First up is my first official Futuristically Ancient video that I edited, featuring artists Damali Abrams and Dennis RedMoon Darkeem presenting their work JCAL’s First Friday’s in Jamaica, Queens. As we go forth in a new year and with the disturbing atmosphere surrounding us right now due to the upcoming inauguration, cabinet picks, the confirmation hearings, and ethics of it all, I hope these visionary artists can give you a few words of encouragement and upliftment. As Damali said, “if we can’t begin to imagine something outside of tragedy, then we will never be able to create any new realties for ourselves.” I believe both Damali’s and Dennis’s work encapsulate what I’d like to call “scarab imaginations” of what is possible and how to make creative use of pain or waste.
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!
Here are two web series, one set in New York, the other in South Africa:
Written and directed by Kia T. Barbee, Evolve: The Series is about a young teenage girl, Donia Reyes, who on her 16th birthday is developing supernatural powers (including “super strength, forcefield, enhanced senses, super agility, telekinetic and telepathic powers“) and her parents are forced to let her know about them earlier than expected. Although Donia doesn’t exactly want these powers, they are something she will have to learn to accept and balance with living a normal teenage life. As someone who grew up in New York, a series about a young black girl with superpowers living in the city excites me already. And it is time to have black girls in lead roles with supernatural abilities. Also, since I like symbolism, I wonder if the series’ logo has a specific meaning, looks like an ouroboros reference. The next episode, “Birthday,” in tomorrow at 7:45pm on their youtube page.
Here’s a post from Barbee about why she created the series.
“What these women become is what we will be,” Captain Larnyce Gaines gives the purpose of not only the three travelers from the future, but the underlying message of Futurology the Musical. The women finding power in themselves theme throughout this musical is its driving force and compelling feature.
The Paper to Pen production, which is Charles Weldon-directed, is the creative child of Anthony J. Dixon and Sandra J. Barnes, the writers of the story, music and lyrics. Dixon’s motivation was to “chronicle a young woman’s journey and challenges faced while maneuvering through life with modern media influences,” and began the process by working with Barnes and spoke to women of all ages about their perspectives.
Futurology follows three female intergalactic travelers from the year 2413, Captain Gaines (Gabrielle Lee), Lieutenant Mirvan (Tracie Franklin), and the android Mokia #1 (Vasthy Mompoint). On a journey in their spaceship, “The Saturn Majestic,” they are pulled towards the cries of a woman from the past in 2013, Darima Spencer, who will be an important messiah-like figure in history, but at the moment is feeling lost since her mother died and her father is absent, and seems to be more interested in becoming a star than giving her speech at a community rally with her boyfriend, Gregory (Rodrick Covington).
*The Alien Bodies: Race, Space and Sex in the African Diaspora Conference will be taking place at Emory University on February 8-9 in Atlanta Georgia. Sadly, I won’t be there, but at least it will be recorded for later viewing. Also, after the conference, there will be a Music from the Mothership: Sonic Event at Emory Dobbs University Center.
Jaszmine Asha Hawkins is a New Jersey-based visual artist whose artwork is vibrantly and beautifully unusual with her “big-lipped” and “alien-looking” figures. Currently she is looking for galleries who will showcase her work. For more information about her and to contact Hawkins, visit on her facebook or twitter page.
When councilwoman Letitia James said that Afropunk was about going beyond boundaries, she was right and this year’s festival did that in several ways. After last year’s cancellation due to stormy weather and my first attendance at Afropunk Fest two years, there have been big changes, some for the good and some for the maybe not so good.
This year’s festival was free for the first time and with that comes more people — a lot more people! The crowds were so overwhelming that I do not think the organizers even expected it. The schedule pamphlets were all gone before the first day was half over and the lines to get in and out were much longer than I remember. It was almost past capacity in the park! To top it all off, the crowds were unbearable to be in a times. Everywhere I turned, smoke — tobacco and weed swirling around my head! I think that was the most I had been around in my entire life! It did not help that the crowds were so packed, especially during the final performances that I felt as if I didn’t have any breathing room or space to move. Some people were rude, sometimes only saying excuse me to push past people to get to the front. I wondered how many of these people were there for the true essence of Afropunk or for a free festival to only enjoy the more popular acts.