The Re-Rootist Vibe List
THERE IS POWER IN REMEMBRANCE
As a young black queer artist I find myself missing something severely when it comes to the media I have consumed (and am currently consuming) at this point in my life. Black aesthetics cultivate as the moon changes but, I find myself still looking for something in it all. I find myself missing the past.
Now in the end of my adolescence I recollect on how I’ve seen black culture shift and where I feel it to be going allowing me to push it where I feel it should go. The Black Spirituality movement starting as the ancestors told us to reevaluate our places in the wake of Ferguson, Flint, and Baltimore. Black people across the nation, across the globe, began to once again tap into the thing that they knew best. Self. And understanding what had got them to this point. The past. African Traditional Religions began to resurface as our ancestors grew from the soil and rejoiced in the calling of their true gods. Worship Obatala, Nyame, Erzulie Freda, and Amun Ra no longer being (legally) punishable by death we got our chance to open our esoteric awareness and rethink how blackness had always been.
The mainstream media is a white dominated place and is not a accepting space for black queered people so this will not touch on them at all except here to state that they do not, nor will they for their own good, create pieces that reimagine and reminisce on Kemet. The Egypt before colonization and imperialism. Ignoring these make the disenfranchisement and institutionalized destruction of modern day Africa easier because it keeps the mind from conjuring a time before white tyranny which came with gender conformity, cis-normativity, racial injustice, and dairy…
Afro Mysticism/Esoteric-ism/Communal-ism is another black aesthetic that is something that I see coming with the Black Spirituality movement and manifesting into existence. May this be your manifesto. Much like Afro-Futurism the Afro-Mystic/Esoteric movement looks to alter the destiny of Blackness and Black peoples. Similarly to Afro-Surrealism it does not abide by the concept of white time and space, understanding that the only true measurements are pace and place:
Place- The locations where the vibration moves the spirit, emotions,body, and mind wander
Pace- The speed/tempo at which the vibration moves the spirit, emotions, body, and mind
Afro Mysticism being about the pace and how the black body has the ability to tune into the vibrations of our descendants and ancestors to cultivate and process our lives. Afro Esoterism being about the place and how black people have gained and maintained agency while being in community, scattered, enslaved, and free all at once. These two terms much like ATR and Black Spirituality refer to the balance that focuses the culture giving space for duality. Together I like to refer to the two as Re-Rootism which is a reference to the Hoodoo practice of “working the roots”
Re-Rootist understand the importance of fluidity in all aspects and play with the balance of binary. This abides to gender, sexuality, class, creed, and education. Race is definitively black in Re-Rootism but, explores, plays, and tampers with the binaries of blackness. This movement looks to a past before gender was a concept and the performance of gender was based on how a person represented the mixture of themselves, their families, their culture, and their world giving a look into their present, past, and future. It believes that all people are born with a vibe to them and that through life their job is to learn to match the vibes that resonate with them.
There is no reality in Re-Rootism, there is no need for reality when all things are at once. There is no space for reality when the world of the waking and dreaming coincide. There is no time for reality when you are both living for, through, and as an ancestor. There is only what is given.
Like many movements in the Afrikan Diaspora this began with the music. Being a DC Native I see it reflected in the music that comes from my city and the East Coast most easily due to proximity. Black Womyn such as OSHUN and Winzday Love recreate and place what people see as lost culture in a modern days with songs like “DRAGONS (1000 Years Old)” and “Solar Plexus” remaking and rejuvenating Ifa archetypes. Baltimore musician Mova Kween reinvisions the frequencies and imagery from the Kemetic pantheon allowing us to remember with songs like “Peachy”. All these artist have in the common the sense of understanding the ROOT of the culture and understanding that we always had what we were searching for giving black people the courage and resilience to throw away the master's tools to find liberation.
Re-Rootism as a term is a new but, as a concept is nothing far from what black people do accidentally. The only true difference is that now black people seem to be more openly in search of their spiritual, religious, and ethnic history to help us to the future we have conceptualized during the Afro-Futuristic stages of life.
Now that you have gotten some insight into the workings of this term. I am going to leave you with a list of free films to help you on your journey from the future without strife to a past where it never existed.
Space is the Place
Coined as THE first Afro-futuristic film we look to this movie to comprehend that Sun Ra did exactly what we do in a different way. Here he came from the Future to the past to save the black race with his music. Sun Ra utilizes Kemetic imagery and principles of performance and liminality to paint a picture of the force coming to liberate. He speaks of altering destiny which is a form of MANIFESTING destiny. This film affords us the formulas for conceptualizing a time outside of ours on how to alter our destiny. Our job as Re-Rootist is to use this formula to not just manifest our destiny from now but, to recollect our stories of the past. Making remembrance and thought equal parts of gaining black liberation.
Kemetic Creation Story
The Kemetic Creation story is a wonder because KMT is the title of Egypt because Imperial conquest and white washing. To see Black Bodies, Black Spirits, Black People in the stars before the planet even existed instills that we have always been here and will continue to do so.
Eve’s Bayou (trailer)
A movie about the power of Black Women and the importance of mysticism and esoteric-ism in the black community. We learn through this movie about the powers that we forgot we have but, somehow still remember. We get a look into New Orleans Voodoo and the life of the Bayou. We mainly get to learn about how justice can be served with magik unlike in colonizer practices because a debt must be paid in full.
Daughters of the Dust (trailer)
A tale into the life of the Gullah. An Island off the coast of the Carolina’s that home to Geechee cultures. An understanding again of the past, reclaiming who you are, understanding who you are, and understanding that you are the soil you walk on. If you havent noticed black woman are sort of the center of this work it seems. Can’t tell if that’s what I see or if that's just how it is.
Paris is Burning
Though the movie is not directly about mysticism or esoteric-ism, it is directly about both of those things. This movie portrays the Prophets (queer black peoples) and their ability to shape shift and form communities that are completely public and private in unison. We learn the frivolousness of the label when all you really must do is be able to carry yourself with comfort to be anything.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Originally a novel by Zora Neale Hurston we watch as a woman once again takes control of her life and moves through the black south. I use this movie because we can not have a talk about Re-Rooting ourselves without Ms.Hurston who is the Harlem Renaissance artist that let us see into Hoodoo and learn some secrets. In her works (including this one) we see how fantasy is mixed so seamlessly into reality for the black life.
United States of Hoodoo
Though this documentary is not all about Hoodoo, it is about ATR as a whole and can give you much a much better run down than I can over this keyboard. A wonderful watch and might even wake your ancestors up to push you towards doing some of your own research.
So I leave you with those and hope you look more yourself. This won’t be the last list obviously and this list doesn’t even scratch the surface. Just know if you found this it was meant. Your ancestors go you here and let you read this against all the odds set up against them and you have the power to pass this on. Step into your power young nigga the sun shines for you!