“It becomes imperative to alter perceptions of self by jettisoning the aesthetic models of Western tradition that have forged such perceptions of blackness” - August Wilson
In this afrofuturist vision of creative consumption, the movie theater becomes a virtual sacred space named the Digital Griot Stage. When the everyday is already a futuristic marvel, the relatively restrained activity of sitting in a space and listening to someone speak becomes novel. The griot, traditionally a West African storyteller and historian, replaces movies as the new cultural attraction. The griot is now a digital presence, but its call still draws the community together. A VR headset is the new threshold for transformation, The virtual space is inherently coded to be uncoded. Prejudice exists, but the anonymity of virtual space in an afrofuturist era gives the disenfranchised a chance to explore whatever persona they wish, safely.
She only dreamed on Thursdays. When the sun went down over the towering city spires, and the blinding light stopped reflecting off the glass and steel, she left her ramshackle apartment and started down the streets toward Digi-Gri. It baffled her to imagine people used to go there for movies, stuffed in small seats with loud neighbors. The hardest part was getting a spot to plug in, especially when the griot for the night was a master. And tonight it was. The AI was renowned from all over, and as Langston-01’s interface beeped in the center of the wire-dense hive of pods, the sense of excitement was ripe in the air. She muscled her way deeper in the line, and dove into an open pod before anyone noticed. She locked the door with a thumb-print and a smile. She was alone. Making sure her memories were recording, she placed the virtual reality glasses over her eyes. In an instant, she was in a massive, empty space. In another, a new traveler popped into existence. And then another. She made her way towards the large, round stage sunken into the center of the room, skillfully sidestepping all those logging in. Langston-01 was already there, and glanced at her with a soft smile. Here, she was wealthy, she was affluent, she was whatever she could code. This was a dream come true, her sacred space. And a Thursday, from a virtual stage, the griot began to speak.