Freedom Dreams, Radical Hope and the Black Radical Imagination

Freedom Dreams

...anything you imagine, you possess
-Kendrick Lamar
Robin DG Kelley, Author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

In his book, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination, Robing D.G Kelley illuminates the ways in which Black people have envisioned freedom even in the midst of unfreedom.

Barbara Jones-Hogu, Unite (First State),1971. Screenprint. | Barbara Jones-Hogu

In her poem, Won’t You Celebrate With Me, Lucille Clifton says:

…come celebrate with me

that everyday something has tried to kill me
and has failed…

Indeed, since the bloody birth of the US as we currently know it there have been ongoing attempts to dominate, devalue and extinguish Black life. And yet, Black peoples remain. Black peoples have subverted and continued to subvert. Black peoples have fought and continue to fight. Black peoples have challenged and continue to challenge. Black people have created and continue to create. Black people have loved and continue to love.

Black Radical Hope

For Enslaved Peoples To Love and to Run For Freedom… this was the Embodied Expression of Radical Hope

Harriet Tubman (far left) standing with a group of formerly enslaved people whose escape she assisted.
MPI/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The song Go Down, Moses is said to be a song that Harriet Tubman would sing to indicate that she was present and an escape plan was near

Go Down Moses, a negro spiritual, sung here by Paul Robeson

Black Faith

Link to This Far by Faith (Hour One):

The Black Radical Imagination

Anything you imagine, you possess
-Kendrick Lamar
Freedom Dreaming & Liberation, Robin D.G Kelley on The Laura Flanders Show

bell hooks wrote Theory as Liberatory Practice (1971) where she noted:

“I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend-to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I saw in theory then a location for healing”

“Theory is not inherently healing, liberatory, or revolutionary. It fulfills this function only when we ask that it do so and direct our theorizing towards this end.”

“Within revolutionary feminist movements, within revolutionary black liberation struggles, we must continually claim theory as necessary practice within a holistic framework of liberatory activism. […] We must actively work to call attention to the importance of creating a theory that can advance renewed feminist movements, particularly highlighting that theory which seeks to further feminist opposition to sexism, and sexist oppression. Doing this, we necessarily celebrate and value theory that can be and is shared in oral as well as written narrative.”

Image of bell hooks
Interview with Octavia Butler
Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (A Lecture where Robin D.G. Kelley discusses his book)

Centering Pleasure as Political and Personal Practice

Freedom is not a secret. It's a practice.
-Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Black Joy

You So Black, a piece written and performed by Theresa Tha Songbird

The Black Joy Experience, Jonathan Lykes | Liberation House

Black Joy is… (National Black Theatre, 2016)
Black Joy Interrupted, Pages Matam
Blueprint for the Back Joy Era, a TEDx Talk with Jazmine “Da K.O.S” Walker and Amber Phillips (2017)

Black Erotics

Audre Lorde articulated the erotic as (opposite of pornography)… a source of power… an inner-resource… life force. It has been embodied by scholars as a necessary and intentional centering of pleasure. It has been enacted by performers as an owning, harnessing and unapologetic expressing of sexual energy and desire. Black erotics have a deep, wide, complex and contradictory span.

Audre Lorde’s Uses of The Erotic
Shave ‘Em Dry
My Neck, My Back, written and performed by Khia (2012)
Crush on You, Lil’ Kim ft Lil’ Cease,
Feeling Myself, performed by Nicki Minaj ft Beyonce, written by Juice808, O.T. Genasis, SZA, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé & Hit-Boy
Intro to IDA Week 7: The 5th Element Symposium Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogies Panel (2017) – A discussion with the Pleasure Ninjas
Adrienne Maree Brown on Pleasure Activism
WAP written by Cardi B, performed by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion

Writing Black in…

Raisin in the Sun, Movie Trailer (1961)
Octavia Butler, An interview where she discusses Science Fiction
Toni Morrison, An interview where se discusses “Why I wrote The Bluest Eye”
There are Black People in the Future La’vender Freddy