The 10th Year Anniversary of The Afrosurreal Manifesto



May 20th, 2019 marks the 10th Anniversary of the publication of The Afrosurreal Manifesto in the "Call It Afrosurreal" issue of The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Despite much that has been written since that time, "Afrosurrealism" has not always been around. It was through a blessing from Amiri Baraka that I was able to expand the definition of the word beyond the writings of Henry Dumas, and include all of the elements that people now associate with the term (Negritude, black speculative, the absurdity of black life being lived in real-time, and so much more.). This issue included so many writers and artists who are still out here making impacts, but none of it would have happened without the support and love of Editor Johnny Ray Huston who shared my vision, and took a chance to create this issue. Now, we are a movement, ten-years-strong and growing. The manifesto has touched so many sectors of arts and culture, both here and all around the world. From film festivals in Negril, Jamaica, Ghana, and all across the US through The Black Radial Imagination Film Festival, to Pride Protests in Toronto, Canada, to academic journals from Europe to Brazil. There are plays now. Paintings, essays, dances, digital art, and poems: All seeking The Marvelous, sparked by my words. I cannot express the honor in that. When I wrote the manifesto, I'd hope that I was speaking for us, and over the years, you've all spoken back. I've lectured in major cities at their most prestigious under-gradate and graduate programs, and was given the time and space to truly examine this work under the support from one of the most respected museums in the world, and have had the singular pleasure of watching a concept that I introduced get co-opted into the mainstream by attaching it to movies like Black Panther, Sorry To Bother, Get Out, Us, and television shows like Atlanta and Random Acts of Flyness. Some knew that I did that, some didn't, some acted like they didn't, some claimed that they'd done it instead. Let's just say that brought it's own set of problems. If you've been with me since 2009, when this all began; you've witnessed them. But, I'm a flash-card question at several major universities yo... I just read some blogger that called 2018 "The Year of the Afrosurreal", and in a way, they're right. All of the major news outlets, from The New York Times, to Hyperallergic, to Slate, to AFROPUNK, to The New Yorker used the word"Afrosurrealism" last year. But really, 2009 was "The Year of the Afrosurreal", and it always will be.