest media technology and avenues that people can use to produce, distribute and sell their own e-books.

Modern Griots Reviews: Music To Space Out To…


Funkadelic/Wefunk International (Clip Payne and 420 FUNK MOB) – Eve of the Emperor

Although George Clinton was forced to give away some of his legendary music to settle a debt, he and Funkadelic released some new music. Playing off the “emperor has no clothes” with the “emperor has no clones,” funkadelic is still funkatizing the universe. Give me them guitars!

AniLiMars -Absolute Martian

If the aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind had a beat machine, they would probably sound like this…


V-Dizzle – First Emerald

Great mixtape featuring mixes of video game music, movies, anime, and oldies, like Chi-lites’ “Have You Seen Her,” The White Noise’ “Love Without Sound,” Paul McCartney and the Wings’ “Dear Boy,” and Bob James’ “Weschester Lady.”


Duckwrth – Ducktape

He is a good combination of a current, fresh style and a knowledge of social politics, culture, and history. It collapses the future, present and past, especially in tracks like Hoverboard (there is a part where he almost sounds like Janelle Monae’s rap in “Many Moons.”),  Molotovs, which samples Fela Kuti,  and “When I Was Young,” sampling Ahmad’s “Back in the Day,” almost sounding like an homage to 90s hip-hop groups like Goodie Mob.

Just a Band – Sorry for the Delay

Their music is the right mix of various styles native to their home and abroad without each of them over-empowering the other, and continues the laid-back, light feel overall even in more danceable tracks like “Get Down” and “Bush Baby Disco” with thoughtful ideas. I could listen to this all day.

Behind the Mask: Isaac Hayes


Source; Dusty Groove

Yesterday, I watched Isaac Hayes’ Unsung on TV One and one thing that stood out to me about Hayes besides his musical talent was his fashion sense. The man who co-wrote the superhero lover songs like “Hold On, I’m Coming” and “Soul Man” for Sam and Dave, had his own particular smooth style. For a big, bulky Black man to not be afraid to wear bright colors like pink, red and orange would be thought of as a sign of gayness by some today, it was just a part of psychedelic style of the late 60s and 70s, and Hayes was one leader of that. He matched swagger with sensitivity. He wore the cool, insect-eye sunglasses before artists like Kool Moe Dee, rocked the bald head when it was not popular and wore outfits that made him look like a king from outer space. One such outfit was the one he wore at Wattstax, a vest made out of gold chains, like an alchemic transformation of the old grey metal chains of slavery, wearing it before Mr. T or early hip-hop stars wore gold chains on their necks.

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Art of This World: Risha Rox


This is from the Bombay Sapphire’s Artisan and Imagination Series. Artist Danny Simmons (brother of Russell and Joseph “Run” Simmons) speaks with several different artists about the work they do and the one who caught my eye was Risha Rox. I have seen the photographs of the male model painted like the universe with stars, but did not realize it was her work until now.

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Otherwordly Videos: Cody ChesnuTT’s “Till I Met Thee”


Cody ChestnuTT’s “Till I Met Thee” was directed by Terence Nance and features Ellie Foumbi from the short film Say Grace Before Drowning. Read ‘s interview with him on Africa is a Country’s (the name is a joke).