David Boykin’s “What the Afrofuture Say” at Black Harvest Film Fest

Unfairly quick shoutout to Chicago saxophonist David Boykin (and now actor) for the premiere of his jazz-infused short film “What the Afrofuture Say” at Chicago’s famed Black Harvest Film Festival! This is an outstanding and necessary achievement for a musician of David’s talent as well as his commitment to Chicago, culminating now in his film’s inclusion in the Made in Chicago Shorts Program of the Festival.

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I’ll do a deservedly longer reflection after the film and a talk with David, hopefully in a format for all to enjoy. Long-term negression readers will remember I’ve profiled David before. My novel readers will remember he and his quartet serenaded the Chicago book party for my third novel Solemn. Extraordinarily, he is self-taught on horns and musical composition after starting with the clarinet back when I first met him in the, er um, nineties. Late nineties, I’ll concede!

Still from “What the Afrofuture Say” starring David Boykin

In “What the Afrofuture Say,” Boykin stars in his alternative destiny of rapper Dark Merry, who has a lot of criticisms of Afrofuturism to get out of his system with an Afrofuturist/”pleasure” activist Ingrid LaFleur. Boykin’s Dark Merry voices concerns over the name, moment and direction in an eclectic visual and sonic display capturing the complexities of the Black diaspora’s connections to Africa, commercialism of Black culture and problematic origins of the term.

The prestigious Black Harvest Film festival is put on at The Gene Siskel Center in Chicago and remains a major independent film showcase for filmmakers who are not just Black, but formidable. So if you are going to the festival in general, please make time for this one premiering tonight. You also have the Center’s and festival’s online viewing options to distribute the films more widely. Please see the Shorts Program to order tickets or stream.


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