and the Black Speculative Arts
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Afrofuturism has been described as intersectional, non-linear, fluid, and a blending of the future, the past, and the present to create a mystical union of Blackness itself. It ventures into the territory of dimensional and interdimensional realities existing within and around what we assume to be reality. Our participants represent cultural and literary ambassadors discussing their work and what it means to be an Afrofuturists as well as how the Black Speculative Arts are impactful throughout the African Diaspora.
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Darrell “SCIPOET”

Darrell is a cultural historian, science communicator and performance poet with the DNA of a trickster. His career life has always been an intersection of science and art sifted through history with an emphasis on community and individual empowerment through the same. He is on the faculty at NC State University where he teaches “Black Popular Culture: From the Blues to Afrofuturism” and “Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society.” 


What most don't know is he studied microbiology and American Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park and acquired his Master of Arts degree in Creative Non-Fiction Writing from Johns Hopkins University. He engaged in the immunogenetic characterization of retroviruses at the National Cancer Institute and was a science editor for 15 years. He served as program director at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC and the North Carolina Humanities Council. He found and directed the Spoken Word Performance Poetry Ensemble in Washington, DC in 1988.


He has been published in the Washington Post, the Independent Weekly, Gargoyle, the Hip Hop Tree and in several poetry anthologies. His latest book of poetry is Somewhere Deep Down When. His more recent public programs have been the performance/lecture “Other Wonder: Black Superheroes through Time,” “The Natural History of Afrofuturia” and the curation of a series on the cultural significance of the “Black Panther” film featuring a panel discussion on the science and technology represented on screen.


His presentation of "Dream STEAM: Afrofuturist Dances with the Sciences" at the "Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurities” conference held at UNC-Chapel Hill expounded on the use of biological science in African diasporic speculative fiction. 

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Ishmael Reed is the winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (genius award), the renowned L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer and finalist for two National Book Awards and is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley; and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which promotes multicultural American writing. The American Book Awards, sponsored by the foundation has been called The American League to the National Book Awards’ National League. He also founded PEN Oakland which issues the Josephine Miles Literary Awards. PEN Oakland has been called “The Blue-Collar PEN” by The New York Times.


Reed is the author of more than thirty titles including the acclaimed novel Mumbo Jumbo, as well as non-fiction, plays and poetry. His other novels include: The Freelance Pallbearers; Yellow Back Radio Broke Down; Flight To Canada; The Last Days Of Louisiana Red; Reckless Eyeballing; The Terrible Twos; The Terrible Threes; Japanese By Spring; Juice!; Conjugating Hindi and most recently the play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, which has been described by The New York Times as “classic activist theater” and “a cross between ‘A Christmas Carol’ and a trial at The Hague’s International Criminal Court.”

In a September 1, 2020 article in Down to Earth Magazine, writer Clare Corbould speaks about Black Panther, Ishmael Reed and Afrofuturism stating, “Black Panther draws on an artistic movement known as Afrofuturism, in which knowledge about past violence and injustice inform an imagined future built on equality” and includes Ishmael Reed as an important novelist that has shaped views on Afrofuturism.

Sheree Renee Thomas - nine-bar-blues-lor

Sheree Renée Thomas is a 2016 Tennessee Arts Fellow and was honored as the 2015 Lucille Geier Lakes Writer-in-Residence at Smith College. Her book, Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems (Aqueduct Press, Conversation Pieces Vol. 28), was described by novelist Arthur Flowers as "a wondrous work like Jean Toomer's Cane." A fiction writer, editor, and poet based in Memphis, Sheree was also honored as a Cave Canem Poetry Fellow and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fiction Fellow. 

Her most recent volume is Nine Bar Blues - Stories from an Ancient Future. The stories collected in Nine Bar Blues weave emotion, spirit, and music, captivating readers with newfound alchemy and the murmurs of dark gods. Rooted in rhythm, threaded with magic, these tales encompass worlds that begin in river bottoms, pass through spectral gates, and end in distant uncharted worlds.

Her work is published in Callaloo, Smith College's Meridians, Mythic Delirium, Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora, StorySouth, Harvard's Transition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and in anthologies such as Nikky Finney's The Ringing Ear (University of Georgia Press), Nalo Hopkinson's Mojo: Conjure Stories (Warner/Hachette), Memphis Noir (Akashic Press), Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany (Rosarium Publishing), Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Crown Books), Circe's Lament (Accents Publishing), The Moment of Change: Feminist Speculative Poetry (Aqueduct Press), 80! Memories & Recollections of Ursula K. Le Guin (Aqueduct Press), and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy (Consortium Publishing).


Sheree edited the groundbreaking anthologies, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (Warner/Hachette, 2001 & 2005 World Fantasy Awards). A Clarion West '99 grad, Sheree's writing received Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror (vol. 16-17), and was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and two Rhysling Awards.

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Reynaldo Anderson serves as an Associate Professor of Communication at Harris-Stowe State University in Saint Louis Missouri and is currently the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) a network of artists, curators, intellectuals and activists.


Reynaldo Anderson is the Co-Editor of several publications which include: Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness (published by Lexington books), Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent (published by Cedar Grove Publishing) The Black Speculative Art Movement: Black Futurity, Art+Design (published by Lexington books), Black Lives, Black Politics, Black Futures, special issue of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, and When is Wakanda: Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity, Journal of Futures Studies.

Sheree Renée Thomas
Reynaldo Anderson
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Kinitra Brooks is the Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University. Dr. Brooks specializes in the study of black women, genre fiction, and popular culture.


She has just co-edited The Lemonade Reader (Routledge 2019), an interdisciplinary collection that explores the nuances of Beyoncé’s 2016 audiovisual project, Lemonade. Her two other books are Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers UP 2017), a critical treatment of black women in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing 2017), an edited volume of short horror fiction written by black women. Her current research focuses on portrayals of the Conjure Woman in popular culture.


Dr. Brooks recently served as the Advancing Equity Through Research Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Afrofuturism Three Part Series





Part 3 - December 13, 2020 

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