We are a collective of artists, thinkers, dreamers, of black people who refuse to be undertaken by the captivity of this present world.  The bloodlines of Black people are interconnected at the roots of our spiritual perceptions. These spiritual processes are based upon ancient paradigms of laws that allow us to tap into our innate abilities grounded in ancestral power. We envision this rootwork as a way for us to gather, meditate, grieve and manifest together as a way to carry on the joys and wisdom of our ancestors. We are the voices of Sankofa. Join us in sacred acts of remembering our futures. 

Current curators include: Jari Bradley, Nina Monet Reynoso, Tonesha Russell, Deaidre White 

The Call

NAVIGATING THE OCEAN: On the surreal legacy of Black Life & Resistance in the 21st Century 

Root Work Journal invites you to wade in the water of our existence with this call to reflect on contemporary Black life after the hold. 


This special issue is an invitation to journey through the mucky, rotted fragments of civilization in order to unearth where we are // who we are // and what we’ve become // in the wake of the hold. 


This call is immersed in powerful spirit of the water; specifically, water’s ability to permeate our bodies, memories and experiences of time. By invoking the spirit of water, we invite you to step in to, or through, a medium offering more resistance than the air we breathe. To move or proceed with the difficult labor of now (our past/present/future) in search of freedom and the meaning of our existence beyond the confines of the predatory systems that brought us here. 

This call thinks through the limits of the so called human and envisions our kinship past the confines of this position. For as Black people have been deemed inhuman through bondage to police terror (Spillers, 1987; Wynter, 1994), we call for a refusal to reach towards a status of human and rather look to our non-human kin that continues to teach us how to move with, be taught through, and be of water (Gumbs, 2020). Thinking outside of the nomenclature of man reveals possibilities in a hierarchical standard of being that necessitates the subjugation of Blackness. 


This special issue is a meditation on the vast uncertainties of our ocean. It seeks to trouble the status of human and open us to the vastness of our ocean. Ultimately, this issue attempts to speak to the consumption and commodification of Black life in the 21st century. The issue calls out the moves to commodify Blackness and at the same time meditate on our strategies of fugitivity, maroonage, and creating worlds that are in opposition to the current state of being. To get there, we will take a deeper dive into these areas of Black life in the Americas: our lived realities, the capital exploitation of our existence, our moves towards rebellion, and the way we consume technologies. 

[read full call] 


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