afrofuturism: coined by US cultural critic Mark Dery, Afrofuturism refers to the growing global cultural movement that exists at the intersection between black history, the arts, technology, liberation and the imagination. It re-imagines historical and social narratives and weaves them together with alternative visions of the future, crossing continents with messages of inclusivity and free expression.
Ahead of the nitroBEAT Pit Party, meet the artists who will be guiding us into the worlds of music, mixed-media, spoken word and theatre. We also speak to co-captain Diane Morgan to learn more about what we can expect on our afrofuturistic trip…
Diane Morgan – Co-Captain (Instigator)
Diane wants to kick the box of preconceived ideas of blackness out of the solar system in favour of wild imagination.
‘This is a cross fertilization of ideas using black culture, liberation, technology and art to reimagine the experience of people of colour. It’s a theme but also an exploration’.
Diane was a visual artist with a deep passion for music that fell in love with theatre when she became Head of Projects at Contact, Manchester, at an early stage in her career. Incorporating her own practice, ideas and network of collaborators into a bold vision of theatre became her template.
Benji Reid – Co- Captain (Director)
Benji Reid is a singular talent and one of the country’s most daring directors of physical, visual and musical theatre
Benji Reid is an award-wining visual theatre director who has been the recipient of the Nesta Dreamtime award, runner up for Art05 Award and a recipient of the Welcome Trust award, for exploring the relationship between physical theatre and sports. After pioneering Hip Hop theatre, Benji has moved towards physical and visual theatre, working on numerous solo and ensemble pieces.
Aina More – Performer & Cosmic Guide
Aina More is here to change it all. Influenced by the likes of Fela Kuti, and Kendrick Lamar, her style is unapologetically cutting-edge.
Aina is a young Nigerian lyricist, based in London. She has a background in dance and theatre, where she developed her writing and spoken word skills, eventually leading her into the studio as a writer and recording artist. She is carving out her own niche, weaving together spoken word, Afro-beat, hip – hop and soul. Her critically acclaimed single, Girls Killing It, was produced by DJ Jules and championed by BBC Radio. Her latest single, Afrikan Lady was recorded with a live band at Abbey Road Studios.
Juice Aleem – Performer and Diasponaut
Juice Aleem scatters his intellect like seeds on the surface of a distant planet and strange plants grow from them.
Long regarded as one of the UK’s finest and most distinctive MCs, this Birmingham native has been responsible for laying some of the scene’s foundations whilst continuing to create music which pushes the art form light years ahead of the curve. Having crafted a vast canon of genre defying work, displaying both a cultivated knowledge of hip hop’s history and a far reaching view of the future, Juice released his solo debut album Jerusalaam Come in 2009. His latest album Voodu Starchild (released in October 2016) features contributions from Roots Manuva, Mike Ladd, Blackitude, HPrizm and many more.
Roney FM – Cosmic Guide
Mr. FM is concerned with new models for contemporary arts practice, individual empowerment and the political aspects of creativity.
Roney FM (Fraser-Munroe) is an interdisciplinary artist and creative producer. He has worked in performance, visual art, video, sound and installation since the mid 1980s. Fraser-Munroe’s creative practice includes literature, photography, graphics and design, animation, theatre, electronic audio and digital and media art. As a performance artist he inhabits numerous characters and reappropriates popular stereotypes and tropes using digital video as an integral element. Animal masks, uniforms and outlandish costumes contribute to polemic, witty, yet politically subversive, theatre performances. He is founder and director of K3 Media.
Xana invites you to add your voice, defy our silences together and delve into a past that strides side by side with the future.
Gil Scott Heron, Erik Satie, Moondog, Millie Jackson, Curtis Mayfield, Reggie Watts and Missy Elliott are only a few of the influences Xana lists on her Facebook profile. Xana combines looper techniques with freestyle rap, storytelling, sound experiments, poetry, beatbox and improvisation. She hails from the spheres of Afrofuturism, Blaxploitation, Funk and Dancehall and her lyrics oscillate between introspection and the observation and critique of her surroundings. Her lyrics tell stories of gentrification, colonization, society’s restrictive gender norms and the ideal world of fairytales.
Jazz Re:Freshed – Live Music Curators
Jazz re:freshed is a contemporary music/arts movement and record label built around a weekly live music residency in the heart of west London. Carving out a niche in London’s rich cultural landscape, Jazz re:freshed bridges the gap and connects the dots between Jazz and other progressive genres. Although music is undoubtedly the nucleus of the movement, art and visuality are intrinsically important to their philosophy and identity, not to mention the culture they represent. This is expressed through promotional art, films, exhibitions and creative collaborations.
K3 Media – Visual Provocateurs
K3 Media effects independent and alternative creative and cultural production to challenge the creative status quo… By any media necessary.
k3 media produces creative content and is a leading protagonist in the devising, producing and presentation of live audiovisual gigs and events. Previously k3 kinder kunst korporation, the company has over twenty years’ experience in artistic and creative development and production. It delivers contemporary multi-media productions through fusions of visual art, photography, literature, music, video and performance with digital technology.
Mission // Misplaced Memory – Space travellers Anamnesis and Data Thieves
The Data Thieves are landing. You are invited to leave a memory and help fuel the Sugar Ship, their sonic space vehicle, on its journey across time and space.
Mission to the Land of Misplaced Memory is an Afrofuturist inspired project using research and performance, sound and visual installation to explore the way personal and collective memories shape each other. The mission is led by Gaylene Gould and Gary Stewart, British artists of the African diaspora who are on a mission to trace the ghosts of misplaced memories and heal the breach in the universe’s fabric. Mission //Misplaced Memory merges concepts of Afro-futurism, oral history collection, and live art to create a provocative, diverse, nomadic and – ultimately – civic dialogic space.
nitroBEAT Pit Party – An Afrofuturistic Trip takes place in The Pit on Friday 22 July
Weekend Lab: nitroBEAT: Benji Reed will be leading an intensive practical one-day workshop for young people interested in creating their own work across a dynamic mix of genres on Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 July.