Lovecraft Country Episode 7: Easter Eggs And References In "I Am"
The seventh episode of Lovecraft Country tackles Afrofuturism.
Well that was trippy.
Lovecraft Country Episode 7 doesn't qualify as horror, per se. Think of it as a sort of reflect-and-regroup, before the final three episodes tie everything together. Our main characters spend "I Am" doing a lot of soul searching. Tic learns about the roots of his abusive childhood, while Montrose's secret life is now out in the open. Leti is suffering from morning sickness, or something that seems a heck of a lot like morning sickness.
But the bulk of the episode focuses on Hippolyta, who goes on a fantastical journey through space and time to find her identity. She discovers that she has spent too much of her life "shrinking" and reshaping herself to other people's expectations--even to the people she loves. It eventually leads her back home, so she can pass on what she's learned to her daughter.
Here are all of the Easter Eggs and references we found in "I Am," the seventh episode of HBO's Lovecraft Country.
You can read all of our episode reference guides below:
1. When Does Bobo Come Back?
The Emmett Till storyline happening in the background of the show is like a slow motion trainwreck; we can see it barreling toward us, and we're utterly powerless to stop it. But it won't be long now; you hear Dee and her friends asking about when "Bobo" will be coming back from his trip. He's probably not going to make it back; Bobo was the nickname of the real-life Emmett Till, who was 13 years old when two white men lynched him for allegedly hitting on a white woman, while he was on a trip down South to visit family. Like Till, the in-show Bobo is a Chicago native. He previously appeared in Episode 3 as one of Dee's friends, playing with the ouija board. He appeared again in Episode 4, when Dee asked Hippolyta for permission to hang out with him.
2. Hi Bessie!
While Hippolyta is driving, a woman driving a motorcycle passes by her. This is Bessie Stringfield, the first black woman to ride a motorcycle across the United States, solo. During her many trips she encountered a great deal of discrimination, especially across the segregated South. Notably, she rode as a dispatch rider for the United States Armed Forces during World War II, and was known in her later years as the Motorcycle Queen of Miami.
3. What Is Afrofuturism?
When you read interviews and analyses about this show, the phrase Afrofuturism is going to come up a lot. The term refers to a genre of science fiction where people of African descent are central to the narrative. Typically, the genre asks big "what if" questions: What if slavery never happened? What if Africa wasn't colonized? It then envisions the outcome in technologically fantastical ways. It's both a celebration of Black potential, and a mourning for what could have been.
The most mainstream portrayal of Afrofuturism is the nation of Wakanda in Black Panther; the main characters wrestle with the responsibility of Wakanda towards other people of color, who did not have the privilege of uninterrupted advancement and prosperity.
Afrofuturism can also refer to a general mindset or approach to life--of someone who tries to escape or free themselves from systemic oppression. Legendary funk band Parliament, for example, incorporated a lot of spaceship and sci-fi imagery into its shows and encouraged black unity and uplifting through music.
4. Beyond C'est
The alien with the massive afro is named in the end credits as Beyond C'est. Beyoncé. Beyond C'est. Get it?
5. Josephine Baker
Hippolyta jokingly asks to dance with Josephine Baker in Paris, and then suddenly, she is. Josephine Baker was a real-life American who renounced her American citizenship and moved to France at a young age. In Paris, she found notoriety as an entertainer, dancer, and civil rights activist, and worked as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II and a main attraction revue dancer at the Folies Bergère. Her teasing performance, wearing nothing but a skirt made of bananas, made her a sex symbol during the Roaring Twenties. She later spoke at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's March on Washington in 1963.
6. Mother's Finest
The song that plays over the African warrior fight scene is "Fire," by Mother's Finest. Appropriate to the scene, the '70s funk band is fronted by a black female singer.
7. Space Is The Place
When Hippolyta and George are exploring the alien planet, we hear a monologue by jazz artist Sun-Ra from the cult classic 1974 film "Space is the Place." A prominent proponent of Afrofuturism, Sun-Ra claimed to be an alien from Saturn. The most famous part of his speech is as follows:
"I’m not real. I’m just like you. You don’t exist in this society. If you did, your people wouldn’t be seeking equal rights. You’re not real. If you were, you’d have some status among the nations of the world. So we’re both myths. I do not come to you as a reality; I come to you as the myth, because that’s what black people are. Myths. I came from a dream that the black man dreamed a long time ago. I’m actually a presence sent to you by your ancestors."
8. The Little Book
Lastly, in case you missed it: When Tic travels back to present day Earth after being sucked into the portal, he's holding a small book. Its title is Lovecraft Country, and its author is his uncle, George Freeman. Putting aside that the real-life writer of the novel is Matt Ruff, this is a delightful in-story meta-twist. Has this story been the artistic work of George Freeman, who's alive in a different continuity or dimension? How, exactly, do the different worlds of this multiverse affect one another? Will we get to see Tic's portal adventures next week, as a counterpart to Hippolyta's adventures this week? We'll have to wait and see.
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