The Afrofuturism Discovery Academy, founded by Sherinda Bryant, seeks to help Black youth discover who they truly are using correct history and positive affirmations so they can re-envision themselves and their purpose for the future. In the genre of Afrofuturism, the rules as we know them do not exist. We can use our beautiful imagination to time travel, explore other worlds and we can even fly. We have a new course that expands on this flying concept that is called "This is Why I'm Fly". In this class, students go back to the earliest historical accounts of people who could fly. Yes, there are stories that enslaved Africans took flight and returned to Africa. We go through some of those accounts and students come to their own conclusions about what happened with those Africans. Certainly, the concept of flying has been used in so many mediums since then. We take a look at some of those uses and discuss the metaphor and themes. What does it mean to you to fly? Why are we so fascinated with this concept of being like a bird, having wings, taking to the sky and escaping some reality? How can we re-envision our current reality so that it becomes a place/society we don't seek to leave?
We've heard it before, it starts with us. Tyler the creator challenged listeners to find their wings. To realize their true identity and not the one that we adapt because of our environment. These lyrics stuck out to me: "You can't swim, you're gonna drown, the sharks are comin'... The sky's your home, there's no limit...". This reminded me of a proverb about asking a fish to climb a tree. Why would you ask someone that is not accustomed to a certain environment to be able to live and thrive in it. It's a false expectation. This mentality implies that all humans have the same values and experiences. Not true. Some people get uncomfortable because they refuse to believe this. So in this song, Tyler tells us that we must find OUR (own) wings. Wings being a metaphor for motivation perhaps, for passion, for confidence. This, I believe, must begin with an analysis of what is important to us, our family and our culture. This helps us know ourselves so no one else can put into our minds the version of us that best fits their agenda. After that, finding our 'wings' becomes easier. So, do you really know who you are? Where you come from? What are your values and dreams? Let these answers prepare you for flight!
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