Wednesday, August 17, 2022

'Afrofuturism' to be the theme of MSU's second annual Juneteenth celebration

June 13, 2022
<p>People hold a sign at the Pinecrest Neighborhood Juneteenth march on June 19, 2020.</p>

People hold a sign at the Pinecrest Neighborhood Juneteenth march on June 19, 2020.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

This Friday, June 17, at 5:30p.m., MSU will hold its second annual Juneteenth celebration at the Breslin Student Events center. The event will include a fashion gala, live music, and refreshments, and the central theme of the celebration will be Afrofuturism.

Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic that explores the future of freedom and liberation, often through an intersection of Black culture with science and technology.

“Afrofuturism is a fluid aesthetic that examines the history of African Americans in society and uses that framework to create a better path forward for the current generation,” read a University press release from June 2. “This is often done through mediums such as art, music, literature and technology.”

Juneteenth is a federal holiday held on June 19th that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. The first official Juneteenth celebrations occurred in Texas, in 1866.

“MSU’s celebration of Juneteenth reflects the university’s dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion and creating social change starting with our own campus,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. in the press release. “It’s exciting to see Spartans and our greater community come together to celebrate this historic day.”

Speakers include President Stanley, Trustees Rema Vassar and  Renee Knake Jefferson, and the President of the Black Students’ Alliance, Marcus McDaniel Jr. This year’s keynote speaker will be Professor Julian Chambliss, a professor of English at MSU. Much of Chambliss’ work revolves around Afrofuturism, with a focus on comic books and superheroes. Chambliss runs a website called “Afrofantastic” that is dedicated to his work on the subject.

“The turn toward Afrofuturism as a theme for the Juneteenth celebration is exciting,” Chambliss said in the press release. “It offers the opportunity for our community to recognize the enduring legacy of an African American vision of freedom.”

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