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*Check out my two features on Atlanta Blackstar’s Blerds series, “Using Afrofuturism to Power New Modes of Tech,” and The Root’s My Thing Is series, “Maybe My Weird Version of Blackness Isn’t That Weird.”
*Newswise’s “Science Fiction Through Lens of Racial Inclusiveness: Prestigious grant will fund exploration of ethnic futurisms at UCR in 2015-16:” “The University of California, Riverside will expand that universe with a yearlong exploration of ethnic futurisms that have been largely overlooked or marginalized until recently, a program of events funded by a prestigious $175,000 Sawyer Seminar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“Alternative Futurisms,” which will launch in September 2015, will bring together African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American scholars, artists and writers to examine the colonial roots and legacies of science fiction and the power of speculative fiction as a tool for social change.”
*Listen to Africa Writes 2014 – Imagining Future Africa: Sci Fi, Innovation & Technology panel discussion featuring ” Ivor W. Hartmann, writer, editor, publisher and visual artist; Tade Thompson, writer, psychiatrist and clinical director for Adult Mental Health at St James Hospital, Portsmouth; and Geoff Ryman, writer and senior lecturer at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester. Moderated by Emma Dabiri, PhD researcher at Goldsmiths University and teaching fellow at SOAS.”
*Afropunk’s “FEATURE: ‘Juniper Leaves‘ fantasy book features Black kinky-haired queer nerd:“”AFROPUNK contributor Jaz Joyner is self-publishing a fantasy book featuring a Black kinky-haired queer nerd as the main character. She tells us: “After a year of reaching out to agents and publishing firms with the continuous response that the book ‘sounds good but may not be marketable,’ I decided to take matters into my own hands and self publish.”
Click here if you’d like to support the project (Kickstarter campaign).”
*Huffpost’s “Sci-Fi Artist Saya Woolfalk Creates A Hallucinatory Human Mandala From Dancers:” “The artist, whose father is African American and white and whose mother is Japanese, conjures mythical utopias to explore ideas of race, sexuality, difference, hybridization, cooperation and creativity. Her multimedia works summon viewers on a multicolored trip through mythical research, bunk biology and bizarre costumes, exposing cultural rituals as the fantastical occurrences they have been all along.
Her 2012 exhibition “The Empathics” introduced viewers to a bizarre breed of women who, after encountering genetically unusual buried remains, begin experiencing psychedelic visions that transform them into part plant, part animal hybrids.
This uncanny species, dubbed the Empathics, are an extremely porous culture, literally absorbing their cultural influences and physically mutating as a result. When searching for an iconography suitable for her mythical breed, Woolfalk incorporated the mandala, a nest of squares and circles that, to many, represent the cosmos.
“For Buddhist practitioners however,” the Asian Art Museum explains, “mandalas are not just images to view, but worlds to enter — after recreating the image in their mind’s eye, meditators imaginatively enter its realm.”
*Black Girls Code received $190,000 from Google for their Initiative, “which will teach 75 black and Latina teens how to build a mobile app in one day.” Awesome!
*Colorlines’ “New Fellowship Prepares People of Color for Coding Careers.”
*There’s a Black Twitter Project. What do you think about that?
*Watch Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace on PBS.
*BFI will be hosting a series of events, programs and screenings for their Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder from October to December and will include weekends of Afrofuturism (Afrika Bambaataa will also be there).
*Take a look at The Black Atlantic Project website and its series of programs running to November in Berlin: “The autumn programme at the House of World Cultures follows the diverse reference systems and networks of the African Diaspora into the western hemisphere. Black Atlantic is the title of an interdisciplinary series of events featuring concerts, performances, literature, visual art installations, film, discussions and conferences. It connotes the dynamics, diverse currents and widely branching connections of transatlantic Black cultures.”
*Change.Org Petition for “Withdraw the racist Exhibition “Exhibit B – The Human Zoo” from showing at the Barbican from 23rd-27th September:” “A piece of work, ‘Exhibit B’, by the controversial white South African Brett Bailey is coming to the Barbican Centre in London this September. It is based on the 19th century phenomenon of the human zoo, in which African tribespeople were displayed for the entertainment of European and American audiences. One case describes the Congolese pygmy Ota Benga who, in 1906, was put on display at the Bronx zoo in New York alongside the apes and giraffes. They literally created human zoos at the expense of black people.
This piece of work by Bailey has been toured around Europe sparking protests and outrage by anti-racism campaigners. Now it is coming to London, and I’m calling on the Barbican not to display it…
If Brett Bailey is trying to make a point about slavery this is not the way to do it. The irony gets lost and it’s not long before the people behind the cage begin to feel like animals trapped in a zoo. One of the actors in his piece said “How do you know we are not entertaining people the same way the human zoos did?”
