Interview with Filmmaker Akosua Akoben

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Filmmaker Akosua Akoben found a new love in film production, and plans to produce several webseries and multimedia productions. Part of her webseries, The Pride, will screen at our “What Does the Future Look Like?” program on Feb. 23! We recently talked to her about her interest in science fiction and Afrofuturism and her webseries, The Pride. Read More

“What Does the Future Look Like?” Short Film Program

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Each year during Black History Month, we collectively discuss past experiences and contributions of African-Americans, but Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance’s “What Does the Future Look Like?” programming focuses on our futures through a distinctly speculative fiction lens. We are encouraging black filmmakers in the Midwest to show us their interpretations of what the future looks like for black people.

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Interview with Playwright/Filmmaker Melody Cooper

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We recently talked to playwright/filmmaker Melody Cooper, whose short films THE SOUND OF DARKNESS and The Museum “No to Yesterday” will be featured in our “Matinee Noir: Black Speculative Fiction Shorts” event on Oct. 28! In the spring, Cooper did a month-long writer’s residency in the south of France (thanks to the La Napoule Arts Foundation) to develop a horror TV pilot Sundown, which made it to the second round of the Sundance Episodic Lab, is a semifinalist for the Tony Cox Showtime competition, and is in consideration by Lena Waithe and Eva Longoria’s MACRO Episodic Lab.

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Midwest BSFA Member Napoleon Maddox Runs Down His Top Afrofuturistic Tracks

napoleonlightflarewebAfter years of touring and discovering music from all parts of the world, Napoleon Maddox came home with a longing for cultivation and fearless celebration of what musicians here have to offer the world. “It’s important that the connection be understood, stated and restated. This music came from the beak of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Maya Angelou’s “caged bird,” he says. “When artists around the world create or perform jazz, country, funk, rock, hip-hop or trap, they are echoing some Blues that the ‘caged bird sang.’” The musical offerings he’s heard on stages in Finland, England, France and other places, drove him to create the Underworld Jazz Festival, which takes place May 23-27 at venues around Cincinnati, and include two performances of his experimental music mashup, The Deconstruction Period. In honor of this event, we asked Napo to give us his top Afrofuturistic tracks.  Read More

Upcoming What Does the Future Look Like? Events

dezeen_Afrofuture-at-la-Rinascente2aMidwest BSFA is hosting/co-hosting a series of workshops in preparation for a February art showcase on Afrofuturism. We’re pegging the showcase for Black History Month because as a society, we always talk about the past experiences of African-Americans during that month, but with this event, we’d like to focus on their futures. What Does the Future Look Like? will give kids, teens and young adults the chance to show us their interpretations of what the future looks like for black people.  Read More

Midwest BSFA Celebrates Its Second Anniversary!

We made it around the sun once again and today, the Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance celebrates its second anniversary! This has been a whirlwind of a year, full of programs and conversations and debates and friendship building and I look forward to more in 2017!

Here’s a short recap of what we got up to this year:

  • In April, we chatted with University of Cincinnati Professor Charles Jones about Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness, the book he co-edited with Reynaldo Anderson, co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement. I also made my second appearance on the BLKBOARD podcast.
  • In May, we had a table at the Cincinnati Library Comic Con at the main branch. We did trivia on the show’s black recurring characters and guest stars.
  • In June, we hosted the 2nd Queen City Black Comix Day, showcasing local and regional comics artists and creators. We were also featured on Ghettoblaster Magazine‘s website.
  • In September, we had a table at MECCACon in Detroit and hosted a steampunk character building workshop for adults.
  • In October, we hosted a sci-fi short film night in honor of Black Speculative Fiction Month.
  • In November, we hosted a panel on cyberfunk at Pandoracon, a three-day sci-fi convention in Cincinnati. I also served as the Queen of Diamonds for the event.

Thanks to the rest of the Midwest BSFA crew for making these last two years so much! I look forward to doing bigger and better programming with you in the years to come!

Artwork Needed for What Does the Future Look Like? Exhibit

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The Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance is planning to host an art exhibit on Afrofuturism next February. We’re pegging this for Black History Month because as a society, we always talk about the past experiences of African-Americans during that month. With this exhibit, we’d like to focus on their futures. What Does the Future Look Like? will showcase the offerings from local and regional artists (mixed media, multimedia, painting, sculpting, you name it) to show us their interpretations of what the future looks like for black people.

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Interview with Afrofuturism 2.0’s Charles Jones

0430JonesCharles5215Charles E. Jones, professor and head of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati, discusses his book Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness and how it expands and broadens the discussion around the concept to include religion, architecture, communications, visual art, philosophy and reflects its current growth as an emerging global Pan African creative phenomenon. Read More