Each February, we take stock of the cumulative efforts undertaken by Black people to erect a liberatory future where we are self-determined and loved. Black Futures Month is a visionary, forward-looking spin on celebrations of Blackness in February; a time to consider and celebrate our radical Black history and to dream and imagine a world in which all Black people are free.
Our future of Black love embraces love for the natural world, illustrated through climate preparation in Black communities, connected to a climate mandate that puts the power in the hands of the people.
Our future of Black love requires the construction of a caring, soft, and self-determined culture of self-love and bodily autonomy where we are confident that our bodies are beautiful, loved, and ours.
For us, the future of Black love requires a reimagining of life as we know it and a revolutionary transformation of the beliefs, norms, and systems that reject our humanity. The future of Black love requires a society grounded in trust, collective care, and abundance that prioritizes the dignity and power of Black people.
So, we definitely did, gratefully and happily, move resources to that organization. And we also partnered with them. And so, what that meant was that we were getting people involved and excited after they had been voting, a lot, in the previous couple of months, and we also got people looking future forward.
Kolhatkar: We are heading toward Black History Month, and you are someone who has attempted to really uplift the idea of Black futures and looking forward and envisioning what a just future could look like. How do you link history to the future? What are the most important lessons that you take from Black history as you envision a just future?
I want to dwell in Jemisin's introduction, because I love when writers are good readers of their own work. In it she anticipates a lot of what I'd like to say about the collection: That there are seeds in here of her celebrated novels; that these stories track the development of her craft and her voice, see her shed hesitation and reluctance around talking about race and racialized bodies; that they also constitute a very deliberate decision to imagine futures that contain people of color.
Jemisin's introduction to this collection of stories is a story in and of itself: it begins with "once upon a time," traces her peripatetic journey through cities and careers over a decade and change, and ends with a nod towards the future. One line from it has tattooed itself on my mind, a sort of manifesto for her ongoing work and all the fiction I love: "Now I am bolder, and angrier, and more joyful."
To Build a Black Future outlines the paradigm shift in Black thought initiated by the Black Lives Matter movement. Christopher Paul Harris, details how in the streets and online, the movement promotes a new civic culture and political agenda that is guided by Black feminism and the Black radical tradition, one that demands regard for Black pain as a critical step toward transformation, embraces Black joy as a political act, and is anchored by a radically inclusive ethic of care as the foundation for an alternative future.
This Arizona-based progressive thrash band's second album fits very well with the retro aesthetic of its label, Heavy Artillery. Its logo and black-and-white cover art are an obvious (and loving) homage to Canadian art thrashers Voivod, and while there's some Voivod in their sound, there's also a furious intensity that's derived from Florida bands of the late '80s and early '90s like Sadus, Atheist, and early Death. The bandmembers can really play, whipping through their long (the album's final track, "Accelerating Universe," goes well past the 13-minute mark), complex songs with precision and skill. Vocalist David DiSanto is the wild card; his high-pitched, raspy shriek is a real love-it-or-hate-it proposition. But behind him, the band mixes prog rock and psychedelia with live-wire thrash and machine-gun drumming. The band's entire aesthetic, including tempo changes, several different moods, and some seriously shredding guitar solo action, is summed up in the nearly seven-minute "Destroying the Cosmos," but Black Future is packed with ultra-impressive performances that will make tech-thrash fans' hearts beat very fast indeed.
Showing archival images of John the Divine, author of the Biblical Book of Revelation, Kassandra recalls the numerous persecutions he suffered for his mystic visions of the apocalypse. On her desk is a part-drunk glass of water, some paperweights, an electric fan and a laptop, which she uses for research and to interview a series of participants via Zoom to determine whether they are feeling optimistic, pessimistic or a combination of both about the future. Conversations emerge that defy singular narratives: new eras of colonialism, climate change, pollution and social justice are discussed alongside memories of when the depleting ozone layer signalled the end of the world. The hope for change is palpable: future generations can relearn, adapt and assimilate interwoven histories and the mythos of mitochondrial genetics. One participant tells us that our ability to move forward is inhibited by fear. As the film loops, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are sketched fleetingly, charging towards us before they disappear. In an update of his eponymous 1984 painting, Piper has transposed these mounted harbingers from the political landscape of the Cold War into a present-day multiverse where, seemingly, there are no resolutions.
I also ran afoul of multiple crashes and other issues when playing the Switch version of the game. Three times the game froze when loading, one of which was during a good run. I also had another run brought to a screeching halt by getting stuck outside of the level boundaries. Thankfully, the framerate is at least consistently smooth, but I hope future patches make it a more stable experience overall.
Clarity about a Black future forces leaders to dream, imagine, and discover while we also address problems, prevent suffering, and fight for inclusion. Strong Black organizations will need to take a lesson from Funkadelic, and lean into the funk, the bold imagining of a possible Black future. These organizations will need to indulge in a profound Black imagination and Afro-dreaming of what our communities should be, thereby expanding the terrain of possible solutions to the challenges Black communities are currently facing.
While the significance of the problem was important, the group also needed to pivot from problem loving to Black future thinking. It was really hard at first because the harm was so deep that problem loving had become the only way they knew how to work together. We used a few practices to help the group lean into Black future thinking and introduced tools to help the group understand when they slipped into problem loving and how to get back to thinking about, envisioning, and planning for a compelling Black future in their community. 041b061a72