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 theYoruba creation story.
*If you are in London, next month will have the opening of Re-introducing Oshun, which will be an interdisciplinary exhibition “discussing black women’s bodies, gender and sexual expression through the lens of the Orisha, Oshun” and re-imagining “black women’s bodies as sacred of places of, beauty, intimacy and love.” Featuring the work of an all female collective, the exhibition “demystifies the omnipresent gaze placed on black women’s bodies by creating images of black women that look, talk, feel and love like us and in doing so presenting our own truths.”
The exhibition is set to open on October 7 and hosted by Yinka Shinobare, MBE at his Guest Project Space in Hackney, London before culminating into an evening of live performances at Lyric Hammersmith on October 17. “It will be a participatory project moving away from ‘pretty-pictures-on-the-wall’ type exhibition by printing on organza thus allowing the ability of touch for our audience. More so, we wanted our audience to emerge themselves in to another time, space and reality where black women’s bodies are worshiped as the deacon of beauty.”
*The Afrofuturist Affair having their third annual charity and costume ball on November 9 in Philadelphia. This year’s theme is Dark Phase Space. They are currently raising funds for it on Indiegogo. For more events from The Afrofuturist Affair, check out their tumblr and facebook, including the Afrofuturist Affair and Black Tribbles hosting their Return to Octavia City radio broadcast featuring speculative fiction stories two days before the ball.
“Why do I love children? I think it is because the child in each of us is our most precious part” – Walter Dean Myers’ Brown Angel: An Album of Picture and Verse
Despite the destruction of two storms in New York City, the A Is For Anansi conference carried on last weekend, and despite being slightly sick, I managed to attend. Organized by Jaira Placide, associate director of Institute of African American Affairs at NYU and author of Afrofuturism, Socialization and Political Uses of Fantasy and Science Fiction in Black Children’s Literature, and poet Rashidah Ismaili, the conference focused on the future and the re-imagining of children’s literature and education of the African Diaspora. Since this was only the second conference, the last one happened in 2010, Placide and Ismaili introduced the conference by discussing how it came to existence. Mentioning that June 16 is the Day of the African Child, the same day as the Soweto uprising in 1976, they emphasized how we are not paying enough attention to the books that children are reading.
There is a decades long history of people combating the lack of diversity in children’s books. One of the organizations highlighted was the Council on Interracial Books for Children (CIBC), which began in the 1960s with the help of authors like Virginia Hamilton and George Ford. Articles from Brad Chambers, Nancy Larrick and Fern Gillepsie also discussed the absence of people of color in books for children. As Andrea Davis Pinkney said with statistics of lower class communities having only one book for every 300 children, we still have a long way to go with people of color and children’s books. Michelle H. Martin, author of Brown Gold:Children’s Literature and Culture, clearly emphasized the importance in her keynote address, “Who’s Bridge Are You?,” stating that by creating books for our children that reflect them, we are creating legacies, signs of hope, and as we have seen in cases like the ethnic studies courses in Arizona, it is political. Basically, the establishment want us to be mindless. Below are some highlights from the five panels in which each panelist gave a presentation based on the topic: