Journal entry #128 September 12, 2076 It’s been three years since we first made contact with the Drexciyans on Grava 4. Thankfully the AI that was developed to speak to bees back in 2023 created a foundation to help us to speak to the Drexciyans. I was surprised at their speech sounds. They sounded guttural and oddly rhythmic and seductive. Earlier today I did a biometric analysis to see if I can travel and I made it! After ten years of study and preparation, I am finally able to meet the Drexciyans. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t chosen to go with the first group but the space industrialists wanted to be the ones to introduce them to Earthlings. They still haven’t learned that no one cares about their money in space. The Drexciyans have cultivated a fully sustainable life on the planet Grava 4; they don’t need us, but we need them. The space industrialists are on their way there now. They left Bandjoun Station about a week ago. Now that we have a space station on the moon, it makes it easier to get to Grava 4. Instead of years, it takes months to arrive. I’m part of the team of cultural ambassadors from Detroit. Ever since Detroit became a space innovation hub, they’ve been tapping us to shape all engagement with other beings in space. Hopefully, I’ve honed the skills to repair any damage the first group creates. I’m part of history in the making! The Drexciyans requested that the mission be led by Black and Brown women, which has never happened before. When the crews were being assembled it was stated by the Drexciyans that they didn’t want the "pale skin humans” to come to their planet. They haven’t forgotten how they were the ones who stole their ancestors from the land of gold. They haven’t forgotten about all the violence their ancestors endured when forced onto ships to cross the Atlantic. The pale-skinned ones, as they call them, still represent the psychopathic priests, enslavers, and colonizers who violently tore them from their families, culture, and land. The Drexciyans made sure we understood that they will never forget. Although they do not trust the paleskinned humans, they view that part of their history as a blessing instead of a curse. They would not have been able to create their water home had not their pregnant ancestors been forced to drown in the waters. But they tell us it’s communing with the water goddesses who acted as midwives that was truly the blessing. Rescuing these mothers and teaching the babies the ways of the ocean was led by the Orisha Yemenya. That knowledge still informs the way the Drexciyans live today. Their request to avoid all pale-skinned humans was initially confusing to the white people on our team, but once they learned more about their history during the transAtlantic slave trade, they understood the trauma that it had caused and why the Drexciyans wouldn’t trust them. There is a theory that enslaved Africans being transported across the Atlantic was the beginning of Earth being seen only as a resource to extract from, including the human beings that occupy that land. The Drexciyans understand the violence against Earth and its inhabitants began at that time and has continued. The polluted waters they escaped from in 2002 proved that humans had not changed. I remember when they went to the planet Grava 4. They just up and left Earth without warning to us. The UN’s Council on Climate Change thought they were developing a good relationship with them. We thought they would help us but instead, they left us. I’m coming as a cultural ambassador but ultimately there are resources Earth wants. Water is taking over our land. We need their knowledge for survival. After 70 years of searching for them, the search is over, but the mission has just begun. I’m tasked with building trust so they will come back and teach us or, teach us here on Grava 4 about how to live underwater. But our gear only lasts a little bit of time. Ten months in our time. We hope the diplomatic mission won’t take that long. We somehow have to ask for forgiveness for polluting the world, for violently subjugating humans, and for further extracting from the Earth, and now the planets and asteroids in the solar system. Before we arrived, we had to show the progress we made in protecting the animal and plant kingdoms, and we had to show what work we are doing, using our language, to decolonize our relationship to the land, cosmos, and each other. It was hard work gathering the data, but we did it. We knew that most of the Drexciyan planets were cloaked but for some reason Grava 4 was accessible. Grava 4 is a water planet, so it took seven years to create gear that would help us survive. Even the spaceship had to be modified. It’s 2076. By the time I return to Detroit, it will be 2079. We hope we aren’t too late. Journal entry #129 January 26, 2077 I made it! I’m here. I was greeted warmly. They were surprised I understood their language. I studied it as if my life depended upon it. I wanted to make sure we could communicate fully. Also, I see the language to be my ancestral language. They have a way of touching and moving to communicate how they feel, similar to my people at home. Not everything has to be articulated. When we first arrived, I felt immediately embarrassed by my plain space gear. Although it was a step up from the Apollo mission uniforms, it was nowhere near as colorful as the Drexciyans. The Drexiciyans were truly spectacular. I was immediately impressed and intimidated when I first met their Elder. They were so regal in the way they moved, and how they spoke. It took my breath away. I can’t believe I’m actually here to experience this history. I hope the mission goes smoothly. So far, the energy is high and filled with excitement. Journal entry #140 April 26, 2077 I left Grava 4 heartbroken. They refused to share their water survival knowledge. They don’t think we’ve changed. They said our minds are still infected. They can see how we, the Black and Brown people on the mission, we're still being subjected to unnecessary violence and aggression. They kept saying, bodies are still being controlled. They figured this out even though we tried to shield them from the ongoing racial and gender violence on Earth. But as water beings energy travels differently. They could feel our exhaustion. Too many generations have endured the arrogance of racists. We’ve gotten word back from home that all coastlines have been consumed by water. We’ve lost 35% of our land and it's causing chaos. I keep wondering why we are going through this. Why couldn’t we prepare better? But how could we? If we aren’t treating humans with care and compassion, then I shouldn’t expect us to do the same with Earth.
Ingrid LaFleur is a cultural advisor, futures researcher, Afrofuture theorist and pleasure activist focused on creating equitable futures using art, culture, and emerging technology. As the founder of The Afrofuture Strategies Institute, LaFleur works with communities to imagine alternative futures and digital solutions to address their socio-economic issues. She also facilitates the development of afrofuture consciousness through her online workshop, Dream Weaving with Dinkinesh, where foresight methodologies and Afrofuturism are woven together. As a thought leader, LaFleur has led conversations and workshops at Centre Pompidou (Paris), TEDxBrooklyn, Harvard University, Oxford University, among others. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and Time magazine to name a few. LaFleur is a 2023 Visiting Fellow at the Modern Ancient Brown Foundation and a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. To learn more about Ingrid, visit afrofuturestrategies.com