When did you notice Afrofuturism being reintroduced to the masses, especially more recently?
Maybe over the past 10 years, there’s been things like The Matrix and different science fiction films and literary publications becoming more popular. Then, of course, there was Black Panther, and it became “Oh, okay, Black people in the future.” [laughs] That really opened the floodgates.
Then you have Regina King, who’s on Watchmen, and more characters who have been in comic books and sci-fi books being brought to life. It’s an artform that’s become a way for Black people to deal with a very hard past and present. It’s helped present slavery and bigotry in a way that’s palatable for some people, mostly white people.
How does technology figure into The Cosmic Synthesis of Sun Ra and Afrofuturism? Do you expect a growing presence of Black tech in the future?
Absolutely, it’s here. It’s phones, it’s in almost everything that we need today. There are many Black people in the tech industry and on the forefront of technology, design, creation and manufacturing. We just see the larger fish, but there are a lot of pilot fish swimming around, and one day you find out that the larger fish can’t survive without the pilot fish. More Black people are going to get involved and create. It’s part of the knowledge.
Do you think of Harlem as the Mecca of Black culture?
It once was, but there’s been a major shift to Atlanta because of what Tyler Perry and a lot of musicians have done there. There’s different places, Chicago, Detroit is also having a renaissance, Miami, London, Germany, Japan… Since there’s African-American descendants who are emigrating to these places, what’s next?
What impact do you hope Cosmic Synthesis has?
My hope is that it brings attention to Sun Ra and his mission, his music and thoughts around Black people in America. The thinking process that we were indoctrinated with upon being brought here on slave ships totally deprived us of our history and [gave us] a false belief of who we were.
I would like for people to know that Sun Ra was a musician, artist and an amazing composer, but also a man of free thought who wanted to share that with others. Maybe not now, but at some point in the future, somebody else will discover that we were able to honor him, celebrate him and find a nugget of inspiration.
Interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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