Vernon Jordan III, 23, Writer, Filmmaker + Poet.
Blackness looks the same as it does now in the future – only it is ever-more free to explore. It is continually expansive – this is not to say that any and everyone be a part of Blackness, but that we, ourselves as Black people, recognize and affirm the vast ways in which we can be and have been. Blackness in the future is more queer, more balanced, less muddled by ideas and ideals that colonialism and white supremacy have left us.
I hope, more than anything, that we trust and look to the children as much as we look to elders and ancestors – the younger folk (I say that like I’ve been here all that long myself, haha) have such a rich and deep imagination for how this looks and feels and sounds. I'm ready for that path: For each person to trust their deep and black imagination, which to me is really a form of intuition, and doing the work they've been called to do. Harriet Tubman read the stars and had a deep trust and knowledge and sense of the land/earth/world as it was and the future possibilities that land/earth/world could hold even though her very existence as an enslaved person and later, fugitive, told her otherwise. I admire that. She moved in the dark, as it were. But trusted the dark. And with my own work, I'm really interested in thinking more about darkness, about blackness, about the space(s) around the force or element of darkness.
I'm interested in the sticky, in the kind of warm, swamp-like feeling of funk music and getting back to that, or at least not forgetting that, and trying to make art that speaks to it - maybe not all the time in an explicit way, but certainly these are concerns that rummage through my mind. I'm always thinking about how Afro-futures might not be all shine and chrome as we've come to believe "the Future" might look like; but what if it looked more like a "the past"? What if it looked more like a connection to water and earth and trees, and the very land(s) we find ourselves walking on? Whenever I'm home in Philly, I always take a walk on Germantown Avenue and pay special attention to the cobblestone roads – and I know people hate driving on them, but they are so fascinating to me because they carry so much history. They are history, just as we are. So as I think of "the" future, or better yet, a best future for black people, I think the synthesis, the deep consideration of the past and how that must never be forgotten or erased, and how many pasts will always be with us, and how our job as a present-time leaning in to a future-time is to take the best routes from all of these times and imagine them and create them and build new worlds. New and better and less anti-black and queer-phobic and capitalistic futures. The future is free not for further damage nor harm, but free for liberation and healing and justice – it must be vast and open, just like Blackness, just like Darkness.
Vernon's Revolutionary Picks:
I'm not sure I can extrapolate about this person a whole lot, but right now Harriet Tubman comes to mind; I know she read the stars and had a deep trust and knowledge and sense of the land/earth/world as it was around and the future possibilities that land/earth/world could hold even though her very existence as an enslaved person and later fugitive told her otherwise. I admire that. She moved in the dark, as it were. But trusted the dark.