What Is Afrofuturism? Part 16: Nettrice Gaskins

I haven’t posted one of these in a while, but I enjoyed reading Nettrice’s post, including the pictures, so here is some of it below with a link to read the rest:

Sun Ra: His system was based at the center of the sun.”Without an image of tomorrow, one is trapped by blind history, economics, and politics beyond our control. One is tied up in a web, in a net, with no way to struggle free. Only by having clear and vital images of the many alternatives, good and bad, of where one can go, will we have any control over the way we may actually get there in a reality tomorrow will bring all too quickly.”—Samuel R. Delany

One of the questions posed to me after my talk last Friday regarding The Cyclical Nature of Culture was: What is afrofuturism?

  • It’s not the black version of Futurism. It is an aesthetic and the term can be used to describe a type of artistic and cultural community of practice. Afrofuturism navigates past, present and future simultaneously. The keyword here is: navigation or ascertaining one’s position and planning and following a specific route.
  • It is counter-hegemonic. Hegemony refers to the dominant, ruling class or system. Afrofuturism is not concerned with the mainstream or the canon of (Western) art history. It’s practitioners upend or flip the canon. In the image above jazz musician and cosmic philosopher Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian God of the Sun) placed himself at the center of other known cosmic philosophers and scientists.
  • It is revisionist, meaning that afrofuturism advocates for the revision of accepted, long-standing views, theories, historical events and movements. It retells stories by altering characters, or the environment. It re-uses existing artifacts, themes and concepts.Take, for example, the Space Age, the Universe, or the Unisphere.

Read the rest here.

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