''The Negro Space Program'' (02:00) 
by Marien Singbo Wa Tata

// PREFACE //​​​​​​​
I remember the summer of 2020. I had just graduated from design school and moved to London to pursue a career in animation. There was a pandemic, but on a personal level I had plenty to be excited about. But I wasn’t… I was exhausted.

The Black Lives Matter Movement was in full swing around the world and as the summer went by I found myself lying in the bedroom doom scrolling news about racial injustices and getting cripplingly affected. Not before long I was having a hard time sleeping, my mind was racing with all these ruminations about my own picture-broken childhood & adolescence in a white homogenous part of town. In the face of racism my approach has always been ‘’do not let them see you sweat’’ but right now my mouth was foaming with anger.
As I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram that summer in June I came across AJ Addea’s poem ‘’Black people only write about the moon’’. It was comforting. Not only did it move me on an emotional level, it also moved me to action. At this point in time my mind kept revisiting this one particular memory. 
It’s a late night in November 2011 and I’m waiting for my bus ride home from . As I’m sitting in the waiting hall, four men approach me whose malicious intentions can be spotted from a mile away. They start to ask me questions about where I live and where I’m from. Before I’ve even began to understand what’s going I find myself rushing down street with three of these men on my tail throwing bottles and yelling ‘’vit makt, negerslakt’’ (white power, kill all niggers). I have never felt fear like this before.

 I manage to get some distance between us. When I’m out of sight. I take a left into the bushes. I’m soaking wet, as it dawns on me that ‘’Do not let them see you sweat’’ doesn’t really work when you have to run for your life. The first scene of the animation was based on this experience.
 The following year and a half I continued working on this sporadically. As this animation came to materialize I found myself working more when I was upset. It turns out this act of self-expression had an especially cathartic effect on my own intrusive memories. The Negro Space Program is an expression and a reaction. A reaction to the world events that have transpired in both recent times and in times of a bygone era. It is an expression of experiences and emotions that I believe are universal across the black diaspora in the world. This animated short does not intend to lecture and give answers about these topics. But through it’s intense imagery & writing it seeks to create an experience that arouses both empathy and healing. Feelings and processes that I believe are latent in all of us.
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