Black Speaks Back - On Afrofuturism and Black Self-Determination
Description : Black Speaks Back x Quinsy Gario x Mathieu Charles Black History Month Belgium is not solely about embracing our past, it is also about examining our future and getting choose ourselves what our future will be in a process of survival, emancipation and self-determination. In this optic, Afrofuturism helps shape the individual and collective imaginaries of Black People, both on the African continent and across the Diaspora, in thinking, shaping and working towards that future.
« The term Afrofuturism, coined in 1993, seeks to reclaim black identity through art, culture, and political resistance. It is an intersectional lens through which to view possible futures or alternate realities, though it is rooted in chronological fluidity. That’s to say it is as much a reflection of the past as a projection of a brighter future in which black and African culture does not hide in the margins of the white mainstream. » - Bolanle Austen Peters
The evening will start with a screening of local collective Black Speaks Back’s Afrofuturist musical short film ‘EUphoria’.
After the screening of ‘EUphoria’, Black Speaks Back will enter in a dialogue with Mauritian Creole-Belgian performance poet and rapper Mathieu Charles. They will discuss how Afrofuturism affects their creative practice, the different nuances to it, and how they view it through the lens of each of their positions in the Black Diaspora.
The evening will then continue with a screening of Black Speaks Back’s short video essay ‘KREYOLIZATION’, which touches on the survival of Black Bodies in predominantly white environments, partly narrated by Mathieu Charles.
The two evenings following this talk, Afro-Dutch Caribbean activist and artist Quinsy Gario will be performing Kenyan theater-maker Ogutu Muraya / Quinsy Gario - On Thin Ice (performance), which is about reflecting and understanding the challenges of one’s diasporic experience. After the screening of ‘EUphoria’, Black Speaks Back will enter in a discussion with his own views on Afrofuturism, and then about survival strategies for Black Bodies in majority non-Black spaces, and about the way to self-determination for the Black Diaspora.
‘EUphoria’ : Through five short stories Euphoria envisions the future of Europe from the perspective of the young African diaspora. They collaborate with the co-creator of the world’s first pidgin musical, Emmanuel Owusu Bonsu (Ghana/Romania), who has already gained international popularity both as a member of the band FOKN BOIS and as a solo artist (Wanlov the Kubolor). EUphoria takes its audience on a trip to the end of a Europe that no longer has access to the African continent and is dependent on itself to survive without raw materials, minerals, technological gadgets, cheap labour, but with the ongoing process of climate change which causes Europe to face another ice age. A very talented group of young Europeans with roots from all over the African continent fully dedicated themselves for months through workshops, boot camps, and brainstorm sessions. This film translates their excitement, fear, and hope for the future as Afro-Europeans into poetry, rap, movement and choir.
‘KREYOLIZATION’ : This video essay presents an exploratory research about Black experiences within education. It explores the violence of assimilation and strategies of Black resistance. This video offers insight into some of the identity-related experiences of Afro-descendants with education in Belgium and the Netherlands, and shows how these experiences led to alternative spaces, forms and sources of knowledge production.
Black Speaks Back was founded in November 2016 by Emma-Lee Amponsah and Heleen Debeuckelaere. The idea partially rose from a frustration about the current media landscape in Belgium and the Netherlands, but also from the need to have a more positive impact on African communities by developing a space to talk about race and racism in a more European (rather than American) context. As a grass-root organization they mainly use social media platforms on which they share discussion panels, poetry and more: debates with young thinkers and professionals from the African diaspora, as well as professional videos of slam-poetry performances, interviews and life-style videos. Besides being a new media platform, Black speaks Back is also a socio-cultural organization. By shedding positive light on the African Diaspora, their experiences, cultural heroes and political happenings they aim to empower and represent their community.
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