I tweeted this awhile back, with the basic meaning being that my particular understanding and introduction of afrofuturism/afrofuturist thought has been more influenced by sound, by music and words spoken than my literature. Even my introduction to Octavia Butler was an audiobook reading backed by light jazz while surrounded by blackness and forward thought.
What is afrofuturism? From Mark Rockeymoore:
There exists, deep within the ebony recesses of the net noir, a diverse
community that skirts the quantum-dusted fringes of the new afrikan technotronic
space, awash in a blaze of neon, shining sites proclaiming knowledge born,
revolution and reinvigorated ancestral memory; space that serves as enclaves of
exploration for three generations of diasporic afrikans as they interact and
explore the issues shaping the melanated perspective.
There is a
tradition of black emancipatory thought, inextricably linked to western
civilization and its evolution, that has proffered various works of a
speculative nature pertaining to the physical or spiritual omnipresence of the
Afrikan archetype within a western framework. A serialized novel like Schuyler’s
“Black Empire” would be one example. Even recent contributions – especially
those that press those boundaries and explore the possibilities of human
interaction, sociologically or biologically – such as Octavia Butler’s “Mind of
my Mind” or Nalo Hopkinson’s “Brown Girl” serve to exemplify this worldview.
According to afrofuturist Alondra Nelson, a colleague named Mark Dery
was the first to use the term afrofuturism in his edited collection “Flame
Wars”, among other places. He defined the term thusly: “Speculative fiction that
treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the
context of 20th century technoculture–and more generally, African American
signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically
enhanced future –might for want of a better term, be called “Afro-futurism.”
And so, building upon the definition posited by Mr. Rockeymoore–along with my distinctly more plebeian and succinct thoughts–here is Cosmic Culture: A Journey into AfroFuturism, curated by King Britt, most notably associated with the Digable Planets.
After listening to this, the latest Flying Lotus album, and various other things for the last couple of weeks, I’ve already started in on a concept short story based on the whole sonic/temporal dichotomy (the street in me finding a use for these aural goodies). I’ll share a tiny bit of it with you all when I finish.
AND DON’T FORGET:
The Escape from Beckyville: tales of Race, Hair and Rage giveaway ends today! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to win a copy of this awesome collection (I’ve been twitter spamming like a mug to get this giveaway popping, so much so that I’ve actually been mistaken for a spambot.).