Events

The Future Weird: Visions of Excess - Jean Pierre Bekolo, Wangechi Mutu + Kibwe Tavares

"The Future Weird" is an afrofuturist film series in Brooklyn, screening films by Jean Pierre Bekolo, Wangechi Mutu & Kibwe Tavares in July


Black people have always done science fiction, because we've always been able to see the holes in the present

                                                    - John Akomfrah's The Last Angel of History (1995)

At 8PM on Wednesday 31st July, Les Saignantes by Cameroonian director Jean Pierre Bekolo will launch "The Future Weird", a new film series at Brooklyn's Spectacle Theater. Introducing Bekolo's film are various clips from the colonial archive and shorts by Kibwe Tavares and Wangechi Mutu tying in with this month's theme "visions of excess".

"The Future Weird" is a monthly series focused on films by directors from Africa and the global south. The series foregrounds films which imagine the future from a non-Western perspective because, as Samuel R. Delaney puts it: “Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be—a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they — and all of us — have to be able to think about a world that works differently.” And yet the "The Future Weird" foregrounds African/global South visions of the future not because they offer perfectly realised alternative futures — but because these films offer various lenses through which we can view and engage with our past and the state of our present.

This month, the feature, shorts and clips each document bodies produced by force — whether in the past, present or imagined future. We sidestep the "sexy cyborg" to talk instead about "discipline, ritual, secret societies run by women, the appetites of amorphous creatures, eroticized amputees and militant breadmakers." In Kibwe Tavares' London,  robots are the new immigrants. As they are stopped and frisked in the streets and ride buses etched with the words "ROBOTS GO HOME", a voiceover from Margaret Thatcher's Britain tells us "you need an awful lot of policement to look after hundreds of marauding blacks." It's 2025 in Cameroon where two young women weaponize their bodies in order to challenge a corrupt state that would otherwise abandon them to destitution and premature death. Eyeball deep in the colonial archive, we think about how supposedly unruly African bodies were disciplined and made to emulate a militarized and mechanized ideal. Back in the future with Bekolo's Saignantes, linear time goes loopy and "progress" is pronounced the new evil. 

WHEN: 8PM, Wednesday 31st July 2013

WHERESpectacle Theater, 124 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11211

WHO: (full discloure) "The Future Weird" series is curated Derica Shields (Okayafrica) and Megan Eardley (The StateAfrica is a Country)

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>> BODIES PRODUCED BY FORCE

>> LOOPING LINEAR TIME

>> THE EROTICS OF THE WEAPONIZED BODY 

 

>> TRAILER

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Photo by Abena Boamah.

Photos: Here's What Happened at Daily Paper & Free the Youth's Design Talk for Accra's Young Creatives

Founders of the popular brands discussed all things African streetwear in a conversation facilitated by OkayAfrica and moderator Amarachi Nwosu.

Last week, Amsterdam-based, African-owned streetwear brand Daily Paper and Ghanaian streetwear label Free the Youth held a talk for young creatives at the Mhoseenu design studio in Accra, Ghana.

Moderated by Melanin Unscripted creator Amarachi Nwosu and presented in partnership with OkayAfrica, the design-based conversation explored everything from sustainable practices in manufacturing, to the overall evolution of streetwear globally. The founders of Free the Youth, which was been called Ghana's number one streetwear brand, expanded on how they've been able to build their audience, and shared details about their community-based initiatives.

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Check out some of the action that took place at the Daily Paper x FYT event below, with photos by Abena Boamah.

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Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

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GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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