Afrofuturism has emerged over the past decades as a distinct fiction literary mode. Afrofuturism as a literary genre is defined by its own distinct themes, techniques and relations to other kinds of black cultural production. With the emergence of Afrofuturist studies in the 1990s cultural critics such as Mark Dery introduced the term “Afrofuturism” to define:
-"speculative fiction that treats African American themes and addresses African American concerns in the context of the twentieth century technoculture—and, more generally, African American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future."
Afrofuturist storytelling is defined as the intersection of science-fiction, history and fantasy to explore the connection between the African diaspora and their African ancestry. More broadly, it is a movement in literature, music, art and more, connecting elements of science fiction specifically futuristic ones with black history and culture. Afrofuturism is not just about reclaiming the history of the past, but about reclaiming the history of the future as well.
There are many popular examples of Afrofuturism that you probably know:
- Black Panther: from the futuristic costume design to the focus on technology, this is the perfect example of Afrofuturism.
- Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer: this album, like many of Monáe's others, incorporates Afrofuturist themes.
- The Wiz: this is a different take on the classic play the Wizard of Oz, that includes themes of futurism mixed with black culture.
- Sun Ra's Space is the Place: this film follows Jazz musician, Sun Ra, on an intergalactic journey.
If you want to read some books featuring Afrofuturism, MPL has you covered. Here is a list of book recommendations:
If you're enjoying Black Panther, try these other books featuring Afrofuturism!