Uncommon Considerations in the Anthropocene
An Interview with Dr. Bayo Akomolafe
Friends, we’re thrilled to share with you this most recent interview with our dear friend, Dr. Bayo Akomolafe. Bayo is a poet, philosopher, psychologist, professor, proud diaper changer, and passionate about the preposterous. He’s a thinker and speaker unlike any you’ve met before. Born and raised in Nigeria, Bayo currently lives with his wife and two children in Chennai, India, and pre-pandemic, spent much time traveling the world teaching on transraciality, emergence, postactivism and more. He is a widely appreciated speaker, teacher, public intellectual, author and facilitator, globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action and social change. He is the Executive Director and Chief Curator for The Emergence Network (A Post-Activist Project] and host of the online writing course, ‘We will dance with Mountains: Writing as a Tool for Emergence’ Erin first met Bayo while taking this class in 2017, and we’re both thrilled to hear that this life-changing course will be offered again in Fall of 2020. Read more about Bayo and explore his unconventional and refreshing perspectives through his website www.bayoakomolafe.net, including this recent essay, which Erin refers to in our interview. https://bayoakomolafe.net/project/i-coronavirus-mother-monster-activist/
A friend recently said it so well: “I feel if I can relax and let go of a certain part of my mind and just fall in with Bayo’s words, I always grow.” In this conversation, we explore Bayo’s ideas about making sanctuary. He shares Yoruba proverbs, including “In order to find your way, you must become lost,” and “May your road be rough.” We explore white supremacy, colonial mind, and modernity and the unfortunate“flattening of the sacred.” We talk about control, queering binaries, resisting “simple and neat” stories or explanations, and relaxing into our entanglement with the world and each other. Holding the tensions of paradox are a necessary skill. Bayo talks about the necessity of making way for grief, what he calls “the vocational project of touching loss,” and the possibility of decorating these wounds as a way of making sacred.
We also explore topics of justice, fugitivity, bodies as becomings, and explore some musings on how Bayo learned to think in these unique ways. We also speak about the beauty of bewilderment. There’s so much richness in this conversation! We hope you can relax certain parts of your mind and grow as you listen to Bayo “shock you into noticing the world differently.”