By Michelle R. Perkins, Cohort ’13
Driven and compelled, I embrace all, yet simultaneously seek that which directly speaks of me, to me. Therefore, in all I do, I am determined to reveal an aesthetic philosophy in response to a black experience. During a conversation with my Cohort ’13 mate, Whitney Hunter, in jest I conceived the term Aristo-Black. Now, I am considering the layered possibilities of meaning this term can illustrate. What does it mean to be a modern black academic? How is the Aristo-Black different and/or similar to E. Franklin Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie? In this Post-Neo-Black society is there a new need to systemize blackness from a global perspective? What is the role of the black artist or Afro-academic in codifying black aesthetics?
Je suis étudiant noir, and it still matters. My bookshelves have necessarily been invaded by western philosophy. Everywhere I go, I feel my otherness. Yet I am Aristo-Black, so I must continue to dig to see myself, to reveal the sublime, and to leave clues to those who need it most.