I arrived in Dakar yesterday. As my taxi sped past the cacophony of horns, dust, red, red earth and brightly garbed vendors lining the streets I contemplated my mission. I’m here to probe into the afrofuture. A few moments before my plane landed! I met my first afronaut. He is a singer/songwriter named Lyricsson.
His genre is reggae. Although he is multilingual and lives in France, you could easily mistake his speech, look and mannerisms for a Jamaican. Not surprisingly, Lyricsson expressed admiration for Jamaica’s small size yet mighty reputation. What distinguishes high achievers like Usain Bolt, he said, is confidence and self esteem. This, he pauses, is what Africans must summon in order to create the afrofuture.
Today, at Dakar, Àsìkò, an offside event of the biennale, I heard another artist echo Lyricson’s thoughts. Both, were fiercely proud of their heritage and people…yet here they expressed their worry and desire to instil confidence in the youth. But does Africa suffer from a crisis of confidence? Some of the boldest music, fashions and art I’ve ever experienced come from this continent. Over the next few weeks I will explore the terrain of the afrofuture and will share what I uncover with you.