Category Archives: Projects/Other’s Work

“Space:Queens” Exploring Afrofutures in Queens


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NYS Pavilion/Munchkinland in “The Wiz”

Like Dorothy, I took my home for granted…

Welcome to Women’s History Month! We just left Black History/Future Month and a thought came to me to do a link between the two with a new segment called “Space:Queens.” In this new blog segment, I will be doing writeups and interviews focused on afrofuturism within my own home borough of Queens!

Growing up in Queens, it always felt as if the borough was treated as outer space. It’s reputation as a kind of wasteland was popularized by F. Scott Fitzgerald calling it “The Valley of the Ashes” in The Great Gatsby, which Robert Moses later turned into Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Flushing Meadows Corona Park was home to the 1964 World’s Fair, whose focus was to showcase the latest and possible innovations of the day. Yet, most of the attention of the city has been focused on Manhattan and Brooklyn. I know many people who have said they didn’t like to venture out to the borough. I even wanted to move to Brooklyn once because I thought it was a central mecca for Black and Caribbean cultures.

But recently I have been exploring more and more of my borough and all the wonderful

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Men in Black Unisphere scene

surprises hidden in it. There is so much unexplored within Queens, which is why I decided to set my fantasy book (“The E”) in the borough.

 

Because of Queens’ treatment as an outer space region of the city, the history of the World’s Fair and technological innovation, the technological transformation of the Valley of the Ashes into Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and The Unisphere and NYS Pavilion having this retro-futuristic appearance, I am not shocked that the later two have been used in science fiction and fantasy film, including Men In Black, The Wiz (“Munchkinland”) and Tony Stark’s Stark Expo.

Starting this month, I will post features about Queens-related visionaries who are helping to change the borough, the city and the world and visionary stories about Queens! First up are Yvonne Shortt and Shante Paradigm Smalls!

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Moving on the Wires: Afrofuturism 2.0 Call for Papers, Janelle Monae + Erykah Badu, Kelis


*Call for chapters for an anthology on Afrofuturism 2.0:

"We are soliciting scholarly research, theoretical essays, and applied
studies that explore how the concept of Afrofuturism is related to
Africana Studies for an anthology...Authors are to submit a 250-300 word abstract 
for consideration by the editors by June 10, 2013. Authors of accepted 
abstracts will be notified by July 10. Final submission will be 
due by October 30, 2013."

For more information on essays wanted, click here.

*Here are two new funky tracks from Janelle Monae and Kelis:

Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu – “Q.U.E.E.N.”

Kelis – “Call On Me”

Moving-on-the-Wires: Call for Participants: Beyond and Between the Crescent and the Cross


If any of you are interested, here is a project about the diaspora and spirituality that I saw on poet Caits Meissner‘s blog:

“My name is Kameelah Janan Rasheed and I am a photo-based artist, archivist & historian, writer, and high school teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. I am embarking on a new project that I have been dreaming about for over a decade. At 26, I feel ready to take on this project called BEYOND AND BETWEEN THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS.

Working primarily as a photographer, but also as an oral historian and an archivist, I seek to document the varied ways people of African descent in America explore spirituality outside of the traditional iterations of Islam and Christianity. I was raised in Sunni Muslim family, attended a Catholic high school, and currently live in an Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Still a practicing Muslim, my curiosity piqued at the age of 15 when I began to research the Moorish Science Temple and Black self-proclaimed prophets of the early 1900s.

Looking beyond the hue diversity of my community, simply, I want to document our spiritual diversity. I want to hear stories. I want to ask questions. I want to connect paths. I am interested in interviewing and photographing self-identified Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Rastafarians, Mormons, Moors, Five Percenters, non-identifying, Agnostics, Atheists, etc. of African descent/Black based in the United Stated. Let’s connect. The end “product” of this work is an audio and photography-based exhibit that will start as a growing web-based archive.  If you are interested in being interviewed and/or photographed (this can be a portrait of you, a physical space, a material/artifact, etc.) or have questions/suggestions, please contact me directly.

Email: kameelah.rasheed@gmail.com // Phone: (347) 903-5475 

I am based in Brooklyn, NY and more than willing to travel to Upstate NY and throughout the five boroughs, New Jersey, D.C/Maryland/Virginia, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and Boston. When I secure additional funding, I will be able to travel a greater distance so please let me know if you’re interested even if you do not live in the areas listed above.

While this whole project is unfolding, I will be posting research and process notes here.

I am excited to hear from you!

Peace,

Kameelah Janan Rasheed”