Note — Aug 09, 2020

How Afrofuturism Can Help the World Mend

Lovely piece by C. Brandon Ogbunu. Where a lot of articles look at Afrofuturism simply to present the genre, and give some history and list writers. He does cite one of the better definitions (imho) but goes further than most in why it’s different, as well as presenting why that difference, that alternate perspective, can provide an essential lens to understand and envision solutions to the current pandemic, the systemics issues presented through Black Lives Matter, and surveillance and politics.

While highly visible examples like Black Panther certainly qualify, Afrofuturism has more traditionally lived in subgenres of literature, philosophy, music, fashion, and other aesthetics. Dubbing something Afrofuturistic, says renowned sociologist Alondra Nelson, is “very much in the eye of the beholder and this is a good thing. Afrofuturism should be a big tent of expanding borders of the possibilities for Black life.” […]

Afrofuturism describes “visions of the future—including science, technology and its cultures in the laboratory, in social theory, and in aesthetics—through the experience and perspective of African diasporic communities.” […]

[T]he Black experience is defined by a historical struggle for existence, the right to live, to be considered a person, to be afforded basic rights, in pursuit of (political, social, economic) equality. Because of this, the Afrofuturist can see the parts of the present and future that reside in the status quo’s blind spots. […]

Black culture in much of the world is a remix culture, and liberation emerges from the recombination between our artistic and political ambitions, and whatever tools are at our disposal.