A Brief Introduction to My Post-American Dreams
In an effort to counter the malevolent, profit-driven gaze of social media’s sophisticated algorithms, I recently launched a Patreon to showcase my art.
As a self-described prosecrafter, I figure if I take a big swing and knock my written Patreon introduction out of the park, far beyond the multitudes of lifeless digital avatars and soggy cardboard cutouts, it’d be pretty auspicious.
So I took a big swing. Now I can’t spot the ball in the sunlight. Do you see it?
In some circles folks know me as Koji; historically I’m called Aliko. Both names are acceptable. I’m an English-language anticapitalist prosecrafter and multimedia creator who’s embraced the epigram “post-American dreamer” in my attempt to make sense of what I can see happening.
Mainly, I’m an imperfect human loving my way through this predictably hectic life as best I can. But if you must know (and you must), I’m Black (American), I’m a man (he/they), I’m queer (pansexual), I’m an old-ish young adult (millennial), and I’m as cool as the other side of the pillow (sometimes).
I’m proud to be in a lifelong relationship with Oakland. Despite its unchecked gentrification, routine state-sanctioned violence, and unprecedented drought conditions, I’m fortunate to count this dynamic Northern California city as my current home. Between my adolescence and my recent years in the picturesque Bay Area, my personhood was molded by the uncompromising grandeur of New York City. It was Manhattan, the historic epicenter of capital in America, where I learned how to walk with purpose.
My white-collar career in words includes consequential experience as both a community-oriented sports journalist and a not-for-profit grant writer. Beyond journalism, my sojourns around sports media took me from curating content in real-time to producing and hosting a daily podcast. My work in fund development and philanthropy has contributed to millions of dollars in awards for well-run direct-service organizations with noble missions. Sports and NFPs are great fields, filled with great people. Somewhere in a parallel universe where I’m not allergic to capitalism I’m still grinding away in both of them.
In this universe, before the pandemic I invested a lot of my energy into the queer nightlife in and around San Francisco. In addition to performing regularly as a gogo dancer at numerous NorCal venues, over the past few years I’ve been a featured entertainer at clubs and bars in several urban locales across the US. Before the economy halted I was honing my skills as an event host. Whether I’m getting folks to laugh, grooving, crooning, modeling, facilitating dialogue or waxing atop a soapbox, I adore my opportunities to sustain a rapt audience.
Though building my profile as a nightlife fixture has been fulfilling as hell, prose is my great passion. My ease with English has been evident to me since I was a small boy. I’ve spent years evolving my personal, philosophical, and political thoughts for recreation while using my words to highlight important work happening on the ground. Having shifted in the past year from recreational prosecrafter to messenger with a mandate in the face of emerging fascism and accelerating capitalist ecocide, these days I’m combining my gift and my passion with an appropriately post-American, post-greed ideology.
My first long-form work of nonfiction — a collection of about a dozen essays, each between 5,000 and 20,000 words — is in progress. The book (see Patreon Tier II: “I’m an Author, Y’all”) is both a memoir of Black/queer lived experiences and a treatise that envisions an abundant anticapitalist future. I also have a post-dystopian science-fiction novel marinating in my head and my notes. I’m presently beginning my search for literary representation so that in the near future I may write in relative financial peace.
In addition to drafting my long-form works, I’m disseminating online content daily, representing myself via three distinct personalities on social media tailored to the platforms I utilize and the audiences I’m looking to reach: the first personality is scholarly and dispassionate; the second is fiery and exacting; the last is sensual, vulnerable — the prose promoted through each personality is characterized by brevity and artful linguistic arrangements.
Tapping into the creativity this triad affords me, I expound on anticapitalism, anti-racism, decolonization, and the pursuit of emotional intelligence across multiple profiles. The nature of my online content ranges from logical and knowledge-based, reflecting my post-secondary education in History and Political Science, to metacognitively probing and forthcoming, incorporating my adventures navigating disparate sociopolitical spaces.
At the intersection of my Blackness, queerness, scholarship and humanhood lay one of my great hopes for the world: that the vast array of individual shames and societal stigmas associated with sexuality can be wholly unlearned. As hope is inert without action, a portion of my content centers sex and sexuality (see Patreon Tier III: “The Future Is Queer”). Reinforced by the principle of consent at all times, I aim to conjure empowerment through acceptance of the reality of myriad forms of human sociosensual and sociosexual expression.
With my prose I strive to “other” only the structures of oppression. I encourage holistic body positivity and aggressive self-care. I confront ableism, fatphobia, colorism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, first inside myself, then out in the world. For the benefit of my spirit, my community, and my readers, I utilize personal accounts to speak on the toxicities of normative masculinity, and publicly exorcise the misogynoir and transphobia that have been encouraged to grow inside me since birth. I afford my current mind grace in the endless chase to improve my behavioral health outcomes, and exalt the ungroomed wisdom of my inner child, who instinctually understands that poverty is unnecessary.
I recognize the systematic genocide and erasure of the legacy civilizations of the Western Hemisphere, the ongoing colonization of the Global South, and the causal relationship between the Middle Passage and the towering successes of free-market capitalism. I posit that the incipient Anthropocene extinction event is merely the natural culmination of the humans’ cycles of greed-based hierarchy. All of my voices exist to break down the ancient dual ideologies of white supremacy and patriarchy which hold up the anti-life systems of the corporate state in the present day, so that we may free ourselves from oblivion.
Whether I’m using my given name, a Bembe moniker from Zaire meaning “one who grows in his own direction,” or my nom de guerre, anglicized from the Latin cogitare (“to think”), I know I’m here to promote a vision of our world wherein the abundance of this infinitesimal celestial orb is accessible for all of us. As many have before me, I’m writing such a world into being, gleefully exposing the capitalist gaslight along the way.
If I was consciously observing humanity’s foibles play out without recording what I could see, I’m not sure I would or could glean meaning from such an existence. I must write, particularly during this period of incomprehensible grief in the face of nature’s wrath, so clouded by the specter of imperial collapse, yet infused with the aspirations of our comprehensive collective awakening.
Young humans were out on the streets everywhere before the novel coronavirus escaped Hubei Province. Now that my cohorts in America have (mostly) grieved for 2020 and (mostly) normalized pandemic life, I’m shouting from as many rooftops as I can fit into my days. My message is one of hope. Never in all the combined histories of greed-based hierarchy have the masses held as much agency as we do at this very moment.
We can change the world. We are changing the world. There are so many impactful actions we can take — too many to attempt to list in this introduction. (Thousands of passionate English speakers are already doing that work anyway, ably occupying corners of social media from Twitter to Instagram, to YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, Medium and beyond.) We all have a role. Some of us have many.
My primary role is to deliver useful prose for the movement by adhering to four cardinal tenets of idea formation: humility (my true north), empathy (my aboriginal west), nuance (my imperial east), and [un]learning (my deep south).
Evil wins when we allow our fears to dictate our actions. Above all, I want to leave you feeling eager to lean into your own discomfort, and ever more confident in your ability to imagine new ways the humans can ascend.
I’ve never been more excited to create and curate art. It is the support of my patrons that makes this life even remotely feasible. My gratitude extends to the stars and back.
*catches glimpse of ball descending in the distance; begins 360-foot trot*