coffee and afro-futurism: What visiting a coffee farm in 2021 taught us about reimagining a black future:// Cxffeeblack to the Future #1: FREEDOMFLY//:veryrare

ūüé∂ This type of freedom is very rare, most of these minions¬†is very scared. ¬†

I'm on the mission this very rare.¬†Yeah, yeah. Very rare. ūüé∂

art: FREEDOM FLY

song: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/bartholomewjones/very-rarefreedomfly-aba-jifar-flip-a

coffee: https://cxffeeblack.com/en-ca/collections/all/products/basha-bekele-x-catalyst-coffee-ethiopia-sidama-natural-process-8-oz

AFROFUTURISM: ‚ÄúAfrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and history that explores the intersection of the African diaspora culture with science and technology. It addresses themes and concerns of the African diasporathrough technoculture and speculative fiction, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afro-diasporic experiences.[1] While Afrofuturism is most commonly associated with science fiction, it can also encompass other speculative genres‚Ķ‚ÄĚ[see coffee roasting, cafe culture, music, and ai art]


We visited a coffee farm in Ethiopia for the first time in 2021. Like many black Americans, we’d never been to our ancestral land. This trip represented an opportunity to reconnect with a part of our heritage that’s been kept from so many in our linage. Our heart has always been in connecting black families in America to the diaspora through black coffee.

A huge part of why we wanted to go back to the motherland, Ethiopia specifically, is to gain a first hand understanding of what coffee can mean to black cultures outside of the trauma of colonization, before slavery, before gentrification, before the narrative became so intertwined with African suffering.

What are its connections to black art and music in the past? What implications could that have in the future for the African diaspora and black creatives globally?

We’ve created a collection of creative sketches in collaboration with @abartjones @mrscxffeeblack @browngirllettering and @leemvrs to explore this question across mediums, though Ai, hand drawn embellishments, music, and of course culinary coffee expressions; all to answer the question that came up on that first trip back home: what could our lives have been like if we’d always had this access to this?

In the words of Paulo Freire, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." We believe in using coffee as a tool to educate, inspire, and ignite a passion for a better future for black people.

Growing up in Memphis, I learned that coffee was not always associated with positive vibes for black folks. My grandmother used to say, "Don't drink coffee. It's gonna make you black." However, as I got older and got into coffee, I realized that many of the traumatic experiences of African peoples, such as slavery and colonialism, were closely tied to the history of coffee, and for many black people, the drink is often viewed as disdainfully as out blackness is.

But what if we could reimagine the future of coffee, a future filled with color and complexity, and in doing so, reimagine our own futures as black people?

This month we are celebrating Black Future Month, as part of a larger series we're laughing called Cxffee Black to the Future. And though we're are not techincaly a coffee company, we do sell coffee as a part of a consumable curriculum, and this month we're leveraging every sensor to implement this conversation. This installation this project is this AI inspired pieced one in collaboration with @mrscxffeeblack

The inspiration for this piece came from our hometown Memphis. As an independent rapper and a member of the culture here, I understand the significance of Jookin, a dance form that for a lot us represents a feeling of freedom, of flying flying or floating. Growing seeing this symbolism on ritualized in lunch rooms and apartment complex corners, I wondered what would happen if these depicts of black liberation unfettered grew up along side coffee rituals from the motherland.

What if these two expressions of blackness, the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and jookin in Memphis, had grown up together? What would that sound like? What would the beverages consumed around these shared fires taste like?

To be honestly I don't know the answers the questions I'm asking here, but I think there's beauty in exploring them together. There's beauty in creating art that shares our collective vision son what could be, and maybe I cupping each others beauty, we will discovers notes we yet to notice, and find inspiration we can backpedal into shared solutions. 

In addition to the collaborative print with @mrscxffeeblack, she also provided a beautiful limited edition roast of coffee from the farmer behind our first @onyxcoffeelab collaboration, Basha Bekele. The mug is fire, and honestly feels like it grown in the year 3023 and shipped back to us in a Delores. It has wonderful elderberry notes that remind me of grape gushers and a viscous dark chocolate mouthfeel. The homies at @catalysttrade shipped us this a while back, and we're hype to finally have it available to the public as a part of this collection.

Cxffeeblack to the Future represents Afro-futuristic depictions of coffee and black life, visions of what coffee could look like, and what freedom would feel like in black folks' lives around the diaspora.

We do not have the answers to these questions, but we are figuring it out together with you, and we're excited to hear what this conversation brings out in your respective spaces. Brew the coffee, ponder the print, play the track, and let your imagination wander into possible futures for our shared humanity. We're excited to meet you there. 

Visit us online at cxffeeblack.com to grab the the first installation of the collections while you can, and hop into the discord the share your pondering and realizations. But remember, each art piece is only available until the end of the month, so don't sleep if you're trying to cop a physical representation of the collections. 

We will also be leading a workshop next Saturdayat the Color of Coffee Collective Symposium about coffee, Afrofuturism, all black supply chains, and visiting Origin as an African descendant  in March, so catch us in person there as well if you're curious to hear more. 

Together, we will reimagine our future as a community around this commodity.

Keep that coffee black, fam. This is going to be crazy. ūü§Į

 


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