Music and Afrofuturism

A part of this class that has really interested me is music’s role in Afrofuturism. Before this class, all of my knowledge about Afrofuturism centered around Black Panther. The assertion that Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae could be an Afrofuturist text was extremely intriguing to me. I started to explore this further and found tons of videos and interviews that  Monae has been a part of where she talks about her role as an Afrofuturist artist. My favorite anecdote from one of these interviews is when Monae tells the interviewer from Rolling Stone, “But I only date androids. Nothing like an android — they don’t cheat on you.” As I moved past Monae and moved on to researching Afrofuturist music as a whole, I was surprised to see an article from the BBC entitled “8 afrofuturist classics everyone needs to hear.” I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of the movement before registering for this class, but there were “classics.” I was admittedly embarrassed. In any event, music’s role in the movement pairs ideology with the personas these musicians take on stage, the lyrics that they write, and the clothes that they wear. It is interesting to see how the movement manifests itself.

2 Replies to “Music and Afrofuturism”

  1. We’ll get to Sun Ra and his Arkestra soon, which is where my own interest in Afrofuturism began…if you want to explore further, check out Amiri Baraka’s book BLUES PEOPLE, which explores the development of the blues as an alternative to citizenship, given the exclusion of Africans in America from citizenship in law and practice. While he’s not writing about Afrofuturism explicitly (he’s writing in the 60s, before the term) there’s clearly a sense for him that music is an escape from and alternative too Western/European/White American power norms.

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