Beaming in from Barbados –Back with the Astro-Caribbean series…
The United States has a large comics book industry. But that doesn’t mean other places are not developing their own. As my parents are from Barbados and Dominica, I wanted to feature two comic book creators and publishers making it happen in the Caribbean:
“Beyond Publishing is a group of young and talented Barbadian artists and writers who are seeking to encourage reading and creativity by capturing the imagination of young people and the young at heart.
Beyond Publishing tries to showcase stories with a Barbadian or Caribbean flavour, through several genres: comedy, adventure, educational or drama.”
This month I will be heading to the island of Barbados, where my mother is from, for a few weeks. So I thought why not do a few posts dedicated to speculative imagination of the Caribbean while I’m there! As one exhibition and book were titled, Who More Sci-fi than Us?
Below is a video from Astro-Caribbean/New Flesh spacemen comprised of British rappers Juice Aleem and Toastie Taylor.
This week, this country has elected a egotistical bigot to become the next president of the United States. I am saddened, scared and sobered by it but I am not shocked. This country was founded on favoring white male landowners. The founding fathers were racist slaveowners who though the only men who should be seen as their equals were white, landowning men. I was not included as equal in their vision of the future of this country. This is the country where in 1915, Woodrow Wilson showed the racist film Birth of a Nation at the White House. Jim Crow, segregation, Japanese internment camps, immigrant quotas and exclusion acts, and the like were not that long ago. There are people still alive who lived through those times.
I am not going to pretend to be shocked that this country could elect someone like Trump. It feels surreal. It feels like a reality TV show and it makes sense he is now the leader of this show. But as Colson Whitehead said in The Underground Railroad, America was built on a delusion. It is a grand delusion, built on white supremacist, patriarchal ideals, like manifest destiny. I am not going to pretend otherwise. The mask has been uncovered and we need to accept it in order to move forward. This is what we are dealing with still.
I want to keep moving forward. I want to keep that spirit that kept my ancestors moving forward. Because despite all that history of them telling us we did not deserve a future that we wanted, we are still here. Maybe I am delusional as well, just like Valentine farm in Whitehead’s book, but sometimes we need to fight delusion with delusion, myth with myth. That is why I will continue fighting, continue writing stories that reflect who we really are and can be, not who they tell us we are and can be, continue having this platform to share voices who advocate for alternative presents and futures. We are not going to aid in making American great again for the select few. As Jay Smooth said, the only glimpse of America’s true greatness was our resistance and through that resistance America has reached closer to its ideals. We will continue to fight to create a new vision for America, one that lives up to its ideals, as we have always done.
And I leave you with this line from Parliament’s “Mothership Connection:” “You have overcome because I am here.”
We are here.
(BTW: The My-Stery series title is now changed to The M(N)STRY.)
Who we think we are is a fluid concept. We might have a stable image of ourselves but in reality we are constantly in flux as we come into contact and collide with others. And it’s not just other bodies but other possibilities of your self that disrupts who you are at this moment. The realization that we can be something else we don’t recognize or can’t control can be transcendent and can be frightening.
Kiini Ibura Salaam explores those ideas in her latest speculative short story collection, When the World Wounds, where the outside forces of the world can break open spaces that lead to the displacement and reconstructing of the body, of the self, of identity and place. Salaam’s main grounding tool in that exploration is that of the concept of desire. Through her sensual and erotic descriptive language, as a reader you are opened up as much as the characters in her stories to the point of an ecstatic experience.