Afrofuturism, a term coined in 1994 by Mark Dery, has long been a part of Black popular culture.
Blending the African Diaspora with science, technology, and philosophy,Afrofuturism is a way for Black people to see and expand on new ideas and shape a future of our own.
For some just discovering it, exploring Afrofuturism can seem like an intimidating task, but we’ve rounded up a few pieces of pop culture for beginner’s who wish to dip their toe into the genre.
Here’s seven titles to watch and read to get you started.
As the Academy Awards approach, the conversation around Black Panther
's Oscar chances continues to grow. The film is a solid introduction to Afrofuturist themes with the African Diaspora and technology taking center stage.
Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer
Monáe has always included Afrofuturist themes in her work and her recent album, Dirty Computer
, is no different.
Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone
The first of a series, Children of Blood and Bone
, released in 2018, mixes West African mythology with themes that are relevant today to tell the story of Zélie Adebola as she fights to bring magic back and take down a violent monarchy. Its follow-up, Children of Virtue and Vengeance
, is expected later this year.
Rich Deas/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Octavia E. Butler's Kindred
A groundbreaking science fiction writer, Butler's Kindred
has inspired countless writers to follow in her footsteps. Published in 1979, Kindred
created the blueprint for Black writers wishing to explore and merge the worlds of science fiction and African American literature.
Nnedi Okorafor's Shuri: The Search for Black Panther
Set to arrive May 7, Nnedi Okorafor's Shuri: The Search for Black Panther is dedicated to the smartest little sister in Wakanda. The comic sees Shuri searching for Black Panther and struggling between her own path and her country.
You've likely seen this classic a number of times—we know we have!—but have you ever realized that The Wiz
is a prime example of Afrofuturism. The film combines Black culture with themes of futurism and mysticism, taking its characters on a journey through space and time.
Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images
Sun Ra's Space is the Place
Avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra stars in this Afrofuturist film, for which he wrote and created the music. Known for his experimental, cosmic music, Sun Ra's Space is the Place
sees the musician on an intergalactic journey, transcending space and time.
John D Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images