Not only are there Black folks in the future—they’re fly, too.
At the Black Futures Ball at the Bridge Yard on Aug. 6, you’ll see a blend of Comic-Con with a traditional gala and Town culture, says Selena Wilson, CEO of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), which is hosting the event.
“Folks can expect to see people in straight-up cosplay. They can expect to see people in grills and Jordans. They’ll see folks in heels and cocktail dresses, in gowns, and in beautiful traditional African clothing mixed with futuristic pieces,” Wilson tells me. “There will be something for everybody.”
Both celebration and fundraiser, attendees of the Black Futures Ball are invited to contribute to EOYDC’s annual college fund. A staple for over two decades, the Deep East Oakland-based center’s fund donated $150,000 to Black and brown Bay Area students last year alone. Wilson hopes to keep that momentum: “We’re celebrating the theme of Afrofuturism,” she says. “We’re also legit investing in Black futures.”
That investment is more important than ever. When Black students take out student loans to attend college, a recent Brookings Institute report concluded, they borrow more on average than their white classmates. What’s more, the debt disparity between Black graduates and white graduates more than triples after graduation.
Backed by The Town Experience, Marketing Kings and The Subversal group, the event will be filled with visual arts, music and food. Performances include renowned Oakland vocalist Goapele and emerging lyricist J-Walt. Installations of visual art will come from Aerosoul, Black Terminus, AfroComicCon, Run The World Clothing and Dark Star Universe, as well as an Afrofuturism-themed exhibit hosted by the Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art.