Bailey himself sounds unsure as to the impact of this work. In an interview with the Guardian he says: “For all I know, I could look back at Exhibit B in 10 years and say, ‘Oh my God, I am doing exactly what they are accusing me of.”
*Indiegogo and Trailer for Afrofuturism and The NuWave Documentary about the South African music industry:
*MTV Iggy’s “7 Artists Making Afrofuturist R&B a Thing (That We Love)”
*Large Up’s “Visual Culture: Lee “Scratch” Perry’s “The Death of Baphomet” Art Show:” ” While I don’t fully agree with the current meanings of illuminati and baphomet symbolism, I do agree with some of his underlying points, so here is the description of his art show:
For his latest artistic statement, entitled The Death of Baphomet, Perry is taking on the Illuminati. According to a recorded message from Perry posted to YouTube, work from the show, at Dem Passwords Gallery in Los Angeles, will depict the death of the devil “and his puppet Jay-Z.” The press release sent out by Dem Passwords, which presented Perry’s two previous solo shows Secret Education and Repent Americans (the gallery’s founder, Ethan Higbee, produced the Perry documentary The Upsetter), deserves to be read in full:
One of the last of the loose cannons, Lee Perry is at war with original sin. In league with the earth, sky, sun and snow, Perry’s metaphorology takes over international banking institutions and targets celebrity Satanists and Freemasons with a spirit rooted in a sort of Rasta Gnosticism cloaked in Christian imagery. Perry’s medium is myth and his art is about reifying the sanctity of nature over the right of Capital rule. With a scatological eschatology Perry is always working to bring an end to things as they are. He seeks to upset. His ceremonial reverence for his sh*t and piss works to that end, but while Perry calls himself The Upsetter, he also means to lift people up. ‘I’m coming to make all my fans in America laugh,’ Perry says. But Perry is also coming to, ‘…give all of the American dollars to UBS bank and send famine to United States of America…famine without end, put that on Facebook.’ …
The Death of Baphomet presents 4 interrelated output styles – writings, spell casting paintings, assemblages and video. The mirrors he’s long since Pattexed (glued) to his hats and boots have been enlarged and get full treatment. Perry’s pre-stretched canvases stack vertically forming a kind of shattered crucifix affixed with photos of himself and clippings from German magazines. Stones, coconuts and Spencer’s Gifts detritus come together to form object collages. An unabridged dictionary-thick volume of Perry’s writings in Microsoft Word from 2007 published in an edition of 3 by this gallery contains over 1,000 pages of original epic poetry that Perry pecked out with his index finger.
The Death of Baphomet opens this Friday, August 29th, and runs through October 11th. Perry, who treated guests at his last opening to a three-hour painting marathon, will be in attendance.
*Uvera Oumbajua is a self-proclaimed oracle and she helps the homeless. Read the Huffpost piece about her:
*Feministing’s “Nine years after Katrina, New Orleans’ Voodoo community is rebuilding:” “Anderson goes on to detail that the disaster has forced the two strains of Voodoo — Haitian Vodou and New Orleans Voodoo — to support each other through the rebuilding process. Now, there are more inter-community gatherings, even as old rivalries and debates continue.
We can only hope that this resilient community manages to rebuild itself in the face of environmental racism, income inequality, and a legacy of colonization. Voodoo — and other Afro-descendent religions throughout the Americas — has dealt with more than its fair share of racism, stigma, and violence. I find this particularly sad, not just because religions like Voodoo, Santería, Candomblé and Umbanda are living examples of resistance against colonialism and white supremacy, but also because they are well known for being particularly inclusive of women. Afro-Latinx religions generally value women as priestesses alongside men (or even above men), and many see sexuality as a human trait to be celebrated.”
*Slate’s “A Unique African-American Culture, Hundreds of Years Old, That Could Go Extinct:” “When Marovich moved to Hilton Head Island in the 1990s, he started meeting Gullah people and learning about their history and culture. Brought to America from “the primarily rice-producing regions of West and Central Africa,” the Gullah/Geechee people worked the plantations of the American southeast, where they “developed a separate creole language and distinct culture patterns that included more of their African cultural traditions than the African-American populations in other parts of the United States.” After emancipation, the Gullah/Geechee remained in the same rural coastal communities where they were once enslaved. For many years after that, their communities thrived without much interference from outsiders. They were free to continue long-held traditions of “making seagrass baskets, fishing with handmade nets, burying their dead by the seashore, and living life simply,” as Marovich wrote in the introduction to his book, Shadows of the Gullah Geechee.”
