Melz Owusu: "The key to our collective liberation is the ability to imagine"

The academic is the founder of the Free Black University, which seeks to decolonise the curriculum.

by Melz Owusu
21 September 2020, 4:07pm

Melz wears all clothing model's own.

This story originally appeared in Up + Rising, a celebration of extraordinary Black voices, and is the first chapter of i-D's 40th anniversary issue (1980-2020). i-D chronicled over 100 activists and artists, musicians and writers, photographers and creatives, in Atlanta, Baltimore,Minneapolis, LA, London, New York, Paris and Toronto.

“The key to our collective liberation is the ability to imagine. What shall further free us than cascading upon the limitless bounds of the radical imagination? To create true justice, we first need to imagine what this justice looks like. What it feels like. We need to imagine a world beyond.

The current systems will never free us, they are the apparatus of our oppression. We are tricked in to believing that further reforming these systems is going to anchor us towards liberation, this lie only holds us back from freedom.

I envision a world in which prisons, and police do not exist. A world in which capitalism is a system of the past and each and every person on this planet has enough to sustain and live. A world in which we care for the land and the climate — we honour it as a sacred extension of ourselves and not something to be exploited. A world in which Black people can be at peace, where we can rest, and love. A world in which justice no longer has to be fought for because it just is.”


Photography Jermaine Francis.
Photographed on Holloway Road, London, N7.
Casting Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Alexandra Antonova.