Our imagination creates an alternative reality different than the norm and performance of the black body that stands out to be seen and known, without without consent
REDMOND,11 ( Shana L. is Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. She received her combined Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include the African Diaspora, Black political cultures, music and popular culture. "Marking the Margins: Janelle Monáe's 'Cold War' Landscape":“This Safer Space: Janelle Monae’s´ "Cold War"”, Post45 Conference, Roundtable/Panel, Refereed Paper, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH, Post45, Spring 2011 ) Monae´s performative unveiling sensitizes us to questions of truth as the layers of history, identity, and resistance collapse on one another. Yet her engagement with and demand for the rights of access and voice are consistent throughout. Her performance makes the space to critique how dissemblance may have "contributed to the development of an atmosphere inimical to realizing equal opportunity or a place of respect"; yet the method of exposure—performance—signals another intervention (Hine 915). The music video, which has offered a platform for display and critique since the 1970s, is used by Monae´ in "Cold War" as a confessional site, a shelter ae where the struggles of the ordinary black women described by Hine, and embodied by Monae´ might be discussed and responded to. Too often safe spaces are limited in their availability for the disenfranchised, yet Mon´ae is able, through various creative and organizing techniques, to construct a "Cold War" free speech zone—a task and location little known during the historical moment that the song references. Her "Cold War" imagination therefore creates an alternative reality that is recognizably different from those of her contemporaries within the shared "superpublic" described by Richard Iton, in which black bodies and performances are conspicuous in the visual cultures grown from hip hopand the Internet. Mon´ae s willingness to challenge history situates her as a spectral figure representing the unfinished work of the past, even as she leads a cohort in the present and envisions a future beyond her own critique.
Like Janelle Monae, the affirmatives performance seeks to refuse acts of dissemblance and self-imposed invisibility – creating speculative futures that recenter black women on their own terms, as subjects rather than objects
REDMOND,11 ( Shana L. is Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. She received her combined Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include the African Diaspora, Black political cultures, music and popular culture. "Marking the Margins: Janelle Monáe's 'Cold War' Landscape":“This Safer Space: Janelle Monae’s´ "Cold War"”, Post45 Conference, Roundtable/Panel, Refereed Paper, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH, Post45, Spring 2011 TAM)
Monae´s performance refuses the acts of dissemblance that have long characterized black women's participation in the public sphere.Darlene Clark Hine argues that black women employed dissemblance throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a way to respond to rape, violence, and the threats thereof, thus "creat[ing] the appearance of openness and disclosure but actually shield[ing] the truth of their inner lives" (912). These refusals produced a "self-imposed invisibility" that allowed them to "accrue the psychic space and harness the resources needed to hold their own in the often one-sided and mismatched resistance struggle" (Hine 915). Mon´ae relies on invisibility in "Cold War," insisting that "Being alone's the only way to be / When you step outside / you spend life fighting for your sanity."7 Her words echo the sentiments of Mary Church Terrell, who early in the twentieth century announced to her constituency in the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs that "our peculiar status [as black women] in this country . . . seems to demand that we stand by ourselves" (Hine 917).Monae´s staging of interiority, however, is already undercut by her choice of ae' forum: it is not a platform from which she speaks only to other black women, but a music video that comprised both a sonic announcement to be replayed again and again, and a moving image that catalogs and exposes her for all time to anyone who wFATCA and the broader tax crackdownould watch/listen. There is a dramatic tension here; while Mon´ acknowledges dissemblance as a strategy, she also forestalls its efficacy through that revelation, effectively lifting the veil of secrecy that allowed for black women's sociopolitical subterfuge.
Afrofuturism Solvency - Sequencing
Afrofuturism is a prerequisite productive frameworks and vocabularies for analyzing government surveillance policies – it’s a crucial first step
Taylor-Stone ’14 (Taylor-Stone, Chardine. Founder of fiction book clubMothership Connections. Member of Writers of Colour, plays drums in black feminist punk band Big Joanie and has BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities. "Afrofuturism: Where Space, Pyramids and Politics Collide." The Guardian. The Guardian, 7 Jan. 2014. Web. .)
Afrofuturism creates a space for those from the Black Diaspora to explore issues in the present and how they will manifest in the future. As Michah Yongo points out, just as the language used in Orwell’s 1984 has been used to frame the debate around increasing government surveillance, black science fiction can provide a new language to address the increasingly complicated frameworks of discrimination. If we are able to name these frameworks in the same way we recognise Big Brother when we see him, it is the first step in being able to dismantle them. In this sense, Afrofuturism provides a lot more to the black experience than simple escapism, silver Dashikis and pyramid-shaped spaceships, although I will always have time for that too.