Talk:Afrofuturism

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Archives[edit]

Archives of previous discussions can be found at:

To become a Featured Article[edit]

In order for Afrofuturism to be chosen by the Wikipedia community to become a featured article, I am interested in collaborating with anyone to make it meet featured article citeria. --Loremaster 03:50, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Too much quotation[edit]

There is way too much quotation in this article. Something like a third of the article is a single extended quote. - Jmabel | Talk 01:23, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I completely agree. We can work on that. --Loremaster (talk) 21:11, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Images Needed[edit]

One of the criteria for a featured article is that it has images that follow the image use policies and other media where appropriate, with succinct captions and acceptable copyright status. Non-free images or media must satisfy the criteria for inclusion of non-free content and be labeled accordingly. That being said, we need to find images that best represent Afrofuturism. If you find any, please post a link to it here so we can discuss it first. --Loremaster (talk) 22:40, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

We're pitifully short on appropriate images. These are the only even vaguely appropriate ones I see.

What I'd really like is a late 1970s P-Funk photo, if anyone with the rights would release one. - Jmabel | Talk 06:50, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. I think such images might be appropriate for the Music section but I wouldn't favor them for the lead section. I think an image of Morpheus from the Matrix series might be best. --Loremaster (talk) 18:24, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I added it. Now I'm interested in this scan of a comic book page about Green Lantern being confronted with racism on Earth: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/110/272717721_071f1c8845.jpg What do any of you think? --Loremaster (talk) 21:11, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that copyrighted? - Jmabel | Talk 23:40, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
It is but there are conditions according to which you could still use it. --Loremaster (talk) 01:28, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps adding imagery of Black Panther/Wakanda or Janelle Monae/Beyonce to the page would help contemporize it? Enterthesan (talk) 02:09, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Tricia Rose on Afro-futurism[edit]

Tricia Rose interview on Studio 360 about Afro-futurism. Citable, good stuff. - Jmabel | Talk 07:04, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. --Loremaster (talk) 17:26, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

The Mothership Connection[edit]

I gather that George Clinton's "Mothership" thing was some sort of reworking of some Nation of Islam theology, but I don't know much detail. Anyway, there might be a direction worth pursuing in NOI influence on Afrofuturism. I'm sure there is an academic paper out there somewhere that would make this connection. A Google search on "Nation of Islam" + afrofuturism is suggestive, but I don't have time to follow it up right now. - Jmabel | Talk 07:08, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I like the idea of exploring Afrofuturism and black theology. --Loremaster (talk) 17:29, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

RE: PFUNK

This article was first published in the Dutch art magazine METROPOLIS M, #1, February/March 2002.

Occult societies played an important part in the development of Afrofuturism and the emancipation of Afro-Americans. Partly this can be explained from the simple fact that they are secret, that is less sensitive to repression and censure; but more important is that via the brotherhoods, notably through freemasons' lodges, subversive knowledge was passed from generation to generation and was adapted to prevailing socio-political circumstances. Alternative bible interpretations and the study of gnostic texts, prophesies and Ancient Egypt have always been typical of Freemasonry. When in 1776 the first black freemasons' lodge was founded in North America, occult and rejected knowledge from Europe could mix freely with black salvation theories and remnants of African religions. From that time onward 'Black Masonry', a collective term for all sorts of societies related to Freemasonry, developed into the pivot of Afrocentric thought. Writers like the above George G.M. James, activists like Marcus Garvey and organisations like the Nation Of Islam almost without exception spring from Black Masonry. In this respect El Saturn Research, with its influences from Freemasonry and Rosicrucians, does not differ from other black brotherhoods. However, the Astro-Black Mythology distinguishes itself from other Afrofuturistic theories of those days by its mildly ironic, spiritual and universal message. While, for example, the Nation Of Islam developed a politicized mythology in which racial segregation is a central issue and whites are regarded as devils, the Astro-Black Mythology transcends race problems. 'The white man is an image of God. So he can only do what God does. That's what images do', says Sun Ra mockingly in an interview with Henry Dumas. Though Sun Ra's mythology first and foremost addresses black people and is about black people, it contains universal values. [1]

By Ben Schot (born November 15, 1953, Zierikzee, The Netherlands) is a Dutch artist, writer, publisher, and freelance curator. - METROPOLIS M, #1, February/March 2002

