Black to the Future  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Black to the Future" (1994) is an essay by cultural critic Mark Dery in which he coined the term “afrofuturism”. The essay is included in the anthology Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture.


"Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings such as Molasses, which features a pie-eyed, snaggletoothed robot, adequately earn the term "Afrofuturist," as do movies like John Sayles's The Brother From Another Planet and Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames. Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland is Afrofuturist; so, too, is the techno-tribal global village music of Miles Davis's On the Corner and Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, as well as the fusion-jazz cyberfunk of Hancock's Future Shock and Bernie Worrell's Blacktronic Science, whose liner notes herald "reports and manifestoes from the nether regions of the modern Afrikan American music/speculative fiction universe." Afrofuturism manifests itself, too, in early '80s electro-boogie releases such as Planet Patrol's "Play at Your Own Risk," Warp 9's "Nunk," George Clinton's Computer Games, and of course Afrika Bambaataa's classic "Planet Rock," records steeped in "imagery drawn from computer games, video, cartoons, sci-fi and hip-hop slanguage," notes David Toop, who calls them "a soundtrack for vidkids to live out fantasies born of a science-fiction revival courtesy of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind)."[1]

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Black to the Future" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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