FUTUREWORLDS 5: Escape from JollyWorld

AS220 Youth centers artmaking in a social justice context, culminating annually in the AfroFuturist inspired Futureworlds showcase. Every year our young people unite to present a youth-led, year long multimedia project that blends elements of art, popular culture and visionary fiction to reimagine a more just and equitable world free from systems of oppression. It has taken the form of a fashion show, festival, and this year a play.

“FUTUREWORLDS is a multimedia mixtape. A living collage. A walking anthology. A breathing literary magazine. The purpose of Futureworlds is to give young people the space and resources to create highly visible work that transforms the way we think about art, community and justice. We use design thinking as a framework to develop projects that not only create social awareness but that also offer potential solutions and/or ways of being.” –Anjel Newmann, AS220 Director of Programs

FUTUREWORLDS 5: Escape from JollyWorld tells the story of a drug addicted rapper Marley Man who finds himself emerged in JollyWorld; a hyper animated dimension where even the most common folk can reach other worldly potential. The rapper is signed to a record label that makes its profits by taking endorsements from Big Tobacco and Pharmaceutical companies. On his journey, he meets 2 elder musicians who help him understand the roots of his addiction and more importantly, those who are benefiting from it. As he learns more about his past and the institutions that have controlled it, JollyWorld begins to collapse. How will Marley Man confront his addiction? Will he make it out of JollyWorld alive?

The goal of Futureworlds 5 is to explore the many factors that lead people towards addiction and how communities of color have been disproportionately criminalized for a disease that is now gaining growing compassion and policy reform. At the same time, our aim is to educate young people about the dangers of abusing drugs, with a special focus on opiates and nicotine.

FUTUREWORLDS 5 put on seven performances in August and October 2019! Check out what it took to create the show:

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Featured photo by Allam Mella.