Afrofuturism raises money for Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDs Strategy

Queen’s African Caribbean Students’ presents Project Afro-Odyssey

The show combined multiple artforms.
Photo supplied by ACSA

On Saturday night, the Queen’s African Caribbean Students’ Association (ACSA) 2018 Culture Show turned to the future to raise money for the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (OAHAS). 

Project Afro-Odyssey included a wide spectrum of artistic expression this weekend, with acts by local artists that included spoken word poetry, song, dance and fashion exhibitions. The performances asked the audience to reimagine the past, present and future through the lens of Afrofuturism, which is an intersection of science fiction and African cultures.

While the term might bring to mind an escapist image of advanced technology and space galaxies, it’s always been rooted in the present. 

Show coordinator Asantewa Nkuah, ArtSci ‘19, told The Journal  “the main thing about Afrofuturism has always been hope, and being optimistic about the circumstances you find yourself in.” 

Co-coordinator Rachael Quarcoo, ArtSci ‘20, who suggested the theme to Nkuah last April, said the two of them wanted to “do something that would be impactful at Queen’s,” and recognized that Afrofuturism has “a huge rise at the moment, especially with the release of Black Panther.” 

The co-coordinators worked to build off of these developments and make them accessible for people who were new to the unique style. 

Explored through a journey across space and time, the show’s theme on Saturday was consistent from the neon, sci-fi lighting to the futuristic music and fashion. 

The acts were divided into realms across the universe, from the “Constellation of Love,” which featured dramatic spoken word poetry, to “The Place of Rhythm and Song,” which showcased an impressive performance by the Queen’s Salsa group. 

Other acts included ‘The Heart of the Drums,’ an energetic performance from Kingston’s Drum Circle and “The Cosmic Flow,” a hip hop number from Queen’s FLOW dance club. 

In the realm of “The Domain of Truth and Justice,” Toronto-born poet Noah Jemmott provided the audience with an act that was anything but dull. He instantly won over the crowd with his charismatic stage presence and dynamic, often chilling poetry, which covered topics like race, family and Jemmott’s love of juice. 

The highlight of the night was one fashion show that put a spotlight on the Afrofuturistic theme in a bright, ingenious display of outfits gathered from thrift stores across Kingston.  

Several models walked to an urgent beat, creating a collage of warm, earthy colours that blended with sharp, cool tones. The fashion never settled, jumping from one look to the next without a moment to spare.

Coordinators of the fashion show Catherine Haba and Kemi King laid the groundwork for the highlight of the night. 

From flowers woven into facial hair to giant, techno headpieces, shimmering dresses and sunglasses, the creativity of the outfits brought the past and future together in an unforgettable interpretation of Afrofuturism.

The show culminated with a contagious, upbeat performance by the ACSA dance team that carried the night’s theme of hope and optimism. The routine and the dancers’ outfits combined traditional and contemporary African and Caribbean fashion, capping the performance with an energetic example of Afrofuturism in dance. 

Project Afro-Odyssey’s creative interpretations of Afrofuturism and wide range of performances made for a truly successful event on Saturday, spotlighting the diversity present at Queen’s — all the while raising money for the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy.

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