What is AfroFuturism?Well here’s the gist of it; AfroFuturism is the projection of African centered themes into pop culture. With that being said, aside from the phenomenal record shattering black film Black Panther, what other art, movies, music or media could you find depicting the culture of melanated peoples in a future tense?
Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that explores the developing intersection of African/African American Diaspora culture with technology. It combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentrism and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique the present-day dilemmas of black people and to interrogate and re-examine historical events. wikipediaSeems like an easy enough concept to grasp right? No, Well then don’t stress it because this is exactly why you are here. The term “AfroFuturism” was officially coined by Mark Dery in 1994 [from Dery’s 1993 book Flame Wars]. The Afrofuturist rendition of music was first explored by Sun Ra in the late 1950’s. Sun Ra, –Le Sony’r Ra– was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Throughout his musical career Ra experimented with cosmic~space jazz music. He was leader of “The Arkestra“; a dynamic group of musicians he often performed shows with. Born in 1914, in Alabama, Sun Ra is considered an OG in the Movement. Check out his movie: Space is the Place (1972) a 85 minute science fiction movie that was arguably the first popular Film displaying Afrofuturist themes. Cica 1990 Mark Drey currates an interview discussing the lack of a lense from which to consume AfroFuturist science fiction in “Black to the Future”
Why do so few African Americans write science fiction, a genre whose close encounters with the Other–the stranger in a strange land–would seem uniquely suited to the concerns of African-American novelists? Mark Dery- Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Delany, Greg Tate, and Tricia RoseWe like to believe conversations such as the one above helped birth authors new age Afrofuturism authors like Tomi Adeyemi, who wrote the first book in the trilogy sequel; “Children of Blood and Bone“. Haven’t read it yet? Fox is already adapting it into a motion picture!
Sociologist Alondra Nelson’s essay “Future Texts” futhered the concept of an advanced Africa.
Alondra Nelson is an African American author and academic, President of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). An award-winning social scientist, & also professor of Sociology at Columbia University in the City of New York for the people in the back.