Mixtape Oracle

Study in the Dark

The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized.

Audre Lorde, Poetry is Not a Luxury

Call the mixtape oracle and flip the tape. A Side: Flight, B Side: Feeling. I offer to you here a mixtape of stories of possible futures, of how we get free and how it will feel. The mixtape is a disciplinary intervention. The mixtape is a map. The mixtape is a flight path and a celebration. The mixtape is a jam session of worlds and words. The mixtape tells the truth. 

After the future, where all black life lives anyway, the worlds in which the narrators believe come into view, a gorgeous spectacle of life constellated, revealing gleaming doorways: our way out. I hope you can see them. The doorways. And if you do not see them yet, listen again. Breath. Remember, you can hear what you cannot yet see.  It is hard to see what has been rendered impossible. Hard to see that which lives in the darkness cast out of en(light)enment realms of reason, the glow of the real. But in listening deliberately and love we find new forms of illumination, new ways of moving through space and time in order to be with one another.

We constellate the stories of the future that they glow like stars in the dark of our study. Which is to say, that though cast out of the en(light)enment we study in the dark by the glow of our own dreams. Audre reminds us that we were never meant to survive, and I recall that our surviving flesh right here and our capacities to love each other so, is the miracle against the terror. Our capacities to be with one another in the darkness becomes the proof we need to testify to what is coming. The mixtape recalls the memory of just what the future must be(come).

Side A: Flight

I saw things I imagined. I saw things I imagined. I saw things I imagined. Taking on the light

Solange, Things I Imagined
Track 1: Tania Intro (Testimony)

Track 2: Trasonia (What It Means to Be Free)

Track 3: What it Means to be Free, Reprise)

Track 4: Tania (Joy in Small Moments)

Track 5: Lauren (Fantasy)

Track 6: Djoulie (Health/Care)

Track 7:  Tania (Good Food is Not a Luxury) 

Track 8: Catie (Good Food is not a Luxury, reprise)

My old cassette player, which I still have, would flip automatically if you let it. Chunk, chunk, hiss—the sound was that of another world revealing itself. 

Analog always knows that there’s a ghost in the machine, and that sometimes that ghost is you. And sometimes when you play a tape too much, you can hear the other side bleeding through. 

Kevin Young, Grey Album

Side B: Feeling

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free. I wish I could break all the chains holdin’ me. I wish I could say all the things that I could say (when I’m relaxed).  Say ‘em loud, say ‘em clear, for the whole round world to hear. I wish I knew how it would feel to be free…how sweet it would be if I found I could fly. I’d soar to the sud and look down at the sea and I’d know, yes I’d know. Ah yeah I’ve got news for you I already know. Free. Free. Free. Free. I’m free and I know it. 

-Nina Simone, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Live at Montreux, 1976)
Track 1: Djoulie (What I Need to See)

Track 2: Trasonia (A Future, Outside)

Track 3: Mars (To Be Present in the Care)

Track 4: Emmett (Perfection)

Track 5: Emmett (Ecstasy) 

Track 6: Mars (How it feels to be Free)

Track 7: Lauren (Ocean Dreams)