Being Black and Female in Steampunk

black steampunk 2
When I started getting into steampunk a couple of years ago, my first question was “There’s no slavery in this, right?” I was met with a very emphatic “NO!” It’s not like I didn’t have a right to ask. Any hobby that takes bits and pieces from a century that was horrific for at least 95% of the world’s population gets a very strong and lingering side eye. I began to feel more comfortable with steampunk when I stopped thinking about it from the standpoint of what was and started visualizing what never was but could’ve been. That, however, took some work.

Read More

Advertisements

Midwest BSFA Presents: The Cocoa Cabaret

cocoa cabaret

Calling all Afrofuturists, steampunks and dieselpunks…get yo @ss to the past that never was at the Cocoa Cabaret! DJ Apryl Reign, 2010 Red Bull Thre3Style regional winner, will spin a set of electroswing/house music and there will be a costume contest for the best-dressed attendees. Tarot card reader, jewelry vendors and more. Don’t forget to dress in steampunk/dieselpunk/Roaring ’20s attire! Admission: $5. 8-11 p.m., The Greenwich. 2442 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills (Cincinnati, Ohio 45206)

For the uninitiated, steampunk is “a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery and is often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American ‘Wild West’ in which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power” (think movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Steamboy, Howl’s Moving Castle and Hugo). In recent years, more people of color who are interested in steampunk – African-Americans, Hispanics, Indians, Asians and the indigenous people of what is now known as the Americas, etc. – have been forging their own way in the genre in an attempt to include other parts of the world in this universe. From literature to fashion to music, minorities are putting their own spin on what has traditionally been a populated by mostly white authors and creators.

The Cocoa Cabaret is an attempt to draw more POCs into steampunk and should be a healthy mix of veterans steampunks and newbies. Don’t know what to wear? If you’re in the Cincinnati area, Ofeibea Loveless is doing “Steampunk Your Closet” consultations. Email her at captainloveless@gmail.com to schedule one today!

Introducing…

the Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance! This is an online and IRL community where African-Americans who like all types of genres that fall under speculative fiction (sci-fi, Afrofuturism, steampunk, sword & soul, etc) can get together. We pay special attention to the works of black creators (writers, authors, filmmakers, musicians, etc.) and want to encourage more African-Americans – and people of all backgrounds – to support them in their efforts.

Our goals include:

  • Highlighting diversity in the speculative fiction space
  • Hosting monthly/quarterly programs on speculative fiction topics
  • Attending conventions/conferences with speculative fiction themes

If you have ideas for blog topics, IRL programs, etc., please email us at midwestbsfa@gmail.com. Stay tuned.

Midwest BSFA

Black to the Future: Afrofuturistic Music

Black-to-the-Future
Afrofuturism
is an emergent literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. From Sun Ra to Janelle Monae, African-Americans have experimented with music with Afrofuturistic flair. Writer Mildred Fallen (host of Deeper than Atlantis: Diggin’ In Da Crates on Soul Public Radio) and Napoleon Maddox of hip-hop jazz band IsWhat?! will explore this soundscape and its inhabitants.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 7-8:30 p.m., Sweet Sistah Splash, 1218 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine (Cincinnati, OH 45202)