"Black Speculative Art is a creative, aesthetic practice that integrates African diasporic worldviews with science or technology and seeks to interpret, engage, design or alter reality for the re-imagination of the past, the contested present, and to act as a catalyst for the future.
Today you can find all episodes of the late Octavia Butler's novel Kindred, first published in 1979, now streaming on Hulu FX. In 2020, Butler's Parable of the Sower was on the NY Times bestseller list, 42 years after its initial publication. Octavia's Parables is a podcast hosted by Toshi Reagon and activist Adrienne Maree Brown, where the Earthseed Books are read aloud. There is a Parable of the Sower opera, with music by Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi's mother, who is a living example of culture as a political weapon. Bernice Johnson Reagan in 1962, was one of the original members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee's Freedom Singers.
Nnedi Okorafor, Africanfuturist writer, has signed a contract with to produce the adaptation of her Carl Brendon Kindred award-winning novel, Who Fears Death is in pre-production with HBO. George RR Martin is involved. In the past two years, Okorafor has published seven books – novels, short stories, comics, and a memoir, and won The Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, Nommo Award, Authur C. Clarke Award, the Locus Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Kurd Laßwitz Award.
And of course, there are the Black Panther movies, and the Black Panther Comics, including Shuri, "the Black Panther's techno-genius sister launches her own adventures – written by best-selling Africanfuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Eisner-nominated artist Leonardo Romero!"
From imagination and creative minds to page and now to screen, these stories ask us to imagine otherworldly worlds that do not center the traditional characters, cultural homogenization and assimilation, imperial perspectives, and colonizing impulses of some inherited science fiction. Africanfuturism, Afrofuturism, Afrofuturismo or Afro-Latinx futurity, and Caribbean Futurists are cultural and political imaginaries that are tomorrow's invitation to be speculative, to imagine that "another world is possible," or that earth should be abandoned – not to be confused with capitalist speculation or capitalist organized abandonment.
I mention Octavia Butler and Nnedi Okorafor, specifically, as a way to introduce the Black Speculative Arts Movement.
"The BLACK SPECULATIVE ARTS MOVEMENT, or BSAM, emerged in the wake of 'Unveiling Visions: Alchemy of The Black Imagination' the debut exhibition curated by John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson at the Schomburg library in New York, in 2015.
It has grown into a network of creatives, intellectuals, and artists representing different positions or basis of inquiry including: Afrofuturism, Astro Blackness, Afro-Surrealism, Ethno Gothic, Black Digital Humanities, Black (Afro-future female or African Centered) Science Fiction, The Black Fantastic, Magical Realism, and The Esoteric. Although these positions may seem incompatible, in some instances they overlap around the term speculative and design; and interact around the nexus of technology and ethics."
Here is a list with links to some of the BSAM's publications from artists around the globe.
This link is for the art exhibition inspired by the essay, The Black Angel of History and the Age of Necrocapitalism.
"All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change." —Octavia Butler