The Voices Disrupting White Supremacy Through Sound
With its robotic voices, lasers, mechanized noises and general tumult, the music of Chino Amobi, formerly known as Diamond Black Hearted Boy, can be heard as a kind of auditory science fiction.
As the 1996 documentary on Afrofuturist music, The Last Angel of History, shows, this has long been a tradition within Afrodiasporic music. The documentary argues that for Afrodiasporic people, the scenarios of science fiction are real, and that for them, apocalypse and dystopia have already happened.
American novelist Toni Morrison explained in Black Atlantic scholar Paul Gilroy’s 1993 book Small Acts that the victims of slavery were the first to have to deal with the traumatic effects of modernity.
As writer and musician Greg Tate puts it in the documentary, “most science fiction tales dramatically deal with how the individual is going to contend with these alienating, dislocating societies and circumstances and that pretty much sums up the mass experiences of black people in the post-slavery 20th century.”
At the end of the film, Kodwo Eshun explores this alienation through the sci-fi trope of cybernetics, noting that “producers willingly take on the role of the cyborg, willingly take on that man-machine interface just to explore the mutation that’s already happened to them.” [Read More]