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What Is Afrofuturism? An Intersection Of Culture And Technology

Afrofuturism, in some cases described as African American hairdo society, is a multi-dimensional cultural aesthetic, approach as well as scientific research of black history that examines the junctions of black diaspora culture and modern technologies. It was created in the mid-1990s by Afrofuturist thinker Mark Dery and explored in the later 1990s using conversations led by Alondra Nelson to mark the beginning of its rebirth. The “New Black Sensation” looked to link the void in between historically true and also regarded representational representations of black hairdos.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Serengeti Cyborg by Fanuel Leul is an example of afro futurism.

It suggests that because people of shade have historically been as well as remain to experience racism and also stereotypes in all elements of their lives, hair designing practices have been hindered. By unifying traditionally true depictions of black hairdos with technically driven modern ones, Afrofuturism wishes to urge adjustment.

Afrofuturism was very first defined in a February 1993 edition of the Chicago Protector magazine as a brand-new social sensation making use of the special qualities of African heritage and also diasporic heritage. According to the definition, “Afrofuturism” is people who embrace the aesthetic culture of Africa, especially its visual heritage, in their design. It is not a new understanding; instead, it is an understanding of exactly how and why black Americans have traditionally and also currently adopted the cultural elements of Africa that are seen in their everyday lives.

To appropriately understand exactly how social diasporas influence modern black society, one must likewise recognize exactly how the influence of Afrofuturism connects to various other significant forms of the twentieth-century black style. The “New Black Sensation” simultaneously critiques the depictions of elegance that dominate in America and throughout the rest of the world, and also at the same time celebrates the lack of aesthetic complexity and also standardization that cultural diasporas normally represent. This way, Afrofuturism functions as a bridge throughout broken identities, such as those created by social caste systems, structural bigotry, and stereotypical concepts regarding black men and women.

The term “Afrofuturist” was developed in feedback to the emergence of such literature and also describes a specific style of visual art. In general, the term Afrofuturism describes black and also brownish American visual art which shows scenes of country living, village images, as well as the visual verse of Afro-Brazilian authors. This subgenre is created by African American musicians that identify with the social practices of their neighborhoods.

Some literary movie critics have claimed that this term was historically inspired by a need for recognition by the leading culture and also has been made use of continuously as a mechanism to reinforce social distinctions amongst black Americans. According to these commentators, the term has been co-opted by a wider variety of black creative writing and also visual art which falls short to recognize the presence of distinctions amongst teams of people in America.

Afrofuturism was called after the 19th-century Afro-Brazilian poet Wole E. Coker that worked as a crucial mediator in discussions between Afro-Brazilians and also Westerners. In his book “The Gift,” Coker provided his concept of Afrofuturism, which he claimed was the outcome of enduring social understandings of black people in America which were created by white European colonizers. According to Coker, these social understandings included ideas about Africa as a backward, mysterious continent where the “savages” sought sanctuary to avoid white hostility. This principle contributed to the formation of the term Afrofuturism.

An example of Afrofuturism can be located in a publication composed by African American writer Chinua Achebe, which is best recognized for his multi-volume work of art “The Nigerian Renaissance.” In this book, Achebe defined the “bushmen of Okorafor” in West Africa as having an “outsized mouth” which he makes use of to declare against the British for suppressing black Americans. According to Achebe, such “bushmen” were the initial occupants of Okorafor as well as they had combined African blood in their genetics. This theory of gene swimming pool blending was later on embraced by Afrofuturism and also, according to Achebe’s reasoning, it justified the method of hanging black slaves.

It additionally triggered what we understand today as “the Curse of the Walkingstick,” wherein the hanging of black females for their charm and also charm was excused due to the supposed impact of the “bushmen” of Okorafor. more authors whose works motivate are the late psychoanalyst Dr. William Pierce as well as his publication “Traces of Black Identification Politics.” Dr. Pierce asserted that there is just one true race in the world and that it is comprised of all Black individuals, regardless of color. This principle of a distinct race or varieties was later on welcomed by lots of modern Afrofuturism, especially those composed for the New Age activity. The viewpoint upheld by these writers goes much beyond the ideas of genetics.

A few of these writers assert that the whole concept of race is obsolete because we are all one. Afrofuturism has been given a preferred name amongst both black American writers as well as those covering African American culture as well as background. It has also been called among one of the most popular abstractions in current decades. This Afrofuturism includes authors such as bell hooks, Taurentee Crocker, Mark Twain, Edith Head, Percy S. Cox, and Jack Weeks. It needs to be noted that the term “Afrofuturism” does not coincide with any type of existing style of art as well as is, hence, a word belonging solely to fiction.

Feature Image Credits: Olivieragsba/Pixabay
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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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