Two-Hour Feature to Explore Academia and Pop-Culture Sci-Fi Focus on Race and Resistance

Washington, DC (August 12, 2020) – With actors Tim Russ from Star Trek: Voyager and Peter Macon from The Orville leading the celebrity panel, Escape Velocity Extra (EVX) will deliver its most provocative program to date in late August as it takes a comprehensive look at race and resistance in science fiction.

In the wake of George Floyd’s brutal murder, and a larger and longer-standing tradition of extrajudicial killings of Black Americans, universities, businesses, and boardrooms around the country—and around the world—have started engaging with (or intensifying their engagement with) the topics of race, prejudice, personal and systemic racism, and police brutality. The emergence of COVID and its disproportionate effect on communities of color has further underscored the inequalities and injustices that still run rampant (with troubling frequency) in American society. In this moment of social distancing, multi-modal protest, and popular culture discourse, the Museum of Science Fiction will participate in the discussion with a thought-provoking panel on the many facets of race contained in and explored through works of science and speculative fiction.

Entitled Policing Blackness: Incarceration, Resistance, and Respectability Politics, the Museum of Science Fiction’s online program will deliver a dynamic two-hour program that’s most certainly right for the times. The program will air exclusively online, Wednesday evening, August 26, starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Hosted by the Museum’s own Aisha Matthews, EVX will deliver a multi-part discussion with industry scholars, pop culture specialists, and special celebrity guests. Session #1 will feature academicians and authors Isiah Lavendar III, andré carrington, Lisa Yaszek, and De Witt Kilgore in a panel discussion about policing, respectability politics, and liberation in science and speculative fiction literature, film, and popular culture. In Session #2, Peter Macon, who plays Bortus on The Orville, and Tim Russ, Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager, will take an in-depth look into interstellar race relations, the on-screen and off-screen dynamics of race in Hollywood, and the challenges and benefits of working in science fiction for Black actors.

From the works of such popular Afrofuturist authors as Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, N.K. Jemisin, and Tananarive Due to the broader works of speculative fiction contributed by authors such as Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick, race—or its absence—still plays a crucial role in the fabric of world-building, and more importantly, in humanist understandings of what the future can and should look like. From movies like District 9 to shows like the Orville, Stargate SG-1, and Luke Cage, race is both overtly and subtly intertwined with science fiction narratives of incarceration, resistance, and identity.

Race is a boundary in constant need of redefinition, changeable as it is with the tenor of the times. The policing of that boundary—in all senses of the word—is one of science fiction’s most complex concerns. Therefore, if any genre holds the potential for new imaginings of race, criminal justice, and the future of humanity itself, it is science fiction. Join us to explore some of its most salient possibilities—and abject failures—as we look at world that we hope to leave better than we found it.

Session #1 is open to the public and free of charge. Session #2 requires a $5 tax deductible donation to the Museum. Both Russ and Macon will be available for paid one-on-one fan engagements following the program. For additional information, or to register, please visit https://escapevelocity.events/evx/.

About the Museum of Science Fiction

The nonprofit Museum of Science Fiction will be the world’s first comprehensive science fiction museum, covering the history of the genre across the arts and providing a narrative on its relationship to the real world. The Museum will show how science fiction continually inspires individuals, influences cultures, and impacts societies. Also serving as an educational catalyst to expand interest in the science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) areas, the Museum uses tools such as mobile applications and wifi-enabled display objects to engage and entertain. For additional information, please visit: www.museumofsciencefiction.org.

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