Black Lotus Warriors | Tim Ra

The Black Lotus Warriors are on the move, sharpening their blades guarding the streets of Tokyo. Descendants of Yasuke, the first black Samurai, they patrol the city with acute alertness – and deadly force when necessary. No one messes with the Black Lotus Warriors and lives to tell the tale. They are protectors, always ready to strike.

*While Yasuke, who lived in 16th century Japan, is a documented historical figure, the Black Lotus Warriors are a work of fiction.

**This series is an exemplary manifestation of the social fabric of AI art. It portrays a fictional group of Afro-Asian Samurai warriors, imagined as descendants of Yasuke, the first black Samurai, a real historical figure. Its message of female empowerment reached millions of people and ignited an intense debate about cultural identity.

On Afrofuturism Central, where I regularly post, the narrative of Yasuke, who according to one interpretation rose from slave to Samurai in 16th-century Japan, was juxtaposed with the multifaceted history of Africans who travelled the world as traders, engineers, diplomats, and scientists. No one shall call Yasuke a slave! The series also inspired numerous artists to reinterpretations, rebrandings, and creative reappropriations. One interpretation even saw Africans as the true originators of Asian culture – a bold claim that raised eyebrows in the Asian community.

People from all over the world thanked me for being seen – including many women from the Afro-Asian community. It was as if the art itself had spoken, and the world had listened – and I felt enriched, enlightened, and sensitized to differences that make a difference.

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