Insights into AfrofuturismYtasha L. Womack Author, Afrofuturist, Director
At this month’s Adler After Dark, we’ll be exploring the world of Afrofuturism. What’s Afrofuturism? Great question! We asked leading Afrofuturism expert and Adler After Dark: A Night in the Afrofuture partner, Ytasha Womack, to fill us in!
Afrofuturism has become quite the hot topic. Whether your interest was piqued by the lore of the film Black Panther or the mythos of Janelle Monae’s cyborg alter ego, the world of Afrofuturism is ripe for a deep dive which spans science, art, African and African Diasporic cosmologies and more.
I wrote the book Afrofuturism: The World of Black
Some were artists, many were history buffs, others just loved science but we were enthusiastic about exploring futures that valued humanity and uncovering hidden histories of cultures of color that shaped today’s technology and philosophical thought. Were there ideas from the past that could create a better future now? What can we do now to transform our future? How can art today make a difference tomorrow? I had friends who wracked their brains around these ideas as a past time. Today they can proudly claim to be Afrofuturists.
Personally, I’m most excited about Afrofuturism’s ability to inspire people to value the realm of the imagination to create inspired visions of the future. All of our technologies and systems were once ideas in someone’s head. Literally, someone thought ‘I wonder what would happen if…’ and now I’m downloading their app, exercising in their sweat resistant clothes, or buying a ticket on their shuttle to Mars. (Well, almost.) This ability to imagine, when encouraged, is empowering.
What is Afrofuturism
Although the term is new for many (the word was coined in the 90s), the idea that people of the African descent and the African Diaspora have contemplated ideas around the future is not
I like to say that Afrofuturism is a way of looking at the future or alternate realities through a black cultural lens. Formally, Afrofuturism is an epistemology, artistic aesthetic, a basis for critical race theory, and method for self-healing. It intersects black culture,
How does Afrofuturism differ from other takes on the future
For one, Afrofuturism does not view time as linear. Time, in the world of Afrofuturism, is cyclical, can move in all directions and often treats the past, present, and future as one experience dictated by one’s point of awareness.
Afrofuturism also values the divine feminine. Many esoteric traditions view the feminine aspect of humanity as the realm of intuition. In this sense, intuition is as important as logic. Both are worthy portals for information and decision making. However, Afrofuturism is especially exciting to feminists because many leading creators and theorists are women
Afrofuturism also acknowledges that race is
What must I know about Afrofuturism
- 1. Know that people of the African Continent and Diaspora have always contributed to ideas and technologies that engaged and shaped the future.
- 2. Know that being encouraged to use one’s imagination to explore ways to create healthier futures for everyone is incredibly liberating and creates
- 3. You have to have a musical ear for George Clinton and Sun Ra. At the very least you know what the Mothership is. Their musical journeys among countless others are essential for your inner/outer space travels.
Sign Up For Exclusive Content!
Need some Space in your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to receive the latest news on Adler programs, events, and happenings.