Afrofuturism (talk) 21:53, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

RE: Mothership

Underlying all spiritual movements is an esoteric system of thought that's often obscured by the movement's own public rhetoric. Some of the Nation's doctrines have shocked and horrified the general public while fascinating those who are sympathetic to its goals. All of the Nation's teachings are actually symbols and myths that serve as codes for deep, universal truths. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad inherited the leadership from Master Fard Muhammad who was, himself, believed to have succeeded Noble Drew Ali. All of these men held Masonic titles, i.e., noble, honorable and master. As masons, they'd taken vows of secrecy and could not reveal the deeper wisdom to the uninitiated. So they spoke in codes.So deep and multilayered were those codes that few, to this day, have a notion of what they were really teaching.

"I am the Supreme Ruler of the Universe" When Elijah Muhammad met Master Fard, he asked, "Who are you?" Master Fard replied, "I am the Supreme Ruler of the Universe."

Afrofuturism (talk) 21:53, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Ben Schot (born November 15, 1953, Zierikzee, The Netherlands) is a Dutch artist, writer, publisher, and freelance curator.

RE: NOI influences on Afrofuturism in academic literature

I know of a few academic articles that make a connection between Nation of Islam beliefs, Afrofuturism, and urban mythologies.

The earliest intersection of Afrofuturism and NOI beliefs most likely is found in Mark Dery's interviews published the chapter of FLAME WARS dedicated to these Black to the Future interviews. In this chapter, the term Afrofuturism was coined and he writes on the cosmologies of Afrofuturist narratives and the ways in which they integrate Nation of Islam cosmologies: "The Rastafarian cosmology, like the Nation of Islam's, with its genetically engineered white devils and its apocalyptic vision of Eligah Muhammad returning on a celestial mothership, is a syncretic crossweave of black nationalist, African and American religious beliefs, and plot devices worthy of a late-night rocket opera[1]."

Yusuf Nuruddin also writes extensively on the connection between Afrofuturist fictions and NOI beliefs in Ancient black astronauts and extraterrestrial Jihads: Islamic science fiction as urban mythology. [2] In this article, he writes on the only known work of Islamic African American science fiction, the epic poem by Jalaluddin Nuriddin, Beyonder[3].

Nuriddin's Beyonder depicts a futuristic apocalyptic dystopia, in which ecological disasters have plagued mankind in the dying out of the earth's ecosystems. The poem's plot follows the "last of men and jinn"–this being a phrase which Nuruddin calls "racially coded" "in which 'men are evidently the subordinate people of color and 'jinn' are the white ruling elite." The leaders of the jinn have programmed a cyborg, Sir Manikin, "an android jinn" to aid the jinn in their escape from the failing earth–and as Nuruddin nicely summarizes, "through their mastery of science and technology, they [hope to] escape the dying planet and conquer a new frontier" [4]. The creation of Manikin is blasphemous from an Islamic perspective, representing "the height of arrogance and folly as it is an attempt to abrogate powers of creation that belong to Almighty Allah alone." The POC under these white-man jinn leaders wash their hands of the effort, and the exiting jinn leave them behind on the planet–when everything goes wrong, Sir Manikin tries to help the jinn but arrives too late and is destroyed by the Angel of Death at the close of the epic poem. Nuruddin claims that this poem is a prime example of Afrofuturism, and bears clear influences from Islam and NOI. Along with Stephen Barnes' alternate history in his novels Lion's Blood'' and Zulu Heart, Beyonder represents some of the only explicitly Islamic American Afrofuturist text. Nuruddin attributes the small number of such Islamic fictional works to the fact that "literary productions has been stifled by strains of conservative religious thought" in Islam, which do not stifle the production of poetry, visual arts, fashion design, and other media.

Mvoit (talk) 17:40, 11 March 2017 (UTC) Michaela V, wikipedia user, March 11 2017

Future Man?[edit]

I'm definitely no expert on Afrofuturism, but the musician Future Man seems to fall into this category pretty well. Obviously the name and ethnicity alone don't place him in the realm of Afrofuturism, but his general aesthetic, particularly in his live shows, is based on this general idea of the future, particularly as it relates to instruments and his particular genre of jazz music. Just a thought. I'll leave it up to somebody who's more well-versed than I. 74.228.64.159 (talk) 13:00, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

adding my name under the section devoted to visual artists[edit]

I'm adding my name under the section devoted to visual artists because: I contributedto the original mailer and I'm a visual artist who works with themes that relate to the subject of afrofuturism. Thanks, Reid Harward —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wordburst (talkcontribs) 21:02, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

relation to cyberpunk?[edit]

I am not really sure if "afrofuturism' is not just redundant multiplication of already existing 'cyberpunk'.

