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PodcastPart Five: Decolonizing The Future

Part Five: Decolonizing The Future

The last few years have highlighted the raw urgency of the struggle to ensure the future is not dominated by white-supremacy. But what do visions of an alternative future look like? We look at the impacts of colonialism in the past, present and future, meeting the people changing this on the ground — from activists, to artists, to sci-fi fans. Whatever the future holds, it’s in our hands. The patterns of time reveal the importance of embracing and cultivating diversity now, and for the long-time.

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(whimsical music) Headspace studio. Meet Alisha Wormsley. I didn't think that there was gonna be this controversy. Alisha is an artist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have a very science fiction mystical perspective. (soft techno music) In 2017 she became a news story when she unveiled a new public artwork in the historically Black and now gentrified area of East Liberty. You know, with its own business economy where you get your mix tapes, your tennis shoes, there was an old YMCA that we used to break into and have raves. And now none of that is there. Now there's a ACE hotel and there's sushi restaurants, is that kind of change. One of the last buildings to be bought by developers was the former site of a nightclub called the "Shadow Lounge." It was this kind of grounding space for Black people, and it got out-priced. On top of the building with a billboard. This wire framed very old school billboard that has letters that you slide on almost like, "Wheel of Fortune" or something. The new landlords had been persuaded to turn it into a platform for local artists to showcase their work. There's no signage, there's nothing. It just texts on a billboard. You can go through all the billboards and there's things about the war in Iraq. There's things about the Bush administration. Alisha was invited to exhibit a statement that she had been using in her artwork over the last few years. And I was really excited. This is the perfect way to present this text. It was a phrase, just seven words long. There are Black people in the future. There are Black people in the future. It's just a fact. Despite this being a fact, there were negative reactions to the statement. The landlord found a clause in the lease that said, if it's political, they can take it down. So they took it down. And the artwork became big news. Neighborhood tensions have been simmering over gentrification in East Liberty, but boiled over with the removal of this billboard. With community members highlighting the bigger picture. If you're afraid of a sign that says that there are Black people in the future, you have to reflect on why you're afraid that there are Black people now, because we are here. You know, I was surprised, but then not surprised. The fact that people are threatened by this really reflects our existence. That really says how threatening, just the idea of Black people being in the future is. The city of Pittsburgh protested. ♪ Why did you not know that there are Black people ♪ ♪ Down in the future ♪ All the organizations, all of these groups, they all had my back. We had some community meetings about it and people were like, "You know, I feel like that billboard. I grew up here, my grandparents grew up in this neighborhood and I'm not welcomed here anymore." ♪ You tried to make me...


Duration63 min

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