My aunt Cicely invited me to be on her show in Westchester, Give and Take: The Positives in Life. In the interview, I talk about my blog, Afrofuturism, the fantasy novel I am writing, and I read one of my poems, too!
Happy Black Speculative Fiction Month!
By the way, I am currently raising money to buy a new laptop and to advance my writing. Head to my GO FUND MEpage! Those who donate will have their names featured on my new Supporters page!
On Thursday and Friday, Brooklyn-based artist Aisha Cousins will present her work-in-progress, Brer Rabbit The Opera: A Funky Meditation On Gentrification, at BRIC House Ballroom as part of their Fireworks residency program. Directed by Letitia Guillory, and in collaboration with Greg Tate and Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, the production follows “…a black middle aged cool marketer, at the tipping point in his battle to claim the American dream, mov[ing] into a notoriously dangerous black neighborhood that just happens to be at the tipping point in its battle with gentrification.” Confronting the modern issue of gentrification through the lens of legendary black folk hero, Brer Rabbit, and his home in the Briar Patch, Cousins’ production explores “tricksterism, techno-anismism, and urban survival techniques” through “music, performance art and community engagement.” Below is my interview with her about her upcoming opera:
1) Can you tell the readers about her background and how it contributed to the development of Brer Rabbit: The Opera?
I write performance art scores (do-it-yourself instructions for live art projects) that engage black folks from different cultures and backgrounds in exploring their overlapping experiences. So one of my favorite projects for the past few years has been this fictitious holiday I developed called “Brer Rabbit Day” where individual black folks make up their own holiday based on their family history with or personal connection to Brer Rabbit stories. When my collaborator Greg Tate and I were trying to figure out what to propose for BRIC’s Fireworks Residency, he really resonated with that project and said we should do an opera about it.
I met Janluk Stanislas at a recent Caribbeing event and found out about his 2005 Caribbean futuristic short film, Trafik d’Info. As someone of Afro-Caribbean descent, I am always looking for speculative works from the Caribbean and so this excited me. Trafik d’Info, known as the first science fiction film from the Caribbean, centers on a 20th century organization of rebels who are illegally trading information despite censorship from authorities. One of the agents of the organization, Jouwa, hunted the militia, is attempting to save important information so that people in his generation and future generations can receive it. Later in the film we see the effects of the efforts of this organization in the future. Below is my interview with Stanislas about the film:
1) Tell us a little about your background and how it influenced you to be a filmmaker.
I’m French Caribbean, born on the island of Guadeloupe. I’m part of that generation that grew up with the values that our parents and grandparents instilled, but also grew up with the beginning of advanced technology. My parents had a TV when I was one, and I remember going to the movies with my father later on every weekend. My mother influenced both my brother and I to play the piano and always found a way to document the family. I guess that the essence of my art form today was always surrounding me since my young age.
I recently met Boshia at the Little Miss Creative event in New York City where she recited her poem, “I Have a Galaxy in Me:”
“These organs are not only my make up but they make up my galaxy/I am a goddess of the galaxy that reproduces life/This is why I believe in me because/I have a galaxy in me.”
I asked to do an interview with her and here it is below, where she discusses her style, her organization, WeInfinity, and her goals to reinvent Hip-Hop to include more women’s voices:
1) How do you define yourself – your personality, style, the creative work you do?
I would define myself as being outgoing, whimsical, passionate, humble. As for my style I would defiantly say cultural, earthy, and purposeful. On the creative end, I’m constantly evolving that which is unique to me constantly and manifesting what’s already been created for us.
2) How did you start your organization, WeInfinity, and what was your motivation for starting it? What is the main meaning behind WeInfinity and its logo that you want to share with others? What upcoming plans do you have for WeInfinity?