(from left to right) My MET entry ticket and two pictures of the Afrofuturist Period Room exhibit
Our March 17th class trip to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Afrofuturist Period Room was very exciting. The room did a fantastic job of showcasing and embracing the past, present, and future of African and African diasporic art. This room highlights Black creativeness, imagination, excellence, and self-determination. The exhibit includes monumental people in Black excellence such as Beyoncé, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston cup in the Afrofuturist Period Room was a pleasant surprise to view in the exhibit. She is a Harlem Renaissance legendary author who wrote the essay How It Feels To Be Colored Me that we read a few days after the MET visit. Hurston’s essay included this powerful sentence: “But I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes.”
Plate and tea cup pieces featuring Beyoncé, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zora Neale Hurston and others
While at the museum, a white woman posed a very important question while observing this eye catching exhibit: why is all of these amazing looking pieces in this tiny room? This question haunted me during the reminder of my time in the Afrofuturism Period Room. Was this a shady way of the museum confining Black excellence into the smallest space possible? “It does look futuristic but is it really future futuristic at this point?” I asked in my class’s Hot Take video. “Are we so far in the future that maybe we caught up and this [futuristic room] is actual modern?” Sable Gravesandy mentioned in her Hot Take (video below) that the items in the exhibit looked cultured, classy and represented wealth. I interpret Sable’s meaning of wealth to mean more than an economically reference. I view Black people/African descendants as having an energy and spirit that trumps wealth beyond what Europeans could ever obtain.
Brenika Banks with classmates at the Metropolitan Museum of Art