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Luam Keflezgy. Credit: Karston Tannis/@SkinnyWasHere

Choreographer Luam Keflezgy On How To Overcome The Stigma Of Arts as a Career In African Families

"I choreographed the power of the women in my culture into a dance performed by the biggest force in music. It was my way of reconciling my departure of what my culture expected of me (medicine) with a path they didn't understand (dance). And I did it in a way that would make them proud and take ownership." - Luam Keflezgy

Luam Keflezgy knows her body. She knows what angles will catch best in the flash of a photographer's lens, what coral tones will highlight her skin, what movement will make the black ringlets of her hair fall mysteriously over her face. She's a master of motion, the precision and care she takes to create stories through the body no doubt attributed to her medical school background. Her natural aptitude for dance is enough on its own, but with a touch of science about the human body, Keflezgy's choreography stands in a universe by itself.

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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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