Childhood was a perfect time of bliss, but it had its challenges especially of being a “Blerd” in which I resorted to the pits of my imagination. As a child maintaining my interests was simple, but as I got older I had to do more what I considered “soul searching” not only to maintain my interests, but to ultimately find (and continue to find) myself.
Growing up a “Blerd” I found “safe havens” in what I considered alternate realities which were basically spaces that only existed in my imagination (besides my family’s home of course). These “fantasy lands” were often in video games, movies, books, and the places I wrote about in my short stories and drew on occasion. From elementary school I was a little creative always writing short horror fiction based on “Goosebumps” and “Christopher Pike” stories, and making sure to include black characters, POC, and mythical creatures in some sort of way. In addition, I owe my imagination to not having cable, as I remember watching PBS and obsessing over “In Between the Lions” “Sagwa” “Dragon Tales” and other shows that contained animals and imaginary talking species.
I enjoyed my childhood, but even at a young age I was extremely shy and introverted. I would have a small group of friends who I played with during school, recess, etc. and we typically had similar interests. In high school engaging with others was difficult because my interests were typically outside the “norm.” The older I became especially through college, the less friends I seemed to have as I tried to gain some self-confidence and combat my social anxiety. While I didn’t gain many friends during the process, I did rediscover myself in more ways than one especially through the art of music.
“Afrofuturism” was a new term I wasn’t familiar with until my junior year of college, and I didn’t have a full grasping and importance of the term. I didn’t realize it was a combination of arts, science, and technology into a black lens while also implementing African diaspora. Overall “Afrofuturism” celebrates black history’s roots and culture unapologetically (Broadnax, 2018). I was fully able to see, as well as listen to it as I indulged in neo-soul music, as artists such as India Arie, Erykah Badu, Corrine Bailey Rae, etc. who told beautiful stories, embraced their femininity, promoted self-love, and embraced themselves as who they are which aided me in my own journey and accepting my imperfections.
As an adult I enjoy movies such as “Black Panther” and “A Wrinkle in Time” because it portrayed African Americans and Women of Color as multidimensional, beings instead of the stereotypical societal portrayals. As a person with anxiety I believe in a healthy fantasy. Yes, I’m still aware of the issues the world face and what’s currently happening in today’s society. Creating a voice in society where everybody is constantly posting pictures, shouting, and screaming can make one feel unheard and even invalidated.
Often times I have learned to be more observant and to simply listen. In fantasy and “Afrofuturism” I have seen and created symbolism that have been applied to the real world. As the old saying goes “Art is a reflection of reality “one can truly learn (and may have already learned) sometimes fantasy can be the best way to view reality. Being an introvert has aided me in my art, writing, my love of literature, and to have an appreciation for the alternate worlds other artist create. As I’m able to see the world in various perspectives.
Broadnax, J. (2018, February 16). What the Heck is Afrofuturism.