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?

"Ghana Girls" by Michelle R. Perkins, 2006

"Ghana Girls" by Michelle R. Perkins, 2006

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.