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Black History to Black Futurism: Trajecting our Liberation

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Originally Published on ForHarriet which can be viewed here:

Black History Month has become a month that is used to share history and knowledge of past leaders, intellectuals, artists and shapers of black life in the Diaspora and the continent. It is a year where we, as a diverse people, collectively celebrate the advancements we have made and track the key moments that have led us to where we are in the present times.

This month is vital to the our continual collective memory, which contributes to never forgetting the brutality and horrors we faced in various locations across the world and how we defiantly and creatively resist the powers who try to succumb us to the belief that there are no possibilities of freedom and liberation. Of course, it is important that we do not fall into essentialized definitions of “black” and “African.” For the purposes of this article, I am speaking of people of Afro-descent living in North America (particularly Canadian), as our condition, which is also complicated and complex, is also very much different of Afro/Black experiences in other regions of the world.

Recently, I attended the opening ceremony of Black History Month in Montreal, where awards were presented to Black Montrealers who have done much service to the Black Montreal Community. The laureates are brilliant individuals who are by far contributors to current alleviations of black struggle. However, the ceremony opened with three white politicians, namely Mayor Denis Codere who is known for his implicit role in the overthrow of democratically elected Haitian-president Jean-Bertrand Aristride in 2004.

White supremacy has infiltrated our own celebrations and commemorations of our peoples. Programming for Black History Month across Canada are being funded and sponsored by organizations and governments who are engaging in development or political ventures that are complicit in the continual suppression not only of our people in other countries, but are creating policy that is patronizing our youth and streamlining them into prison systems. Furthermore, theirmoney also distorts the control we have to truly shape our collective and individual narratives. For example, why is it that Afro-Canadian history largely untold? Authors such as David Austin and his book “Fear of a Black Nation” illustrates that Montreal had become a hub for black radical thinking and organizing during the 60s and 70s. AfricVille , and other communities such as Amber Valley in Alberta, are topics that are unknown by white, people of colour and black communities. The misdirection of focusing on African-American experience appears not to be a happenstance, but quite strategically shaped to influence our ideas on the need for continual resistance. Black leaders have been frozen in the glass case called “history” and their significance to our current conditions are forgotten.

A question arises, how much control do we have of BHM? The answer may frighteningly also lead us to posing the question – How much control do we then have over our future?

AfroFuturism and Black Sci-Fi, I believe, is the future of our self-actualization. In actuality, it always has. Every black visionary in all aspects of culture, politics and lifestyle were afro-futurists, science fiction visionaries who had the capacity to understand the current condition of black peoples, but were also able to see alternative possibilities.

Recently, there has been much debate on how the film industry depicts black people through one-dimensional slave narratives, that are doused in extreme violence and trauma. Black people cannot just be people. We have to be welfare queens, suffer extreme amounts of abuse, are enslaved, and/or depicted as criminals. Unlike our white counterparts, we aren’t able to just be, to enjoy portrayals of depth and complexity, with the capacity to experience various emotions and experiences. Our stories are flat and are often usedto ease the guilt of a white history and of white society for their inhuman and barbaric treatment of our peoples.

I believe that committing ourselves to sci-fi and futurism can allow us to break out of the narratives and conditions of living that have been constructed for us. We as black peoples, did not construct the ghettos, we did not construct the prisons, we did not create guns and drugs, we do not dictate the ignoring of those murdered for their genders and sexuality , we do not create the gate keepers of industry and professions. Instead we were placed in the midst of these creations. With this realization we can then conceive that we can change our circumstance. In fact, all the civil rights leaders, artists/musicians, politicians, and other visionaries, were able to envision new and alternative futures. They understood that it did not make sense for them tocontinue living a story that they were not the writers, but simply the subjects. They were able to recognize the components that made the current situation unbearable and then were able to envision new possibilities, that during their time, was inconceivable, impossible. But they committed themselves to their vision and believed with unwavering hope that they were be right.

The power of visualization. It is a tool that many spiritual and now self-help literature discusses in terms of being able to achieve a specific goal. With visualization, you are pushing your imagination into a future, and ultimately shifting your mental paradigm and thus impacting your actions towards filling that goal. That is science fiction. Black people, science fiction/future provides an answer. The people who took steps before us opened corridors that will allow us tocontinue to move forward into an afro-future of greatness, and limitless possibilities. They mobilized themselves by the hundreds of millions making it virtually impossible for countries tocontinue the methods of torture in an international stage. They were us, and we are them. We are the future, right here, right now.

For me, science fiction/futurism is synonymous with envisioning possibility. In the work that I do, I commit myself to doing work that imagines newness, and in effect changes my mind into action towards making these thoughts a reality.

This is essentially the goal of Afrofuturists. We pull from our past, of ancient Golden Ages and catapult ourselves into the future. We have always been a part of pushing the frontiers of technology, science and cultural advancements.

In Ytasha  L. Womack’s book “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture,” an extensive look at how Afrofuturist thought has changed and continues to metamorph through processes of transition and transformation. Providing a thorough introduction to Afrofuturist thought, Womack touches on the ideas around art, science and technology that Afrofuturists (self-identified and not) have brought forth, each committing themselves to African peoples and unifying and finding alternatives to achieve peace and harmony.

