Afrofuturism, back to tomorrow – Le Temps

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In the kingdom of Wakanda, flying cars and motley skyscrapers are the setting for a clan war for the control of an extraterrestrial mineral, vibranium. This fictional African country made its appearance in 1966, in the midst of the struggle for the civil rights of black Americans, in the comic book The Fantastic Four thanks to screenwriter Stan Lee. Wakanda masterfully returned to center stage two years ago in first noir superhero film Black Panther, a worldwide success, also recognized by multiple awards. A year later, the Black Lives Matter movement exploded in the face of the world, following the death of George Floyd. Somewhere between these two milestones, more precisely in 1993, the term Afrofuturism was born under the pen of the critic Mark Dery in order to qualify the link between science fiction, the history of blacks in the United States and their African origins. Artistic works from this genre therefore conceive of the world through fantastic fiction, linking it to the past and questioning the present. Putting on the glasses of Afrofuturism allows you to position yourself as agents of history and to operate a return to the future.

Go back

To be part of reality, the black man must reconnect with his past stolen by history. The only way, according to Afrofuturists, to build a future. As George Orwell said: “Whoever controls the past controls the future: whoever controls the present controls the past.” What the African community responds to with the term sankofa of the Akan people in Ghana which means “Go back and fetch it” and which is represented by a bird with its head turned back, its paws pointing forward and carrying eggs in its mouth. The writer, sociologist, historian and activist for civil rights, WE B Du Bois, who settled in Africa at the end of his life, imagined, already in 1909, in the short story Princess Steel, the “megascope”: a tool that sees through time and space in order to perceive the materiality of history.

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