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Afrofuturism Reflections March 2018 and Haitian Singer Dawn Richards

March 24, 2018

Delores Fisher Urban Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Ajani Brown, graphic artist, short story writer, and novelist. Before I met him, it was a world of feeling alienated from so many. My brother and I lived futurism during those years when it was just what a lot of young people were doing. It hadn’t been officially named. It was just being “hip.”

When Brown introduced me to the term Afrofuturism, many loosely floating  aspects of my generation molded into an “oh yea, aha moment. Research, conversations with older friends and artists, led to my Afrofuturism reflection blog posts on Sonictapestry: https://sonictapestry.wordpress.com/afrofuturism/  I keep re-visiting the concept with an old school spin that is possibly becoming new school, especially when it comes to music, resistance, and free expression.

Ajani Brown Backstage at a Hope For Haiti Benefit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like the music of Haitian Singer Dawn Richards. She is so Afrofuturistic.

Haitian Singer Dawn Richards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I met Ajani Brown, I had encountered the term Afrofuturism a while ago and sort of dismissed it. After all, my brother and I lived it during those years when it wasn’t hip.  Several conversations with him (then professor Brown), sessions of scholarly article readings, Comifest panel discussions later   https://storify.com/aboynamedart/live-from-san-diego-comics-fest-afrofuturism     and re-readings of Yatasha Womack’s  Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy Culture, I am re-visiting the concept/term with an old school spin that is now somewhat new school.1

For me, Afrofuturism represents more than an aesthetic. Like Elizabeth C. Hamilton, whose definition of the concept has changed over the years, I continue to think of Afrofuturism “as a mechanism for understanding the real world situations of oppression in the contemporary world in the context of the ever-present past, while charting the future situation through the arts.” 2  It is transformative liberation not just for survival, but for thriving in a global cloud oriented replicating algorithmic world.

This spring semester 2018, I am teaching the course that Ajani Brown originated and pioneered at San Diego State University for the Africana Studies Department. The arts are very much an Afrofuturism functional focus for new possibilities, healing, and sowing the seeds for a hopefully better today into tomorrow.

Similar to Ingrid LeFleur, young mayoral  candidate Detroit. https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/59zg3x/detroit-mayor-afrofuturism-techno    One of my yesterday-today-tomorrow Sankofa Afras 466 course foundations is based on the term ARTIVISM-a phrase taught to me by Fernando and Marco in a mind expanding conversation in my office last semester.  It’s a term that intersections with many of Womack’s Afrofuturistic artistic examples.

Fernando, Delores, Marco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Womack’s accessible book is replete with names of innovative writers, painters, dancers, philosophers, sculptures, graphic artists, and musicians, including Dawn Richards.

Dawn Richards is possibly THE NEXT heir apparent to the incomparable Grace Jones. She credits Jones as an important artistic muse and influence in a Twitter homage to THE iconic Grace Jones photo that took the world in scandalous fascination several decades https://twitter.com/DawnRichard/status/977234639088570368?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

Jones’ music is dance music with an edge and often a message. Her attire shape-shifts her in shades of mythic African symbol laden blackness to alien cyborg corporate cannibalistic cyber ghost haunting reality with visions of apocolypse. Dawn Richards’ music is also a shape-shifting collage of vampiresque colorfully disruptive personas to 21st century avatars. I am enjoying my research into Dawn Richard’s work as an Afrofuturistic Diva in the making. Here’s one of my favorite Dawn Richards dance songs.

My contemporary Women’s History Month musician’s choice.

Delores Fisher

      1. Yatisha Womack,  Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013)
       2. Elizabeth C. Hamilton.  “Afrofuturism and the Technologies of Survival,” African Arts   50, no. 4 (Winter 2017) https://muse.jhu.edu/article/677241 in African American Reader for Writing, compiler Delores Fisher (Montezuma Publishing, 2018) 82.
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