The Afro-Asiatic Mashup

11 thoughts on “The Afro-Asiatic Mashup”

  1. Great work here but I still would be interested in how do you think groups or African Americans such as Wu- Tang Clan view the Afro-Asian relationship and history. Are those groups, people, etc aware of this ancient relationship between Africa and Asia…or are they more representative of the Blaxploitation-1970s African Americans interest in Kung Fu films and therefore cinematic representations of Asian culture?

    1. great question! I can’t really say for certain, but it seems groups like Wu-Tang or even creations like Afro-Samurai or the event I went to, are more interested in the Afro-Asian connection for the seeming “novelty”–and the ability to blend together two cultures not often associated with one another, which can generate very interesting artistic fusions. I don’t see much direct discussion or allusion to the historical elements in this blog, which frankly aren’t often a focus of inquiry in popular culture or in scholastic settings. One of the reasons i think it would be interesting to see this history used in spec genres like steampunk, etc. Regarding Wu directly, their influence seems to have initially been old martial arts flicks and other popular media depictions (often one dimensional) of Asia, hence the probable reason for their focus on kung fu, ninjas, etc. But some like Rza appear to have used this initial exposure to move beyond this typifying to explore Eastern-Asian philosophies etc which he imbued into the group. Also, they’re 5% who have an attachment to the term “Asiatic.” How much they know of Malik Ambar or Zheng He’s trips to East Africa, I have no idea.

  2. Steampunk, in its search to veer away from Victorian models, might find the multicultural mash-up of African and Asian fashions/culture a source of inspiration. What about a steampunk or dieselpunk world focused specifically on the Afro-Asiatic world?

    I am currently working on this! And I know of at least one other person who has written steampunk focused specifically on the Afro-Asiatic world. There is so much to explore with the rich history that Africa and Asia share. I am more interested in relations between East Africa and East Asia.

    Also thanks for the shout out.

    1. you’re quite welcome! i thought that blog you wrote for BV on textiles and the legacy of colonial transnational connections fascinating. i’m also currently working on a short punk story set in an Afro-Asiatic world. like minds… east Africa and east Asia i think are the lesser known connections–though we know they existed. and please send any existent literature with Afro-Asiatic steampunk my way!

      1. Like minds indeed 😀 So far I’ve only read one published book that had very slight Afro-Asiatic steampunk themes. I’ll send you an email.

  3. Great post. And your right, I haven’t seen much discussion beyond the one-dimensional martial -artist, kung-fu connections. But the facts and tales are still there to be rediscovered, discussed, retold, and analyzed. The Changa tales are such a breath of fresh air and hope to see more in the realms of fantasy (Sword & Souland Sword & Sorcery)

    Heard they played some Fela. Excellent!!!!

    BTW, There’s the Legend of Antarah (‘Antarah Ibn Shaddād al-‘Absī)-

    And here’s a book you may dig: Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry

    Boyyyy!! Your Uzi Weighs a Ton!!!

    1. yeah. i think the Afro-Asian connection is fascinating in what it can possibly inspire. man Antar! how did i forget him? especially since that’s the name of a character in an Afro-Asian story, and he’s named for the historic warrior-poet. thanks for the links! i might have to reblog that!

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