“The earth cannot move without music. The earth moves in a certain rhythm, a certain sound, a certain note. When the music stops the earth will stop and everything upon it will die.”

We live in a world where a number of science fiction elements from aliens to astral projection were casually confirmed as real and no one really seemed to blink or care. Meanwhile, a whole human is plotting regular trips to space because he can. I think it’s safe to say we’ve crossed to the other side of normal as a society. And it’s also a safe bet that Sun Ra beat us here by a millennium.

As an Afrofuturism enthusiast, one of the best gifts I ever received was an impromptu screening of Sun Ra’s Space is the Place. Sitting on a friend’s couch, I was transported to an alternate reality where two black men play a card game for the fate of the black race. There’s also a space unemployment agency, which has to push you over the edge if you’re undecided. For a film that touches on isotope teleportation, trans-molecularization, and mass intergalactic relocation of an entire race (using only music) in the first two minutes, it’s most surreal attribute is its accessibility. I couldn’t believe it was just sitting on YouTube the whole time. But before you watch it, you should know about the creator.


I won’t regurgitate what little is on the Internet about Sun Ra. Here’s a good summary. He proclaims that black people are myths. At the very least, he succeeded in making himself one. If your introduction to Sun Ra is directly through the film you might think he’s portraying a character. As if there is a man behind the mask ‘Sun-Ra.’ However, the truth seems to be that there was no mask. Just a man who left behind a myth. The film itself is similarly surreal having started as a documentary and morphed into a feature while retaining the essence of both. I bring this interview to you so that you know the performance you see in the film is, by all records, no different than his natural existence. You’ll waste valuable time if you choose to weigh the merits of his performance as an actor rather than his purpose as an artist.


At first, colonizing an uninhabited planet and transporting the entire black race there via music sounds like a daunting task. Especially considering that music, just music, is the proposed ark. However, when you surrender to the musical score of the film, you’ll find that the band behind it is less an assortment of talented instrumentalists and more of a synergistic orchestra of undiscovered virtuosos and unappreciated genius. Realize Arkestra is a portmanteau of ‘Ark’ and ‘Orchestra’ and suddenly mass intergalactic travel seems a whole lot more reasonable. It may say Space is the Place on the title sequence, and you may see Sun Ra’s Space is the Place elsewhere, but I believe the only accurate context is Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra in Space is the Place – because the film’s soul is, of course, it’s music. Take a trip for yourself:



Ultimately you have to judge the film for yourself, but don’t foolishly judge the wrong attributes. I happen to think it’s one of the most quintessential pieces of content ever uploaded to the interweb. I also believe that we are all the Sun so I’m biased. Enjoy.