Whole article is made up over just few sources which barely coined the term, and do not even pretend to make any permanent use of it, nor they make enough good rationale for creating new neologism.

I agree though that in context of cyberpunk 'afrofuturism' could be considered recognizable branch of it, however rather by "post-mortem" labelling (which doesn't nessesairly mean it is any good either). It just seems as 'cyberpunk among blacks' , which also raises racial/nationalistic concerns. So, again, do 'afrofuturist' artists want to be recognized as nationalist/racist, by creating such 'genre' of art/subculture? Or do they want to be recognized as whoever they are with whatever message they are, using 'weapon' of cyberpunk?

There are many outsider artists (of various nationalities, and skin colour) which border with their messages with 'afrofuturists' , and personally i think one should rather work out finding common denominator inbetween them. I would refer to 'hacker manifesto' here strongly aswell.

I do not want to dimnish the meaning of clash of cyberpunk with african culture, and perhaps term 'afrofuturism' could label this phenomenon alone ofcourse, i just want to point out how this article can easily loose it's neutrality if will be held in current tone. Fact that artists do express their identity through art doesn't mean this art circles around their legacies. This is especially questionable with american artists, i.e. from Detroit, who doesn't really seem to imprint any nationalistic messages through their art, instead elements of african culture are expressed by them just as mere fact , among other things which are of their concern, and medium is just one of many.

83.18.229.190 (talk) 01:03, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

In the interview/essay where Dery coined the term 'afrofuturism,' [AF] Samuel Delaney objects rather vociferously to the notion that cyberpunk adequately addresses Afrodiasporic concerns. Trying to label it as a subdivision of cyberpunk is also sort of nonsensical, in that many of the seminal AF works predate cyberpunk (some, like Sun Ra's jazz, by a margin of a few decades). To be honest, I'm also not sure why you would group this under cyberpunk? AF is a much more diffuse aesthetic (including music, poetry, etc.), whereas cyberpunk is almost exclusively a literary movement (with some minor forays into film). And the aesthetic/thematic overlap is pretty tangential -- AF doesn't typically offer a megacorporate dystopia or focus on hackers/information tech... While some individual works might address those concerns, it's not really a defining feature of the genre.

I agree that the article is a bit vague at the moment -- I'll try to work on a cleanup over the weekend. But your questions about artist intent are sort of off the mark -- afrofuturism isn't, for the most part, a label artists have applied to themselves. Rather, it's a label applied by critics/scholars to identify a cultural movement with significant thematic/aesthetic overlap. Strundle (talk) 06:19, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Samuel R. Delany[edit]

Is Samuel R. Delany included just because he's black, or actually because of specific characteristics of what he's written? -- AnonMoos (talk) 20:24, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

The whole list is pretty funky (no pun intended) -- it seems to have grown into a rather random collection of cultural artifacts which are either produced by or show people of African descent. I'm not convinced that DS9, for example, is really an 'afrofuturist' text just because it has a black captain. But I suspect Delany was included because he was interviewed in the essay where Dery coined the term. He sort of makes a case for his own work (or at least his books after 1968) as afrofuturist in the same interview, although he doesn't employ that term himself. Strundle (talk) 06:22, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Responding to previous poster[edit]

This page is not a joke and is actually the subject of a lot of theoretical discussion, especially in terms of feminism and cyber-feminism. If it seems like a joke, then maybe you have some suggestions for improving the writing style? I do think that more should be added about the theoretical arguments behind afro-futurism, it might make it seem like less a joke and more engaging than just lists of musical artists and literature. It is also interesting how much new pop stars are taking on afro-future-ist images. Beyonce and Janelle Monae are just two examples that are taking on cyborg images and spouting words with afro-futurist theoretical meaning. Hw10239 (talk) 03:12, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Deltron 3030 (and episode 2) should also be included here Ejegg (talk) 15:11, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Citation cleanup and newer references[edit]

