If you’re looking at the news right now, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve maybe entered another dimension. Things can seem more than surreal. So much so that KBIA’s T’Keyah and Janet have been discussing apocalyptic storytelling. Especially the kind that brings attention to the experiences of the marginalized and helps us empathize and imagine - or even predict - a different future.
Octavia Butler does this. So does Margaret Atwood, among many others.
Science fiction and speculative fiction has tackled enormous ideas over the decades. At its core, these kinds of stories force us to look at the state of things in this world. It invites reflection: How did we get here?
For example, in Octavia Butler’s novel, Parable of the Talents, Butler describes a presidential candidate with alarming ideals and the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” That novel was published in 1998.
Octavia’s work is part of a huge canon of Black writers, inventors, scientists, artists and musicians that all fit under the umbrella of Afrofuturism.
Professor Reynaldo Anderson, chair of the Humanities Dept at Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis, and he’s the founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement and a leading voice and editor on topics of Afrofuturism in art and black futurity. An online exhibit he’s put together, “Curating the End of the World,” was mentioned recently in the New York Times.
Professor Sheri-Marie Harrison, an English professor at MU who specializes in literature of the African diaspora, as well as women’s literature and modern and contemporary literature.
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