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Use of Afro Futurism in QUEEN by Erykah Badu Ethnic Studies Discussion Paper

Use of Afro Futurism in QUEEN by Erykah Badu Ethnic Studies Discussion Paper

Question Description

In her albums, music videos, and performances, Janelle Monae often performs in her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather, a rogue android from the future who time-travels to different eras and places to stir rebellions along historically oppressed populations through her and her groups’ music and dance performances. This speaks to both the revolutionary potential of culture to change people’s perspectives, not only about their lives in the present, but also about memory, structural legacies of the past, and also, how our orientation towards a particular future are not written in stone but are rather changeable in the here and now.

For more on how Monae prolifically plays with the afro-futurist tropes that we discussed in Session 8B (5/20), see:

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/13/667045039/janelle-mon-e-is-the-21st-centurys-time-traveler (Links to an external site.)

https://www.vox.com/2018/5/16/17318242/janelle-monae-science-fiction-influences-afrofuturism (Links to an external site.)

https://www.tor.com/2019/10/18/metropolis-meets-afrofuturism-the-genius-of-janelle-monae/ (Links to an external site.)

and

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/03/new-trailer-for-horror-drama-antebellum-keeps-details-shrouded-in-mystery/ (Links to an external site.)

***

For discussion post #7, choose ONE of Monae’s music videos (I recommend you consider this one first, the one titled Q.U.E.E.N.)https://youtu.be/tEddixS-UoU (Links to an external site.)

and write about how Monae’s performance, lyrics, dress, or the music itself plays with the themes of how we can collectively challenge our understandings of the memories and structural legacies of that past to produce different, perhaps more socially just or liberatory futures.

And if that sounds too complicated, just do an analysis of one of her videos that unpacks how Monae uses afro-futurism.


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