In the midst of the jam-packed, grind-time, emotional monsoon that was my spring semester, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Library Company’s four-part seminar on Afro-futurism. Anyone who knows me or spends two seconds on my Twitter knows that any mention of Janelle Monae, non-linear time, or local movement building will result in a 100-page manifesto on Afrofuturist theory and practice.
The seminar was a four-part lecture series to introduce the Library Company’s exhibit called “From Negro Pasts to Afrofutures : Black Creative Re-imaginings”. So through a generous scholarship from the Library Company, I attended the seminar led by Dr. Walter M. Greason from Monmouth University in New Jersey. We walked through the anchor texts of “Speculative Blackness” by André M. Carrington, and “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler, and interacted with a resources from the Library Company to support the African American historical connections.
Pictured below are my top three influences of thought that drew me to the course, as well as a tweet by the Library Company detailing the course content.
(first) Black Quantum Futurism Collective (second) Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae (third) Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
While the Oxford Dictionary defines Afrofuturism as “a movement in literature, music, art featuring science fiction themes incorporating elements of Black history and culture”, which I recognize as a definition centering it as an aesthetic, in the seminar, we worked with a definition that centered the movements and institutions built to advance Black wealth, wellness, and personhood. In Speculative Blackness, Carrington comments that “the original futurists hoped to destroy literally all vestiges of their classical civilization to extend the purported virtues of the industrial age into all areas of knowledge.”
I see Afrofuturism as the act of destroying the old processes what harms us, and embracing the new processes that feed us. I also see it as work that is already being done locally, some of it very intentional to that act, and some of it intentional to survival.
In this four-part series, I’ll be sharing the information and resources we explored during that time and highlighting contemporary collective actions that embody.
My Afrofuturism is that Black folks BEEN ON THIS.
WE’VE BEEN DOING THIS WORK.
When you marry the work to intentions, that’s when the world as we know it can crack open.
That’s where the real conspiring can begin. 😈