by Breyionna Nashay Flowers
Rapper, producer, actor and activist David Banner was one of the leaders of a panel discussion at a town hall-style forum at JSU during the 2016 “Planet Deep South Colloquium: Speculative Cultural Production and Africanisms in the American Black South.”
In conjunction with Astro Blackness, the Feb. 25 event in the Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Building was sponsored by the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO and the Institute for Social Justice and Race.
The three-day interdisciplinary colloquium was open to all scholars, artists and others who wanted to explore the intellectual and creative expression of African people. Discussions probed southern Black cultural production through a historical and speculative lens.
Kiese Laymon, a writer, editor and associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Vassar College, was one of the featured panelists, along with Banner and student leaders. Laymon is also a Grisham writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi, 2015-2016.
The Deep South conversation broached the relevance of HBCUs in the future of black America.
Session topics included Afro-Futurism and Southern Hip Hop; Afro-Futurism: A Multimedia Experience Featuring George Clinton; Sun Ra as an Afro-Futurist Prophet; Black Comics in the American South; and Afro-Futurism, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism.