Culture Hack

Afrofuturism: The Ever-Evolving Black Experience 

Whether you are aware or not, you’ve likely encountered afrofuturism. It’s the cultural aesthetic that reimagines the history of the African Diaspora and the intersection of science and technology.  Recently, it seems we are in the midst of a major Afrofuturistic movement, with  more and more elements of the concept showing face in art, entertainment, and even food. 

From Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, and Octavia Butler, to Sun Ra, Beyonce, and Megan thee Stallion, artists and other creatives are continuing to use this aesthetic to create narratives that reflect their heritage outside of conventional representation. ‘In the Black Fantastic’, an exhibition that explores the legacies of Afrofuturism, showcases how artists and other creatives are taking charge of their narratives and allowing their imagination to create a world of possibilities. 

Likely the most widely known example of afrofuturism in the mainstream is the blockbuster Black Panther franchise. The release of the film has been followed by the increasing emergence of experiences dedicated to celebrating afrofuturism like the: The National Museum of African American History and Culture New Exhibition  and DC’s Luxe New Afrofuturism Restaurant Inspired by Sci-Fi Fantasy.  

Afrofuturism has also given more space for Black creatives to reimagine their blackness without the weight of mainstream or societal influence. It promotes an authentic, positive, and complex representation of what it means to be black and does not limit the diaspora to one universal experience. 

Brands interested in gaining a deeper cultural understanding of connection should take note.  Whether it’s by creating stories that allow their Black consumers to see characters in new spaces or giving room for creators to tap into their Afro-futuristic selves, we can  open the door to innovation and connection within Black audiences through the unrestricted, liberating lens of Afrofuturism. 

Already, we see influencers such as Wisdom Kaye continue to embrace the Afro-futuristic aesthetic. Social media has undoubtedly played an important role in deconstructing traditional standards of beauty and allowing black creators to express themselves in such a profound way. Further inspiring their black audiences and other creators to think outside of the box. 

Brands such as Martell are beginning to partner with artists such as Janelle Monáe in hopes of celebrating – and elevating black culture. Absolut Vodka has joined this movement on a global scale through its ‘One Source’ campaign which inspired African creatives to come together and create contemporary art that reshapes how the world views Africa. 

With afrofuturism being the connection between art and cultural experiences, brands can truly begin understanding and provide a space for blackness to flourish in a timeless, expansive, and unrestricted manner.  

Question is, are they ready to show up?

Naomi Augustin