Category Archives: Lectures/Conferences

The M(N)STRY: The Legacy of Black Arkives


legacy+brochure+final+(spreads)Etymology of Legacy: late 14c., legacie, “body of persons sent on a mission,” from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus“ambassador, envoy, deputy,” noun use of past participle of legare “send with a commission, appoint as deputy, appoint by a last will” (see legate).

Can the archive be our arsenal and the archivist our warrior in this current war on memory and information? As ambassadors of the black archive, what stories are we sending out and leaving behind? Going in October and last month to the Weeksville Center’s The Legacy Project and their events centered around black archival work and memory reinforced that for me. The Legacy Project is “a continuum of James Weeks’ self-determining actions.” James Weeks, a freedman, purchased land in Brooklyn during the pre-Civil War era and with that land created what became the second largest known independent Black community in the U.S. Under threat of being forgotten, “in 1968, a small group of community activists rediscovered these four dilapidated houses that were rare residential remnants of historic Weeksville. Its rediscovery led to the restoration of the Hunterfly Road Houses, and the formalization of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History, later known as Weeksville Heritage Center.” “The Legacy Project will continue this evolution through activating WHC’s archives, building annual public programs, public training workshops, and an internship program for students of color” interested in archival work.

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M.G. Recap: BSAM Futurismo 2017!


So as you know a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be part of the Black Speculative Arts Movement Conference, #BSAMFuturismo2017, at the Bronx Museum of Arts! Well, let me share with you some of the highlights from the day!

*Aesthetics and Actions in Afrofuturism/Black Speculative Thought:

Before I get to the above topic, I wanted to share this film that I had the chance to see — Òrun Aiyê, which was directed by Jamile Coelho and written by Cintia Maria. It is  a stop-motion animated film  that tells a candomble version of the Yoruba creation story.

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Astro-Caribbean: Zak Ove


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Nubian Return by Zak Ove (Source: Arc Magazine)

Since tomorrow I will be moderating the Astro-Caribbean panel, Midnight Robber Chronicles, which was inspired by Nalo Hopkinson’s speculative novel Midnight Robber, I thought I’d share an a British artist whose work centers on exploring the significance of Caribbean carnival.

 

According to Trinidadian/Irish- British artist Zak Ove, Caribbean carnival, especially those in Trinidad, started as a mockery of European colonialists, but then became a declaration of “we can be anything” and “not just what we’ve been duped” into believing we are by these colonialists. It became an investigation through transfigurement and costume into all kinds of mythologies and into a sense of Africanism that had been subdued and suppressed through slavery.

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Moving on the Wires: BSAM in the Bronx


 

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Art by Will Focus

I am happy to announce that I will be moderating a panel Black Speculative Arts Movements conference on April 22nd at the Bronx Museum of Arts. The panel is the first in the Astro-Caribbean series.

According to the founders of BSAM, “Black Speculative Arts Movement, aka BsaM, is an annual Afrofuturism, black comics, and arts convention held at multiple colleges and universities throughout the United States. BSAM encompasses different positions or basis of inquiry: Afrofuturism, Astro Blackness, Afro-Surrealism, Ethno Gothic, Black Digital Humanities, Black (Afro-future female or African Centered) Science Fiction, The Black Fantastic, Magical Realism, and The Esoteric.

Our annual conventions, co-founded by associate professor and chair of the Humanities department at Harris-Stowe State University, Reynaldo Anderson, and founder of Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCA, Maia Crown Williams, will include vending from a vast amount of comics, art, and artisan creators and vendors, live performances, a full international film festival via MECCAcon, afrofuturism, social activism, and comic centered seminars, classes, hand on workshops, plays, and much more. Students are also welcome to submit proposals to participate as well. We also heavily encourage schools to attend in groups.”

This conference is named #BSAMfuturismo2017 and you can buy tickets here. Read below the panel description and the panelists who will be joining me!

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Blogging While Brown Recap


Photo: At Blogging While Brown #BWBNYC #FABWB

I learned a lot at my first Blogging While Brown conference, so I wanted to share some of what I learned and have done already:

The opening keynote from Markus Robinson of Interactive One opened my eyes to several new ways to gather traffic and reach out to a large audience. Some of his advice included besides social media sharing and guest blogging were to put your blog in your email signature (which I do), post on Craigslist, answer questions on Quora, post SlideShare presentations and update Wikipedia pages. So far, I have placed my blog in the external links on the afrofuturism page.

Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup was a book frequently mentioned at the conference and Robinson used the lean marketing loop points – acquisition (get viewers to site), activation (join/buy), retention (come back), and referrals (other people join) – and tools to use to help to do it:

For email lists – Mail Chimp or Constant Contactor

For analytics of site – Google Analytics, Segment.Io, Mix Panel, Lucky Orange (real-time), Lead Converter, Optimizely (not free) and Social Crawlytics. Also, Luvvie and Scott mentioned Feedburner

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Blogging While Brown Entry


Program interruption: This is my entry for Blogging While Brown scholarship.

My blog, Futuristically Ancient, has been running for a little over two years. I started blogging a couple of years before that as another way to express myself, since I am not much of a talker. As for this blog, I started it after watching a clip of John Akomfrah’s The Last Angel of History; I thought it did a great job of connecting pasts, presents and futures, which was already one of my interests. Later on, I found out about afrofuturism, reigniting my interest in science fiction and fantasy, and declared that as the focus of my blog.

While this blog started as a side things for fun, I do want to be more serious about how to expand it and connect with others. But I am slightly introverted and shy, as Stacia L. Brown said in her post, so networking is not that easy for someone like me. Blogging While Brown, which will be in my home city this year and would be my first time attending, seems like a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and learn from the more advanced and professional bloggers their tricks and techniques, since I am still somewhat of a newbie.

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Otherworldly Videos: Louis Chude-Sokei Reading


Hello everyone, I’m back! With my return, I will be posting at a later time (8:00pm) and for the next couple of weeks, the blog will have a Caribbean afrofuturist focus, especially since I wrote a piece for Africa Is Done Suffering about a need to highlight more of Caribbean experience into diaspora (and in this case, afrofuturist) conversation.

First, here is Nigerian-born, Jamaican-raised scholar and writer, Louis Chude-Sokei, reading about the story of PT Barnum and Joice Heth from The Last Darky: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (Williams was Antiguan, by the way). The reading was at the Plummeting Appliances, Dying Verbs, Enslaved Automatons fiction forum at 601 Artspace in New York City earlier this year. Chude-Sokei reads about PT Barnum and his early show that featured Joice Heth, an elderly slave, and the turk chess machine. He uses the story to discuss the intersections between the use of deception in modern media, othering/objectification/exploitation of race and ethnicity, and the presence of robotics/machinery to question what is human.

The story of PT Barnum is also referenced in Chude-Sokei’s essay in Burntcork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy, called “The Uncanny Histories of Minstrels and Machines, 1835-923.” You can read most of the essay here. Also watch Chude-Sokei’s lecture “When Echoes Return: Roots, Diaspora and Possible Africas (A Eulogy)” analyzing the role of a symbolic Africa in reggae, and his article, “Redifining ‘black.'”