Detroit — Science Gallery Detroit commissioned a collection of performances by native Detroiters, across varied art practices, to present works related to Afrofuturism. The theme honors the cultural aesthetic and philosophy that uses science-fiction history and fantasy to reimagine and elevate Black identities across technology, literature, music and art.
“[It’s] co-creating and imagining a future where Black people and Black culture is free, liberated, and able to exist in its most boundless potential,” said Cherise Morris, a writer and multidisciplinary artist slated to perform at the virtual event. “Oftentimes when I think of Afrofuturism I think of our ancestors and ancient past. For me, it is deeply connected to my ancestry and reconnecting with the ancestral wisdom.”
For Morris’ performance, she created a short ritual washing ceremony that explores water and its relationship to Blackness and African spirituality. “I was thinking about Afro-diasporic religions and when Black people settled into life in the United States, adopted Christianity and that connection with water in their spiritual practice; but also how that relates to a sense of freedom and hope.”
She describes her performance as “muted” and “timid” so that movement doesn’t distract from the words and the narrative.
Jordyn Davis, a multi-instrumentalist relates the Afrofuturistic concept to Black people having a sense of control and power.
“It’s about rebirth and evolution,” she said. “At the very core, it’s about love and sharing energy and beauty.” Davis’ compositions often deal with mindfulness and being present. She channels that energy in her performance for the Detroit Science Gallery tribute.
Through the arts and performance, Davis and Morris want the audience to leave with more than just a great show but enlightenment. “I hope people walk away with some sense of inspiration, [and that] this piece makes a statement and leads to some type of idea around freedom and a new reference towards the essential role of water, not only in human life but life on this planet,” Morris shared.
Davis added, “This is an opportunity for a group of Black women to do their thing in the most organic way we know how to. It’s going to be a very powerful event and give folks a new perspective [and opportunity] to take what they need from it.”
Watch: Cherise and Jordyn honor the life of Breonna Taylor in this collaborative.
Black History Month Tribute: Afro Future Performance is Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. It will be available on the Detroit Science Gallery website.