I got a hypochondriac flow that get real ill, get nauseous to the beat, I spit sick at will.

On J. August Richards’ Webseries, ‘The Hypnotist’: Black People and Science Fiction

I’m struck by the fact that the great J. August Richards is developing a sci-fi webseries, The Hypnotist, featuring black people that seems to center blackness.

“…African hypnosis. It was essentially lost during the slave trade, but goes back thousands of years.”

I’ve had many a conversation about why it is so uncommon for Black folks who have money to explore science fiction; and how this limits the kinds of stories that black people have access to and how it limits black people’s ability to see themselves as expansively as they could. There has yet to be an adaptation of an Octavia Butler or Tananarive Due novel and yet we make a fair number of romantic comedies, comedies centered around a black comedian, hood tales, and Black American historical epics.

The Hypnotist posterSo good on J. that The Hypnotist seems to not only be a science fiction story but one that plays with blackness and Africanness. This is a teaser so one can’t know how deeply these themes will be explored, but I’m struck by the fact that this 50-second trailer so forthrightly names blackness, Africanness, and slavery. That. is. just. dope.

The question then is: how will this all work?

I’m wondering if The Hypnotist will be a play on Egyptian doctor Imhotep’s “temple sleep” and if part of what is explored is this notion of reconnecting to that subconscious Africanness that was erased by white supremacy and centuries in North America. There is a lot of subtextual room to play here that I think could give the show some deeper resonance that is specific to the Black American experience and psyche.

These are big questions, to be sure. We shall see just what J. has in store.


Posted by tlewisisdope on June 10th, 2013 :: Filed under Film,Television
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4 Responses to “On J. August Richards’ Webseries, ‘The Hypnotist’: Black People and Science Fiction”

  1. J. August Richards
    June 14th, 2013

    I don’t know who you are but you NAILED IT!!! And you are correct about Imhotep… Spoiler Alert!!! When we’re finished, you’ll be the first to see it…

  2. tlewisisdope
    June 15th, 2013

    Man, I’m so honored that you visited my site. And thank you for the opportunity to see the series.

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    July 7th, 2013

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