I recently went to the ALT_CTL Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Film Festival in Brooklyn for source material for my independent study on Afro- and African- Futurism via an Honors travel award. The festival was to showcase black sci-fi or futurist media. My independent study with Dr. Onipede Hollist and Daleyna Abril contains a 6000+ word paper to submit to a journal; the festival helped me find my topic. My favorite film, and the film I will be writing on, is Saul Williams’s Neptune Frost, which is like a gritty, neon-painted Alice in Wonderland (that is, if Alice were exposing the horrors left by colonialism on the people of Burundi in a cyber-tech, futurist rebellion). After the movie, a group of academics and afro-futurist enthusiasts discussed the film’s message over cheesecake and coffee; it was one of the most enriching and interesting conversations I’ve ever had. I would highly recommend renting the movie but be prepared — it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
It was my first time in New York, and actually, my first time above the Mason-Dixon line. I met with academics and sci-fi enthusiasts alike who had a shared interest in black sci-fi; they knew first-hand authors I’ve only read about. They pointed me in the right direction for my research and to the subway. I had one day that was not a part of the film festival and spent the time roaming NYC. I hit the big things like the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Met, 30 Rock, and more but it was the little things that made the trip thrilling. My favorite memory would have to be grabbing a liberty bagel and then people-watching and reading in Central Park. I am vastly grateful to the Honors program for a professional and personal opportunity of a lifetime.