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Day 136, Year of #Mygration: Journeys in Afrofuturism

Poster for Black Panther 2018

Daniel Haslam is a PhD student in the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership in the OU's Faculty of Business and Law. His research looks at voluntary sector leadership and partnerships with the NHS. 

I’m a subscriber to the BBC Radio 4 podcast ‘Seriously’ (available wherever you find good podcasts and at the link below). Recently the programme focused on an art form that I’d heard of but didn’t really know very much about – Afrofuturism. To quote from the programme description:

Afrofuturism is a term used to describe much art and music of black of origin, often when it uses ancient African imagery and mythologies and fuses it with something other-worldly and futuristic

So, it’s a mixture of past, present and future, combined in a way that talks to utopian ideals and emphasises the positive aspects of African history; helping to open up notions of identity 'beyond limiting stereotypes'.

The podcast itself explores examples of Afrofuturism from the recent Black Panther movie to the music of Jimmy Hendrix, through UK Jungle and Egyptian-inspired space-travelling. It focuses on the impact that Afrofuturism has had in the UK, particularly in recent years with the rise of austerity politics and nationalistic agendas.

What I particularly liked were the direct contributions from artists and musicians in relation to what Afrofuturism means to them - some of whom also talk about their experiences as immigrants in the UK - and the fact that they acknowledge the very term ‘Afrofuturism’ itself is contested, which opens up the field to a broad variety of interpretations and contributions.

Certainly worth 32 minutes of your time, if you can fit it in…

Listen to the podcast

In addition, there’s also a recent episode that focuses on the Africa Liberation Day celebrations in Birmingham in 1977 in which four people present on the day – all children of Windrush immigrants - are interviewed.

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