In the next few weeks I'm going to try to work on cleaning up the existing citations, and adding in some newer and older ones (for example there's a new exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem that deals with Afrofuturism: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/11/news-from-space-exhibition/) and I think a lot of older scholarly articles out there, too. However, I'm not sure how to best incorporate material from the bibliography into the main text -- I think my strength is on the research end, rather than writing. AmandaRR123 (talk) 02:21, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

I've removed old refs, tracked down full cites and added them to the reflist and bibliography, and cleaned up some internal citation, so I'm going to remove the citation flags. AmandaRR123 (talk) 00:42, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Article on Afrofuturism and Hollywood[edit]

Would be great to incorporate information from this recent article: Hawking, Tom (2014-03-27). "Don't Blame Science Fiction for Hollywood's Race Problem". Flavorwire. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 

Terminology[edit]

What is meant by 'black bodies'? Does this just mean 'black people'? Ben Finn (talk) 17:41, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

I would think so, but with reference to the fact that their physical bodies are black-skinned and this affects their treatment in the world. A lot of feminism talks about "women's bodies". Equinox (talk) 19:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

American centric[edit]

Admittedly I have only briefly skimmed through this article but one thing that strikes me strongly is how American centric it is with a particular focus on the African diaspora (which implys people outside of Africa its self). It's definition as currently present provides very little space for work from the African continent its self -and indeed features very little work from Africa- and indeed could also be interpreted as exclusionary of certain works by people from Africa who do might not fit the category of 'people of color.' I feel this article from Africa is a Country is more balanced.--Discott (talk) 12:30, 9 April 2015 (UTC)


- Yea, It is interesting that a lot of the work that comes out of Afrofuturism is American focused. I believe that at its core, Afrofuturism is about reclaiming lost stories and beginning to craft new imaginative futures with a recreated past. So, it would seem as if Africa with its history having been subverted due to colonialism that it would be ripe for Afrofutrism. However, there is also probably a barrier to language. This Wikipedia page is in English, so the most likely people who would be seeing and editing this page would be American or English speakers. This in itself begins to limit who is able to access this information and edit it. There is a discussion to be had about the desirability of this; however, as it sits right now, it seems as if this American focused Afrofuturism stems from the barriers and limitations that language presents.Striker9977 (talk) 15:59, 26 February 2017 (UTC)2.26.2017

- I think this gets at the interesting question of whether Afrofuturism is a specific response to the American black experience of if we can talk about it as a larger response to colonialism and the black diaspora. I think another question here is whether black artists who are writing science fiction are necessarily producing Afrofuturist work. Even within the U.S., authors like Octavia Butler have resisted this classification, so I think we need to be careful about what we label as Afrofuturist. Getting back to the original question, I think part of the reason the Afrofuturism page is so American centric is because the question of what can be called Afrofuturist is yet to be resolved. The U.S. is definitely home to the majority of people who self-identify as Afrofuturist, and so I think that may contribute to why work from Africa or even black artists in Europe is not given much space in the article. Personally I think the article should be expanded to include more of this work, but I think along with that there should be more serious reflection on what Afrofuturism's relation to place is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ajarman95 (talkcontribs) 19:45, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

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Gayniggers from Outer Space[edit]

Gayniggers from Outer Space (1992) is, uh, rather niche afrofuturism on the face of it, but good luck finding any citations. kencf0618 (talk) 23:04, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Afro Futurism and POC?[edit]

Hi I believe Afrofuturism is specifically a creation of Black/ African Diasporic people NOT POC. I think it is important to be clear about this. I think the introduction needs changing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:428:DD00:C03C:3DAF:C392:A8FD (talk) 22:23, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Editing the History[edit]

The history section of the Afrofuturism page is a little low in content. I will try to add some information to this. This focus will particularly be on the distinction earlier Afrofuturist influences like Ralph Ellison make between science fiction and Afrofuturism. I think this distinction is important and should be highlighted. Jhgsmith (talk) 17:35, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Also added Afrofuturism 2.0 section. Jhgsmith (talk) 19:11, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Contemporary visual arts[edit]

