Reading: Black Futures

Join authors, poets, and playwrights Dua Saleh, Senah Yeboah Sampong, Fayise Abrahim, Erin Sharkey, and Lisa Brimmer for a reading from their work, which explores the Afrofuturist landscape in verse and prose. Afrofuturism supports the reimagining of alternative histories unbound by trauma, insisting on intersectionality and self-definition in our present, and the envisioning of possible futures that can be realized for people of African descent across the African diaspora. This reading will further explore the possibilities Afrofuturism by pushing the boundaries of genre, outside of speculative fiction into lyric essay, creative nonfiction, screenplay, and poetry as well.

Free; first come, first serve. Doors open at 6 p.m. After the program, guests are invited to join Third Thursday for drinks, music, and other activities.

Artist Bios


Erin Sharkey is a writer, producer, educator and graphic designer based in Minneapolis. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and is, with Junauda Petrus, the co-founder of an experimental arts production company called Free Black Dirt. Erin has appeared in publications such as Walker Art Center’s Untitled and Paper Darts. Erin is a 2016/17 Loft Mentor Series winner in creative nonfiction and was a 2016 VONA/Voices Travel Writing fellow, 2015 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Emerging Writers fellow, a Givens Foundation cultural producer-in-residence as well as a Coffee House Press in the Stacks artist-in-residence at the Archie Givens Sr. Archive at the University of MN, where she now is helping to promote Umbra Search, a digital search tool for African American memory.

Dua Selah is a multidisciplinary performing artist with a haunting, retrospective sound. Using diverse afro-diasporic influences, the work produced by this artist provides audiences with ripe and unrefined emotions. Saleh hopes to explore art as a means to engage in complex expressions of humanity. Recently Dua has won the 2017 VERVE Spoken Word grant. Dua was born in Kassala, Sudan and moved to the United States as a refugee of war with family. Though gaining attention as a performing artist, Saleh has primarily been known for political organizing and workshop facilitation throughout the state of Minnesota.

Senah Sampong is a warlock, imagineer,  and first- generation American with roots in Ghana and Uganda respectively. He loves to read and has practiced writing for 23 of his 31 years. He has used his interest in various media to cultivate and cross-pollinate interests in history, political science and Afrofuturism. Senah’s aim has been to develop  a critical analyses of social engineering with a focus on mythology, race, class, and cultural imperialism. His ultimate goal is to help bridge gaps in collective memory and remedy the effects of cultural amnesia born from the traumas of patriarchy, colonialism and white supremacy.

Lisa Marie Brimmer is a Queer, Black,Transracial Adoptee poet and arts based community organizer. She is a two-time Givens Foundation for African American Literature fellow, has received a Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship and is a current graduate Fellow at the University of St. Thomas in English Literature. Her work has been published in Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine, Gazillion Voices Magazine, On the Commons Magazine and in Burn Something zine. Her improvisational music collective, High Society, has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio, KFAI and various stages throughout the Twin Cities and Wisconsin. A playwright, scenes of her work in progress INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY were devised and workshopped with Savage Umbrella in the Summer of 2016. Recent curatorial credits include A Tribe Called Queer: Can we kick it? (2015) and she was a collaborative queerator of 2016’s Queertopia Cabaret produced with Bedlam Theater at Intermedia Arts.

Fayise Abrahim: Raised in rural Minnesota by a family of East African refugees, factory workers and farmers, Fayise wonders where can refugee hearts rest? Searching for and inheriting oral art forms, she weaves stories of resistance & the land with the laughter of those who tend to the soil. Fayise is a 2016 Emerging Writer with The Givens Foundation for African American Literature and works as a community organizer. She is a recipient of the 2017 VERVE Spoken Word grant.