1 // BFM 2014 // Marcus Books x MoCADA
Posted on February 1, 2014
I got a cousin who’d be really upset with me if Black Future Month just went away. He’s kind of into it, I guess. Around December 23rd, he told me Black Future Month was his favorite holiday.
I don’t know if it’s a holiday. I DO know that for the last four years, in February, I’ve taken twenty some-odd days to profile contemporary artisans, artists, tastemakers and thought leaders. I attempt to put them and/or their work into conversation with their historical counterparts: those who lay groundwork, tested systems, initiated practices or somehow innovated. The first ever BFM post, for example, compared multi talented vocal performer DoD.A.T. with Big Band legend Duke Ellington. We’ve seen Chloe and Maud Arnold Tap compared to The Nicholas Brothers, Nican Robinson alongside Gordon Parks, you get the deal. On occasion, I’ve departed from that format to create video mashups, small pieces of visual art, feature a little poetry, etc. This pleases my cousin Justin. He tells me. So, I keep going.
Black Future is bigger in 2014 than ever, as I’ve asked a few of my huge brain friends to add their two cents. We’ll have a bevy of guest bloggers from around the country this month, and a few other surprises here and there. I couldn’t be more excited. Well, maybe I could. But then I’d be Justin.
Ayo, J., welcome back. The future’s looking real black, my dude.
We’re going to keep it short and sweet today, for the first post.
Marcus Books wants you to help Keep it Lit. They’re the oldest Black bookstore in the country, a family practice initiated by Drs. Raye and Julian Richardson, with shops in both Oakland and in San Francisco’s historic Fillmore District. Over the years, they’ve been a pillar of black intellectualism and activism, not just in The Bay but also internationally. Instrumental in seeding an ever-growing investigation of black Diasporic conditions, Marcus Books has operated a press, hosted countless authors’ readings, provided safe and warm space for debate, dance, signifying, healing and even children’s story time. This weekend, the San Francisco store received coveted a spot in the coveted National Landmark registry. This confirms what the community and patrons have known for over 5 decades: Marcus Books is a treasure.
I grew up in the bookstore. So did a few generations worth of our people’s literati and academics. Marcus Books is raising $1,000,000 to support the buy-back of their store. They want to know if I can get $20 from ten friends. I think I can. Right? Any of y’all got something on it? Donate by clicking here.
And though Marcus is already an inter-generational community landmark, I thought it worthwhile to put their work into dialogue with Brooklyn’s very own Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts. MoCADA boasts a thoughtfully curated gallery, an equally vibrant boutique and a host of community events and co-sponsorships. I dare you to walk in their doors and not leave provoked, inspired or generally just fresher. The footage above is from an artist talk that ran as part of MoCADAs most recent show Six Draughtsmen, which featured drawings and drawing based work from six Nigerian/Nigerian American artists.
The conversation bears a striking resemblance to some of the talks I had the pleasure of taking in, at my parents’ feet, in a late eighties iteration of Marcus Books. To the future of black institutions, those we’ve long tended, and those in their formative years.
Follow @marcusbooks and @MoCADA on Twitter to catch news and updates from each.