We think that it is safe to say that Milwaukee is like that proverbial powder keg that is always waiting to explode. Milwaukee is unique among rustbelt cities (cities gutted by deindustrialization) in that it has managed to claim and maintain the status of the worst city in the entire country to raise a black child; one zip code in Milwaukee has the highest incarceration rate of African American men in the entire country, racial hyper segregation rules the day, and the education system is bad. That is why we are not surprised with the unrest in Milwaukee. Nearly 100 years of intense hyper segregation, racial inequality and economic deprivation breed that kind of unrest. Once you throw racial inequities in policing into the mix (every civilian shot by an officer in 2015 was black) then you have an untenable situation, a powder keg. We will argue that maybe there should be less focus on the burning of buildings and the destruction of property and more focus on the systemic inequality that plagues the city.
We presented our papers on Afrofuturism Feminism and Digital Blackness at WisCon 40 on Sunday. Check out some of the audience's tweets during the panel:
Caitlin and Kidicocus are presenting papers at WisCon, the world's leading feminist science fiction convention and conference. The conference takes place May 27th-30th, and the panel is called Afrofuturism, Digital Blackness, and Black Feminism. Use the hashtag #AfrofuturismFeminism to follow along or tweet your thoughts during the conference. For more information, head to wiscon.net
Caitlin's Paper: Black Cyborgs: Afrofuturist Feminism and Donna Haraway's Cyborg Mythology
Sometimes Kidiocus and Caitlin fight about things. On public social media platforms. It amuses us.
This time, we're picking at each other over the accusations against Zoe Saldana, who is said by some to be performing blackface in her portrayal of Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic. Read more about that story in the articles here, and check out what we had to say below:
Octavia Butler's science fiction story 'Dawn' is being adapted for television and we are beyond excited about that. Octavia Butler was a visionary and we can't wait to see her words brought to screen. This got us thinking about about the possibility of her time-travel fantasy novel, Kindred, being adapted for film. Her most famous work would have to be carefully cast-- and we've been thinking of all the casting possibilities for the novel which fuses slave narrative and speculative fiction into the afrofuturist work we know and love.
Playing the role of Dana, a woman caught oscillating between 1970s California and a slave plantation where her ancestors live, is actress Uzo Aduba. Known primarily for her role as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" in Orange is the New Black, we think she has the range and skill to depict Dana's complex and painful feelings about her history and origins.
We've cast Tom Hardy as Rufus Weylin. Rufus is a narcissistic and power-hungry slave owner-- who also happens to be Dana's ancestor whom she must constantly attempt to rescue from peril for her own survival. We've seen Tom Hardy play dangerous, unstable characters before, (Heathcliff, anyone?) and we think he could do it again.
Samira Wiley, another actress who gained a following after her moving performances in Orange is the New Black, would be able to embody the struggle of Alice Greenwood Jackson. Alice is a slave and a friend of Dana's during her time on the plantation. Rufus' brutal treatment of Alice and his overwhelming obsession with her eventually leads to her misery and desperation.
Kerry Washington as Sara, the cook for Tom and Rufus Weylin whose subservient attitude towards her masters masks an enduring hatred for the men who have ripped apart her family. We've seen Kerry Washington portray a woman with deep-seated trauma and pent up emotions on Scandal for multiple seasons. This would be a role where her subtlety could be a great credit.
Reese Witherspoon cast as Margaret Weylin, Tom's wife and the overbearing and abrasive mother of Rufus. She is abusive to her slaves until an opium addiction transforms her personality. Reese Witherspoon could play both sides of this character credibly-- the hard-edged and cruel southern woman, and the slow-witted belle with an otherworldly air.
Welcome to Womanist Expressions, brainchild of Caitlin Gunn and Kidiocus Carroll.