Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

Blackanese Raptivist: Aisha Fukushima

AishaFukushima111

Aisha Fukushima is a Black/Japanese=Blackanese Poet/singer/rapper/activist=Raptivist educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area in the USA.

Her work brings together global hip-hop styles and language, and anti-racist, anti-sexist activism in a way that crosses national boundaries.

Excerpt from her website:

‘Over the last 8 years, Aisha’s passion for empowering young people through the performing arts has led her to build educational programs such as Turn Off The Stereotypes (2005), Whitman Institute of Summer Enrichment (2006) and SISTARZ, an all-girls hip hop club (2012). She has also been honored with a number of prestigious fellowships for her work from institutions such as Duke
University’s Institute of Summer Enrichment, Humanity in Action’s European Program (The Netherlands) and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.

Aisha holds an honors degree in Rhetoric & Film Studies from Whitman College (2009) with minors in French Literature & Gender Studies. She currently lives in the California Bay Area where, in addition to performing, she works with youth everyday through the San Francisco Unified School District and the Performing Arts Workshop. She also regularly speaks at universities and conferences throughout the Bay Area and recently returned from two international performance lecture tours Japan and Kazakhstan (respectively) with the support of the U.S. State Department. Aisha is fluent in French and building proficiency in Japanese, Arabic and Wolof.’

‘There are many ways to work to create change in the world. Also, the trajectories of identity-markers make for particular ways of making use of our capacities and talents toward social change and anti-oppression work.

In my case, it comes from living in Postwar Japan and the United States, as a military child, as a man, of a certain kind of relationship to time, place, nation, gender, culture, race and racialization. My work does not concentrate on the US-American contours of race, because I speak with a relationship to living in Occupation-Japan just after the Korean War, to the history of race-making and nation-building in relation to living in the 1950s and 1960s as a child and teenager in the US and Japan.

Also, I grew up in Japan, with my first years largely without a father, off of the military bases and in a town outside of Tokyo proper facing Japanese racisms, then on military bases, protected but encountering new American racisms.  Inside/outside, military life, Japan and its changes from post-World War II to today.  My relationship with my mother was solidified in these times, more than with my father, which poses certain perspectives regarding a way to be in the world as a man-of-color.

In addition, my own searches brought my journey later in life (in my 40s) to academia.  Before this, was my training and life-saving movements in Zen Buddhist monastic training. These inform my ways as educator.

Even as Aisha Fukushima speaks to the world from her perspective and I speak to readers of this blog or at my numerous talks, or on my websites and YouTube channels and at talks at academic conferences and art shows, our intentions, as persons seeking justice and memory and empowerment and understanding, are alike.  She speaks to mostly a younger generation of people, who have been raised in far different relations to WWII than I, who speak of their particular experiences and work in certain ways in resistance and harmony.  I speak to an older, transnational generation closer to WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam wars.  However, there are parallels as well as differences.  This does not detract from our message.

Each word, phrase, identity, history, is different, but the pain, the needs, the longing, are somewhat alike.  There, activists for social change and democratic empowerment and understanding, are alike–sisters and brothers.

Visit her at her website is:  http://aishafukushima.com/

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