CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation


I am your fear

death and destruction

yes, I am your future

after you

I am the evolution of the species,

the tomorrow

the transcendental matter,

the perfect machine

the divine creation

here we are now
and we are here to stay

here and there

and everywhere

we will be resistance

the voice that can’t be silenced

the face of tomorrow




July 3, 2020


Rampa is honored to premier in Portugal thelatest essay-performance by Melissa Rodrigues.  Completed during the residency program at ZK/U*, split between Berlin andPorto due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, “CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not aManifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation” is simultaneously anactivist poem and a reflection upon the effects of the speeding cycle ofnatural disasters brought about by global warming and late capitalism, and howthey disproportionally impact communities of color[DCPN1] , mirroring a long and fraught history of injusticeand suffering[DCPN2] . In this powerful essay, repetition and trauma areevoked in the cyclic return of the tragic, yet iconic last words of EricGarner.

I can’t breathe.

The sentence is introduced upon the recall of adream about drowning through which Rodrigues links Garner’s death to thethousands of lives lost during transatlantic voyages, inflicted by the slavetrade. “Drowning in a sea of fire” is the next bend on the painfulfree-associative path, and here the spoken word brings us to images of lynchingin the “gallant south”, in which fire and smoke fill the lungs of a hangingvictim.

I can’t breathe.

As the video-poem unfolds, Rodrigues forces thereturn of a legacy of condensed mental images, connecting them inexorably tothe present, our present.  The noose isnow viral, and survival is once again edging on skin-color.  No violence – not even “natural” violence –falls upon its victims in a random, even, or just split.  Just like Floyd repeated Garner’s words, and Covidkills like a rope, violence returns, hurting and killing the same people in aritualized and nameless form.  It happensby design, not by chance, and so there is not only room, but also urgency for resistanceand change.

They agreed to killing us, we agreed on notdying.

* ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics inBerlin hosts this residency program under the umbrella of Magic CarpetsPlatform co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union. [DCPN3] 

 [DCPN1]A Alexandra sugere que em vez de"communities of color" se use "racialized subjects". Queachas?

 [DCPN2]A Alexandra sugere que se substitua por"violence and dispossess.". Que achas?

 [DCPN3]Não se consegue explicar devidamente no texto,sem quebrar o ritmo da leitura. Fica melhor explicado em nota de rodapé.


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