As I dove deep into the Washington Post article on Afrofuturism I found myself overjoyed by the works in which I have dreamed of for years. The little black girl inside me reveled in the creation of the very works that the article references: Janelle Monae’s Digital Computer, A Wrinkle in Time, and Black Panther, among others. While I read the article, I found questions recurring in my brain: why this? Why now? What took so long?
Sonia Rao takes the time to acknowledge how the works that are now being developed as a part of this new genre of the arts are coming as a major contrast of “preconceived notions of history and race by envisioning an often utopic future shaped by black technological innovation.” This quote made me think deeply about the work of W.E.B. Du Bois and the ways in which he defines the double consciousness of black peoples. Double consciousness is the idea that black people are a sort of seventh son, possessing this veil that allows to portray ourselves and identify the views of the systems around us (specifically the ways that we are seen, valued, and judged by white people.) Could this phenomena be a part of that work? Have we been limiting our creativity because of the preconceived notions of our identities based solely upon race and where we were taken from historically for enslavement?
Likewise, how does this relate to the imagination battle we studied in Emergent Strategy? We see here how, like Du Bois’s concept of double consciousness, the views and expectations, or in some cases the limitations, based upon larger groups thoughts and misconceptions on minority groups can influence their actions. Like in “The resurgence of Afrofuturism goes beyond ‘Black Panther,’ to Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z and more,” we are able to see more of the ways that we can further develop these afrofuturistic activities in our everyday lives on IM. This embodiment of these ideals shows that we have the potential to move further towards this more diverse world that doesn’t limit the actions of any group based on the hardships and setbacks of that race historically, especially when those hardships and setbacks can be attributed to the larger concepts of the system, like racism.