Afrofuturism allows those of us from African descent and of the Diaspora to truly break away from the mental shackles of our existence and what we see as possible for

ourselves. If we are able to tap in that energy source, and that dark matter in which all things stem, there is no stopping us from landing on whatever planetary plain or astral projections we imagine in our minds.

For many of us, our imagination is all that we have. Afrofuturism provides a context where we as peoples of African descent and our children can visualize our future selves, and work towards taking those steps of actualizing ourselves into the earthbound reality.

POETRY: Duality as Trinity

Duality.

Balance.

What if I could tell you, you could be everywhere but no where, all at the same time.

What if I told you, you are made of 2 and that equals 3.

You are the moon and the sun.

Energy.

Synergy.

What would you do, if I told you–

You are 2 and that equals 3.

Would you believe me…

Would you believe me…

Would you believe me…

 

Copyright © 2014 [SHARRAE LYON]. All Rights Reserved

POETRY: A Time Traveller’s Prayer

You have travelled to many dimensions.

To the lower worlds and the higher worlds, you went drifting.

You did not know how to float up and select.

I pray you find your way,

To choose the higher worlds of love and compassion,

Of belief in self and belief in others.

Feel the freshness of your Highest Self.

Use all that you have learned/will learn and experience into your creativity.

May your creativity guide others and may it grow.

May you find your way, to your loving greatness.

Copyright © 2014 [SHARRAE LYON]. All Rights Reserved

POETRY: Touch My Soul Brother

My body was made so that I could touch you,

Feel you.

But my soul wants to get to know you.

My body surges with electricity,

Your light, yet firm grasps shock me,

From spine to groin.

Yet still, my soul would rather get to know you.

Your sex envelops me,

Sends and snaps my soul to body,

Gratefully trapped in its cage of flesh.

Yet, still my soul would rather get to know you.

Your scent consumes me,

Your eyes pierce through me,

Yes, now your soul is speaking to me.

We are not just flesh and bones,

We are spirits who lived multiple lives,

And here, right now the Universe has brought us together.

Breathe,

Heat.

We are in heat,

Birthed through sensual friction,

We are here together anew.

Our bodies were chosen for this.

But our souls have a much greater purpose.

Touch my soul brother,

Tongue licks clit

Touch my soul brother,

Clit throbs

Touch my soul brother

Wetness drips

Touch my soul brother,

Deep moans

Touch my soul brother

Clit swells

Touch my soul brother

Oh. My soul wants to get to know you.

Copyright © 2014 [SHARRAE LYON]. All Rights Reserved

POETRY: Love Me, Earth Me

Kiss me as the sun kiss my skin.

Love me like the ocean that warmly takes me in.

Your eyers, green-brown balls of earth soil.

Together the Moon and the Sun created your glow.

Drum beats control the rhythm of your heart.

Your breath on my neck,

Tickles like a cool breeze on a humid day.

Like evening moon glow.

POETRY: Soul/Body Reconnection

Masks off.

Tired of the iron-casted mould that pinches my skin, my soul.

Aren’t you tired of hiding?

Hiding behind the masks of fake smiles, fake laughter?

High pitch squeals of falsified contentment?

Who truly cares for the wellness of your heart?

You don’t know,

Because you’re unable to tell, because you are playing the game of falsified kindness and alluding vulnerability.

I know you’re tired.

I know you just want to be you.

But perhaps you are scared. It’s been awhile since you could look at yourself in the mirror and recognize your soul.

You forgot what her voice sounds like.

You forgot the way she walks,

You forgot the way she truly laughed, a full-light cackle.

You forgot the fullness of her capacity to love.

You thought she was lost, so you stopped looking for her.

But in truth, she never left you.

Yes, indeed she flew away,

She was beginning to feel too much of the burden of being singed by sick flesh.

Wounded by lovers who didn’t know how to love.

Wounded by words that spoke ill to her core.

So she decided to fly, go on a journey to somewhere far from here, because your flesh ruled stronger than her heart.

She needed a break form you,

So she left you in your shell.

You were then shell deep,

Deeply shelled.

Walking and talking through mindless motion.

She was just waiting for you to tire down.

To give up your reign.

And when you were dropped flat, shattered, and broken to shards- eyes, lips, torso, limbs,

Detached, no longer working together.

She returned and picked up the pieces and mended your broken bones. Renewed.

She re0entered the house of your mortal body

And she began to sing God’s breath back into the crevices of your home.

She held you without judgements, and took your apologies for running her out.

“My dear friend. My trip, I took for the both of us. I’m sorry I made you feel abandoned. I needed to bring with me the pure light of God, of life, of love, to recharge for the both of us.

And so they hugged each other,

And the heart and flesh removed the many masks of isolation,

As they shined radiantly through,

Sharing power and holding each other in strength.

Copyright © 2014 [SHARRAE LYON]. All Rights Reserved

 

POETRY: Revolting Against Spiritual Genocide

We are living through a spiritual genocide.

We are at war with ourselves.

At war with each other.

To fight to remain mindful and present, is perverted.

We have been stripped from our birth right.

The human leaders have diverted our attentions to the debasement of our women and our children, our men, our fluid and time-bending selves.

We have been stripped from the capacity to self-define.

To trust our own voice.

To trust that in our alignment,

We will move towards our purpose.

To do despite all of this, that is revolution.

 

Copyright © 2014 [SHARRAE LYON]. All Rights Reserved