“We are in an imagination battle” (Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, adrienne maree brown, 18).
In the article, “The resurgence of Afrofuturism goes beyond ‘Black Panther,’ to Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z and more,” Sonia Rao discusses media that feature Afrofuturism: the combination of African culture and science fiction and fantasy. These Afrofuturistic movies, books, and music strive to answer the question, “Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for more legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures” (Rao)? Usually, these media depict a revolutionary future of black culture and influence. “Black Panther” deviates from this norm because it highlights African traditions and scientific principles in the present day.
All of these websites – Beautiful Solutions, Intelligent Mischief, and Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI) – represent the imagination battle come to life. To me, the theme of all these websites is using creativity to solve The System’s problems. The DS4SI website included a quote from Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Creativity takes skill, hard work, and the ability to go outside one’s comfort zone. How are we supposed to solve our problems without imagining what we want the solution to look like? This is what these websites are trying to do. Everything about the websites – from the content to the design – reflects their mission to go beyond the socially acceptable and the traditional norms of The System, and to create a world that is inclusive of all walks of life. brown supports this mission, as she wrote, “I often feel I am trapped inside someone else’s imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free” (18).
One point that is emphasized is the sense of unity that is essential for creating change. The DS4SI asks simply, “Want to play with us?” The Beautiful Solutions Gallery and Lab is a space for sharing stories and learning about the other. Intelligent Mischief provides ways for more people to join the movement with three bold hashtags: #BeMoreCreative #BeMoreCourageous #BeMoreControversial. These mischief-makers believe that we are in an imagination battle and that culture can create change in The System. Again, brown emphasized this concept in Emergent Strategy by declaring, “We have to ideate – imagine and conceive – together… The more people that collaborate on that ideation, the more that people will be served by the resulting world(s)” (19).