Part Two of The Drinking Gourd’s Afrofuturism roundtable series.

“Before the term Afrofuturism was even coined…I could create these imagined worlds where a person who looked like me, who lived like me, who had a history like me, was not abnormal.”

Image: Black person uses a pencil to write in a notebook. There are two additional notebooks stacked in front of them. Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

We are in the middle of a global pandemic and we are dreaming.

Part One of The Drinking Gourd’s Afrofuturism roundtable series.

“Why is the future assumed to be the continuation of growth? What if it’s degrowth?”

Image: Forest with the sun shining through the trees. Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash.

What is the future? Who dreams it? And whose dreams become “natural” human progression, even if the process of building that one precious utopia leaves someone lingering — beyond the wall, within the shadows, on the precipe?


Their mistake was simple: They sent her body to the masjid

Downtown Minneapolis. Photo: Steijn Leijzer/Unsplash

We say her body was the seventh ’cause that’s what we could gather from records. Truth be told, she could’ve been the eighth. The 10th. The 20th. It both does and doesn’t matter.

Three years later, there are still more questions than answers

Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty

Everybody in the Twin Cities saw the video of Philando Castile dying, whether you wanted to or not. I barely remember pictures of Philando alive, but there is no way for me to forget the amount of blood that stained his white shirt; the face of his girlfriend recording; the four-year-old child in the back of the car; and outside, the frantic, shrill voice of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot him dead.

Black liberation theology was something I always knew, even if I couldn’t name it

Illustration: Farhiya Jama

Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them victory.

— Qur’an, 22:39

If you speak of Minnesota, you’ll be met with the usual remark, “There ain’t no Black people up there,” as if the speaker has ever visited long enough to have such certainty. As a state, it’s true that Minnesota certainly doesn’t hold the bulk of this country’s Black population. But there are enough of us up there to kill. There are also enough of us to hear the gunshots, watch the videos, and engulf the city…

2019 Lightning Talk Transcript


We’ve become a stand-in for any “unidentifiable” Black religious group — and a source of persistent anxiety for white America

Black nationalist leader Malcolm X (left) with black muslim leader Louis Farrakhan (right) among the group at a rally in New York, 1963. Photo: Robert L. Haggins/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Black Muslims have generated fear in white America for almost 400 years. The root of that fear, and the history behind it, are worth exploring — especially today.

“Surviving R. Kelly” exposes even more of men’s bare minimum politics when it comes to Black women

R. Kelly performing in Oakland, California, in January 2017. Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Lifetime’s documentary series Surviving R. Kelly offers one of the most comprehensive dives into Kelly’s history of brutality. Accusations against Robert Kelly—the man who plays god—range from sexual assault to domestic violence, rape, sex trafficking, and more. Some culminated in court cases, such as a 2008 child pornography case where Kelly evaded charges brought against him. The series is horrifying not only because of the sheer violence Kelly inflicted on Black girls, but because of those who allowed him to continue his career despite numerous accusations and a criminal trial.

I don’t worry, I’ll tell you. I’m a man who believed that I died 20 years ago, and I live like a man who is dead already.”

Young Black woman and police officer standing face to face. Source: Patience Zalanga

The moment where if becomes when is difficult to locate. The change is only noticeable to you, at first, settling deep inside of your body; a certainty that should weigh you down. Maybe it does. You don’t notice. You sit around tables watching newsfeed, absorbed in live streams and updates from states away, and you are aware, slowly but distinctly, that this will kill you. The realization would change something about you, if your friends weren’t already planning their funerals before.

Its message of sacrifice is the biggest irony of all

Image: Ad for Nike’s new campaign. Close up shot of Kaepernick with Nike’s slogan at the bottom of frame.

A few weeks ago, Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick would become the face of the company’s iconic 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. Overlaying a black and white image of the former NFL quarterback staring steadily into the camera are the words, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Vanessa Taylor

Vanessa Taylor is based in Philadelphia. She has work in outlets such as Teen Vogue, Racked, and Catapult Magazine. Follow her across social media @bacontribe.

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