Just a thought - in the "21st century" section of the History header, there aren't really any mentions of contemporary visual art. This seems like a bit of an oversight, but it's not really my area of expertise, so I'm not super comfortable adding more info on this point - anyone else who knows more about how Afrofuturism fits into contemporary photography, painting, sculpture, etc. should definitely contribute, though! — Preceding unsigned comment added by MyRoommateTotoro (talkcontribs) 07:01, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Organizing by medium[edit]

Also, just a thought while I'm here: would it be good to have a section of this page that lists artists by primary medium of choice, or talks about the history of Afrofuturism in different media more specifically? As is, the history section feels a bit all over the place, and would probably be more readable and useful in general if it were grouped by medium - e.g. if there were subheadings for Music, Literature, etc. Anyone have any thoughts about other ways of organizing this section that could potentially be valuable? — Preceding unsigned comment added by MyRoommateTotoro (talkcontribs) 07:04, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Ralph Ellison & Lisa Yaszek under "History"[edit]

"In the time before the term Afrofuturism was coined and popularized, there had been debate between writers and artists on whether or not their works constituted Afrofuturist media, or if these works were simply science fiction.[citation needed]Ralph Ellison, author of the 1952 novel, Invisible Man, comments on his surprise that he could even write something like this novel in which a black man in the American South whose color makes him invisible.[citation needed] Lisa Yaszek, a Professor and Associate Chair in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, comments in her essay Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future, that this remark by Ellison marks the Afrofuturist genre as a kind of "fantastical" one.[2]"

There is no citation for the claim that that there was a debate on whether works were Afrofuturistic or science fiction prior to the coining of the term. A more definite statement would be that scholars tend to agree that Afrofuturistic texts emerged in the late 1950s[5] . Additionally, the sentence regarding Ellison’s comment about Invisible Man is confusing. Having read the book and studied it in an academic setting, I know it is not the protagonist skin that makes him invisible. In fact, this sentence seems to suggest the protagonist is made literally invisible, which is not true. Rather, Ellison suggests that because of pervasive stereotypes black people are often not seen as individuals, but as their stereotypes. The sentence “comments on his surprise that he could even write something like this novel in which a black man in the American South whose color makes him invisible” does not convey that at all and is misleading, especially to people who have not read Invisible Man. In Yaszek’s work, I have found Ellison’s remark that “a piece of science fiction is the last thing I expected to write,” but this remark is different from how the author of this Wikipedia section interpreted (if this is the quote they are referring to). Additionally, the word “fantastical” cannot be found in Yaszek so I’m unsure why it is quoted. I did see that Yaszek use the word “fantastic” but that was in her discussion that she believed Ellison suggested there was something “fantastic” about Invisible Man in that it was more than just a science fiction novel. Therefore, it would be incorrect to cite Yaszek as saying she believed there was something “fantastical” about Ellison’s novel.

Besides the lack of citations, the sentence about Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man does little to enhance a reader's understanding of afrofuturism. This article could be enhanced by removing this sentiment and directly showing the relationship between the novel and afrofuturism. Additionally, this article could benefit by going more in depth with Yazsek's examination of Invisible Man's relationship to afrofuturism. In the article cited, Yaszek does a great job demonstrating the relationship between Ellison's novel and afrofuturism, and this article could benefit from a 1-2 sentence summary of her ideas. I also think reading and summarizing some points from her article An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man could strength this article as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Heather Hopes (talkcontribs) 01:01, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Dery, ed. by Mark (1997). Flame wars : the discourse of cyberculture (2. print. ed.). Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN 0822315408. 
  2. ^ Nuruddin, Yusuf (20 Sep 2010). "Ancient Black astronauts and extraterrestrial Jihads: Islamic science fiction as urban mythology". Socialism and Democracy. 20 (3): 127-165. doi:10.1080/08854300600950277. 
  3. ^ Jalaluddin, Nuriddin (1977). Beyonder, from the Last Poets, Delights of the Garden LP. liner notes: Douglas Records. 
  4. ^ Nuruddin, Yusuf (20 Sep 2010). "Ancient Black astronauts and extraterrestrial Jihads: Islamic science fiction as urban mythology". Socialism and Democracy. 20 (3): 127-165. doi:10.1080/08854300600950277. 
  5. ^ (PDF) http://www.wright.edu/~david.wilson/eng2050/afrofuturistreading.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)