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GIF from Janelle Monae's music video, "I Like That."

Black to the Future II: Afrofuturism Should Be Put Into Practice as Much as It's Consumed—But How?

We close out our month exploring Afrofutures with an in-depth essay on the real possibility of putting Afrofuturism into action.

"I'll love you when there's space, and time."

—Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer

Recently, I've been immersing myself in Afrofuturist ideas, culture and art more than ever, a not-so-secret, long-term act that began as stimulation and imagination, but I hope will evolve into true nerdiness. This immersion includes, but also transcends, the desire to want to see other black people in media and art; I'm looking for answers on how to be a better human, right now—in thought, in movement and in our environments.

I'm seeking a guide on how to make dreams come true. Mandates on how to influence social change, free love, sex and liberation from all isms. Commandments on conjuring up one's true self, amidst the ashes left behind from the fires of cultural standards, systemic oppression and casual discrimination. Answers and apparitions of what the future can be like, for us.

Digesting more Afrofuturist art and media has been extremely accessible lately, more than before, because its visibility has increased. What once was a niche genre that only few can pinpoint is now a pop culture movement that inspires, empowers and amazingly, sells. There have been excellent representations of Afrofuturism across the waves of pop culture this year, from the iconic Black Panther, to the proud emotion picture and album "Dirty Computer," to young adult literature like Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone and transformative art by Lina Iris Viktor and Crowezilla. These manifestations are just the beginning of a winding list of creators who are bending the lines between fact and fantasy, urging us to find the wrinkle within our realities and step into the other side of truth and self-actualization.

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Still from Janelle Monae's "Pynk"

Celebrating the Taboo: Janelle Monae's 'Pynk' and Why I'm Refusing to Accept That Vaginas are Vulgar

Here's to openly celebrating the power of the vagina.

Janelle Monae's epic visual album Dirty Computer dropped a few days ago and personally, I am finding it empowering AF. Just like Queen B's Lemonade, it is such a beautifully feminine and powerful offering. While I have been jamming to the entire album, I must admit that "Pynk" is one of my absolute favourites. And why wouldn't it be? The whole song is literally about the vagina.

Vagina. For some reason, these six letters standing side-by-side are enough to make people blush, fidget in discomfort, fake cough or laugh nervously. If you're black and Shona like me, the reaction is even worse. It can range from "the look" to a full-blown whooping with a wooden spoon or bedroom slipper. For just another part of the human anatomy, we sure have developed an aversion to it. But why is this?

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Photo: SHAYAN ASGHARNIA

Erykah Badu, Ibeyi, Janelle Monáe and More Will Headline The 2018 Afropunk Festival

The 2018 Afropunk Festival line-ups are lit.

A few hours ago we were hit with an Instagram post a little too casually which revealed a beautiful line-up for the 2018 Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn and Atlanta.

Last year in Johannesburg, SA, nearly 70,000 lovers of all things afro-centric attended the Afropunk Festival. By the looks of the 2018 line-ups, it would seem Afropunk is trying to top that this year.

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