The Afrofuturist movement is not just for African Americans; it’s a global African diaspora phenomenon.
Elements of science fiction, fantasy, magic realism and other speculative concepts combine with Afrocentricity to give life to a new way of thinking that re-examines and revises previously established ideas, and creates new ways of approaching wide-ranging issues involving people of color.
So it should not surprising that, right now, in Sao Paulo, Brazil (the fourth largest city in the world), one of largest Afrofuturist film and music festivals ever, is taking place. Titled Afrofuturismo: Cinema, Music and the Intergalactic Diaspora, the event kicked off last Thursday, and will continue until Dec. 2, at the famed Caixa Belas Artes movie theater and entertainment complex in Sao Paulo.
As the programmers of the festival state, their goal is to present films that “combine documentaries, fiction and experimental… with elements of science, fantasy, afrourbanidade (i.e. Black self respect) and fantastic realism, with non-Western cosmologies [with the aim the to shed] light on the African diaspora, past and future.”
Among the films that will be screened, covering a 40-year period, include 1974’s one-of-a-kind “Space in the Place,” starring the legendary jazz musician, Sun Ra – one of thw true pioneers of Afrofuturism; also there’s this year’s Ethiopian oddball sci-fi film, “Crumbs.” There’s also a rare screening of the groundbreaking 1995 film “Welcome II the Terrordome” (pictured above) by Ngozi Onwurah – the first British feature film to be directed by a black woman, set in the near future, when a inner city ghetto explodes in violence and revolution, due to pressures from racism, poverty and police brutality, occurs.
Included in the festival’s catalog as a mission statement of sorts is a chapter from Chicago-based writer and filmmaker Ytasha Womack’s best-selling book “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture,” which has seemingly become the bible for explaining and expanding the concept of Afrofuturism, and from which has been translated into Portuguese.
For more information about the Afrofuturismo event, go here.