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Share Your Love For Afrofuturism This Valentine’s Day

Online event ‘Afrofuturism Dream Tank’ on Sunday at 1pm

An example of the work of artist Maxx Moses who is one of the participants in...

Credit: LaWana Richmond

Above: An example of the work of artist Maxx Moses who is one of the participants in this Sunday's Afrofuturism Dream Tank.

Dream Forward 2081: Afrofuturism Dream Tank

LaWana Richmond, Event facilitator

Maharani Peace, Afrocentric, Abstract, Found & Recyclable Artist, Culinarian, Creator, and Community Organizer specializing in EDI issues

Alyce Smith Cooper, The Brown Fairy Godmother/Poet/Educator

Qamar Bradford, Co-founder of Afrofuturism Lounge

King Britt, Educator/DJ/Producer

Maxx Moses, Community Artist/Educator

Adria Fox, Urban Alchemist

Reported by Beth Accomando

This Valentine’s Day, try something a little different. Sign up for the Afrofuturism Dream Tank for an immersive experience of art, music, comics, science fact and fiction, history, and current events in celebration of Black History Month.

Many people may have first discovered Afrofuturism when Marvel's "Black Panther" movie came out in 2018. But its roots can be traced back to 1920 and W. E. B. DuBois' provocative short story "The Comet."

Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

In that story, DuBois has a comet hit earth leaving a Black man and a white woman thinking they are the only two survivors. Circumstances force the woman to rethink her racist ideas but as soon as they encounter a group of white men she immediately reverts to them.

DuBois may be better known for his analyses of history and social commentary, but this excursion into fantasy and science fiction in 1920 helped pave the way for Afrofuturism.

"It can mean so many things," LaWana Richmond said. "It can be as simple as speculative science fiction comics, music that center the black experience in the future. Or it can be something that is more about looking at using the imagination to imagine a better world in the future that not only centers, but also enhances the Black experience. And then, of course, we have Afrofuturists who are also Afro-pessimists who have looked at the current trajectory and only see things getting worse. I tend to be more on the optimists' side and encourage people to take ownership and agency to visualize and act and through the visualization. Gaining ownership of their narrative and their story and their perspective in life."

Richmond is the organizer and event facilitator for Dream Forward 2081: Afrofuturism Dream Tank taking place virtually this Sunday. The event will be a mix of activities at home, discussion, and entertainment.

"People can expect that at minimum to be entertained," Richmond said. "We'll have music, art, poetry and a teeny bit of educational content but not so much that it will be burdensome. And opportunities for some self-reflection and inner work either through art or journaling, and an opportunity to engage in dialogues, to share their perspective and experiences. And towards the end, we'll talk about visions of the future and potential actions we can take that align with the desired future. Because sometimes we forget that when you want to make a big change, sometimes you have to take small actions and you have to do them early."

Richmond has been educating people about Afrofuturism for years. She was part of the group that brought the Afrofuturism Lounge to outside Comic-Con back in 2018. It is a topic she is passionate about.

"Sometimes things are really hard to talk about when you address them head-on or you only can see what has happened," she said. "And if you're thinking about, dare I say, a radical change, sometimes you have to also be able to leverage the imagination. And Afrofuturism gives me the space within to have conversations with people to help them understand that really the world that we live in is the world that we all created together. And we can all together create a better society in a better."

Richmond hopes people will come away from Sunday's event not only filled with inspiration "but also ownership, because it's always easy to externalize, change and think everything would be great if only those people over there, that person over there did X, Y, Z, when really there are also things that we as individuals can do or do collectively. Much of what builds the culture of an organization or community or society is really based on the individual people and how they choose to coexist."

Afrofuturism Dream Tank is a free event offered through UC San Diego Craft Center this Sunday at 1pm. You are asked to have some simple things like paper, colored markers, black markers, and scrap paper for some do-at-home projects you will be guided through.

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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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