The Emergence of the Black Speculative Fiction Gate Keepers: part 1

Power is the ability to define a thing, and have people respond to that definition as if it were their own –
Dr. Wade Nobles

African American Science Fiction is an umbrella term used to describe a genre that is usually created by people of African descent, and for which the content normally features black people as central to the body of work. Black speculative fiction is often thought of as African Centered in scope, but generally, it isn't. That is to say, the cultural and social identity of the world is usually Eurocentric in reflection, though it may take place on Martin Luther King Blvd, or 125th street.

For a piece to be truly Black Science Fiction, it’s
Asili *, should be Black in its major expression(s). What does this mean?

Answer –

The language, the worldview, the spiritual cultivation system, and the daily struggle, must all converge to produce; speculatively speaking, an authentic and unapologetic Black: spiritual, mental, and physical presence.

Example -

One may bring forth a story where the character(s) are white, but the piece may still be considered Black Science Fiction, because the culture used by the character(s), the language spoken by the character(s), the religion or spiritual system important to the character(s), springs from and moves to, express and continue, a Black world theme.

Conversely, a piece may be replete with Black folks, with an agenda seemingly for the benefit of Blacks, but the cultural practices, the language spoken, the ideas that are deemed sacred and important, are in fact European or Asian in origin, and hence the body of work cannot be viewed as Black Science Fiction. It is simply fiction with Black people in it. I use Black as a template for discussion. The term is meant as a symbol or an ideal of undiluted black speculative-purpose, stemming from an internal based paradigm.

Why is this important?

Answer –

For the artist, the imagination is the most important, powerful, and impactful tool of human possibility. And as Black creators, we must be ever vigilant in preventing the externalization of our inner vision/future/power – imagination.

Enter the Black Speculative Fiction Gate Keepers. The BSFGK. lol. They are those who operate out of a fear-based trauma, triggered by - blackness - as it relates to people places or things. The BSFGK, are men and women for whom through socialization, past experiences; real and imagined, and a sub-conscious acceptance of white superiority, move and act in ways to externalize their imagination, power, and possibility.

Black Speculative Fiction gate Keepers, view all internal-based-Black-creator-themes, as inherently evil and completely inferior to white control-imagination-motifs. Consequently, they unwittingly; or maybe not, destroy Black Speculative Fiction from within, by the unconditional externalization of the primary catalyst of human potential as it relates to dream-to-reality endeavors – creativity.

The BSFGK are living tools used by those; whom ever or what ever they maybe, to push for the externalization of inner-power; in this instance, as it relates to creativity and imagination, in efforts to control the image-possibility-constructs, used by people of African descent.

So watch. In the coming days, months, and years, and in response to the emergence of
Internal-Based-Black-Creator-Themes, the BSFGK will move in predictable ways. Like imagination zombies, they will strive to marginalize, castigate, and objectify, those who create from an internal and original source.

How –

The BSFGK Manifesto

1. Compare internal-based-Black-creator speculative fiction with external-based speculative fiction, as if the latter is the only yardstick of imagination, creativity and success.
2. Ignore the material head start enjoyed by the practitioners of external-based imagination-motifs, while ridiculing the independent steps as taken by internal-based-Black-creators.
3. Objectify and vilify all non-external-based speculative fiction through fear based trauma, trigger words, and spookism.
4. Use their Black skin as a galvanizing call to a pseudo universal theme fed on the, “just so happen to be black,” bait-and-switch, externalized imagination hoodwink protocols, sprinkled with claptrap, blackface creation fodder.
5. Tricking off their power by failing to overstand that external-based creative themes = weaves, blue contacts, etc.
6. Distract, misdirect, huff and puff, name call, snitch, while singing the praises of external based creator themed projects, all in hopes of securing a marginal position of power and trust within a speculative fiction boundary of imagination colonization.

Pay attention. Study even when you are on vacation. Escapism is temporary, mental freedom, is forever.

Asili * see _ Yorugu_ by Dr. Marimba Ani

This article is © - July/2013