*The Brooklyn Rail’s “10 Divinations on Hip Hop As Sacred Medicine: Blood Time, Sex Rituals & Ancestral Communion of the Mother Tongue:” Features Aesthetic Cool, Blood Time, Rapper as Contemporary Griot, Ecstatic Drumming as Rebirth of Ancestral Power, Gender Blender, Shapeshifters and Tricksters, The Goddess Was a Big Booty Hoe, Words Weave the World, Spiritual Hedonism Predates Spiritual Morality, and Vernacular Speech as Universal Mother Tongue
*Black Girl Nerds’ “Meteor Man: Will There Ever Be Another Black Superhero?” Also, Black Girl Nerds will be part of New York Super Week doing a live podcast on October 4th at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn.
*The Root’s “Black Is the New Face of American Comic Book Heroes:” To tell you the the truth, I am not impressed with previously white superheroes now becoming black. I want our own.
*Indiegogo for Griot Sway Youth Music Video and Release Party: “Griot Sway is a hot new rap by kids that celebrates African American heritage and culture. We’ve made the song and now we’re making the music video and premiering it at our music video release party where the kids will perform Griot Sway live!”
*Afropunk’s “FEATURE: Visual Artist, Gordon Skinner: Decolonizing Through Art:” “The power of art is embedded in the mind of the artist, becoming vulnerable so that it commits to its greatest potential. And though art is indeed subjective, knowing the artist’s muse makes for an even greater understanding of what we see- the product of a brilliant mind! Some people have an innate gift for combing their state of being to their craft and painter, Gordon Skinner happens to be one! There’s an urge to enlighten in which he has committed himself to. Within his wondrous paintings lie a divine connection between the past, present, and future of the African diaspora. “
*FNB’s Cyrus Kabiru Interview: “I’m an artist who works with different mediums, mostly giving trash a second chance. I started making art when I was young to make the things I wanted but wasn’t allowed. My dad never allowed me to have real glasses because when he had a pair his mother beat him when they broke, and so he had hated glasses ever since. This is why I started making glasses from pieces of trash.”
*The Quietus’ “Telepathic Relations: An Interview With Shabazz Palaces:” “The astral hip hop of Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces conjures up a disorienting and thrilling patchwork of shifting moods and sensations. Laura Snoad speaks to vocalist Ishmael Butler about new album Lese Majesty, the science fiction of Octavia Butler, and the importance of ambiguity.”
*Vice’s “FKA Twigs Is the Only British Popstar Changing Attitudes About Sexuality:” (I’m pretty sure the title is a hyperbole, but okay): ““Weird things can be sexy,” Twigs said in an interview with the Guardian last month, with the awareness that she’s probably the weirdest, sexiest artist to come out of the UK since David Bowie’s legging-clad crotch co-starred in The Labyrinth. Channeling Aaliyah circa Queen Of The Damned via GHE20G0TH1K, Twigs’ music is like a refresher course in sexuality after a decade of Adeles, Coldplays and Ben Howards have been repping us with all the eroticism of a pool party round Michael Barrymore’s house.”
*Monitor’s “Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs related to Ugandans – DNA:” “A DNA test of a group of mummies from the Amarna Egyptian Pharaohs matched the genetic profiles of the population of the Great Lakes region.” Well, there you have it.
*NBCNews’ “NIH finally makes good with Henrietta Lacks’ family — and it’s about time, ethicist says:” “On Tuesday, the National Institute of Health announced it was, at long last, making good with Lacks’ family. Under a new agreement, Lack’s genome data will be accessible only to those who apply for and are granted permission. And two representatives of the Lacks family will serve on the NIH group responsible for reviewing biomedical researchers’ applications for controlled access to HeLa cells. Additionally, any researcher who uses that data will be asked to include an acknowledgement to the Lacks family in their publications. “ They won’t be receiving financial compensation, but it is at least something.
*Why is it that when either unfortunate situations happen to some white people or they are caught doing something horrific, they immediately blame African-derived religions or spirituality. Or they just black people in general.
*Ridley Scott’s response to why Exodus is so white is why I don’t go for empty phrases like “multiculturalism” and “diversity.”
The Seshen‘s “Unravel” from EP Unravel set to release on Tru Thoughts on October 6th/7th
“Angular-psychedelic-beat driven-electronic might be a good genre name for us, but we’re constantly changing how we do things and are pretty wary of being labelled.”
–Kelela and Le1f’s “OICU”
–Fantasma featuring JosiahWise Is the SerpentwithFeet’s “Sefty Belt” from their forthcoming Eye of the Sun EP set for release November 3rd via Soundway Records
–Spinelli Salem’s Thrash: Valium One EP (See Afropunk feature on her and Witch House Genre)
–Afrhizomatic Playlist of Afrofuturistic music
–Georgia Anne Muldrow’s “These Worlds” (Studio Video)