Sci-Fi, Black Men, and Woods, Oh My!


The Abandon is a sci-fi TV series created by Keith Josef. Here’s the skinny: after a possible alien invasion, five black hikers in Upstate New York discover they may be the last humans on Earth and quickly learn the importance of survival, loyalty, and manhood:

Of course, as a sci-fi fan, I was intrigued by the narrative, especially since it features an all-African American cast set in the woods in a not too distant future where they might be the last living souls on earth!

However my curiosity quickly gave way to thoughts that ran through my mind like wildfire such as: Is this yet another re-enforcement of black terror in the woods? Will it be a display of buffoonery in nature? I cringed at these thoughts not only for their own sake, but also for the sad awareness of my own conditioning and apprehension regarding of how black people have been portrayed in nature via mainstream images.

Courtesy of Piratecake -click for original article

I needed to know what was really going on, so I decided to go to the source and ask the film maker himself: Will this film perpetuate stereotypes? Is nature portrayed as scary (again)? Keith replied quickly and thoughtfully – and I was delighted by his responses:

Keith, tell us about your background in nature and the outdoors

I’m originally from southern Ohio so the outdoors has always been a big part of my life. The “woods” was the place I played, communed, got scared, found bugs, stared at tadpoles, searched for snakes, heard voices, saw Big Foot, discovered plantlife, listened to the wind, pretended I was in a 18th century movie about pioneers. Yes, I had a big imagination! I say all of that to say I love the outdoors.

What do you want viewers to come away with after watching the show?

The Abandon will use the woods/outdoors to set the tone of mystery, but my characters are all savvy hikers. They will use intelligence and skill as they survive in the woods. They will learn how to use the outdoors to survive. There is something about the outdoors/woods that is an equalizer, a place where one has to use their wit and trust their instincts. It’s a place that helps one relearn the beauty of nature and to respect its power.

The Abandon will use the outdoors to set the tone of mystery and intrigue, but it will also use the outdoors to inspire survival skills.

Check out his clip – then make a donation! They are now in the home stretch of fundraising to produce the show and have tipped over the halfway mark!

Outdoor Afro wishes this project the best of luck!


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