afrofuturism

The Folio Society is releasing a gorgeous edition of Octavia Butler's "Kindred"

Octavia Butler (previously), the brilliant Afrofuturist, McArthur Genius Grant-winning science fiction writer, died far, far too soon, leaving behind a corpus of incredible, voraciously readable novels, and a community of writers who were inspired by her example. Read the rest

Pedro Bell, the psychedelic painter behind Funkadelic's visual vibe, RIP

Pedro Bell, the visionary painter whose astonishing psychedelic art (and liner notes) appeared on numerous Funkadelic albums and shaped the P-Funk mythos, died on Tuesday at 69. Free your mind, and your ass will follow. From the New York Times:

“The artwork of Pedro Bell was an essential component of the alternately utopian and dystopian world of P-Funk, which placed African-American reality in the context of a science fiction future that was both scary and hopeful,” (art curator Pan) Wendt said by email. “Pedro was a brilliant autodidact who was a key source of George Clinton’s ideology through his readings of science fiction, media theory and environmentalist tracts, as well as his knowledge of Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism..."

Mr. Clinton was especially fond of what Mr. Bell came up with for Funkadelic’s “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” (1974): an alien landscape that was both scary and whimsical.

“It was a combination of Ralph Bakshi and Samuel R. Delany and Superfly and Fat Albert and Philip K. Dick and Krazy Kat and Flash Gordon,” he wrote in his book, “all mixed together in Pedro’s brain with some kind of blender that hadn’t even been invented yet.”

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An appreciation for Samuel Delany

Samuel R "Chip" Delany is a science fiction pioneer: a brilliant literary stylist with dazzling ideas who was one of the field's first openly queer writers, and one of the first Black writers accepted into the field. He is one of the fathers of afrofuturism. Read the rest

Afrofuturist artist creates gorgeous portraits with Deep Dreaming

Wagner James Au sez, "AI algorithms, as AOC recently pointed out, often have a racial bias inherited by their creators, to the point where some can't even 'see' people of color. Afrofuturist Nettrice Gaskins teaches Deep Dream's AI to be aware of great black faces on a deep level." Read the rest

Adventures in New America: afrofuturist radio drama from Night Vale

Adventures in New America is a full-cast serial drama from Night Vale Presents (previously), a piece of acerbic and engrossing afrofuturism in the form of a buddy comedy; Episode One (MP3) just dropped. Read the rest

The BBC on Afrofuturism

The BBC has published a long and welcome feature on Afrofuturism, the term coined by former Boing Boing guestblogger Mark Dery to describe (in the words of Steve Barnes) "science fiction, fantasy and horror created by or featuring the children of the African diaspora (people of African origin living outside of the continent)." Read the rest

Newly discovered WEB Du Bois science fiction story reveals more Afrofuturist history

NAACP founder WEB Du Bois wasn't just a committed, effective activist for the rights of black people in America: he was also a prolific author of early 20th century science fiction and fantasy stories. Read the rest

Music Appreciation: Global Bass

A Tribe Called Red bounce up and down as they play a ferocious remix of their track “Indigenous Power” made by Monterrey, Mexico based producer Javier Estrada, along with a stream of rap, dancehall, cumbia and miscellaneous unknown vicious styles. It’s a hip-hop party, it’s an “Electric Pow Wow”, to use the name of the group’s party night in Ottawa; it’s 21st century cosmopolitanism in full effect: a perfect example of the bringing together of worlds that is Global Bass.

Mark Dery guestblogging on Boing Boing

I'm delighted to welcome Mark Dery as our guestblogger for the next two weeks. Mark is a cultural critic and author whose work I've enjoyed for almost twenty years. In my library, his books share a shelf with the best nonfiction by Ballard, Burroughs, and Eco. As I've written on BB before, "Mark and I have overlapping interests in subjects that, as once defined by Mark Frauenfelder's young daughter Sarina, are 'creepy, interesting, and real.' Mark Dery's take on such matters is often filled with wonderfully obscure references to history, culture, and philosophy that, more often than not, are news to me. That's one of the reasons I like reading his essays and books so much. When I finish one, I always have a great list of links and juxtapositions to follow up on." Here's Mark's "official" bio:

Mark Dery is a cultural critic. Way back in the day, he edited Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture (1994), an academic anthology that kick-started scholarly interest in techno-feminism and black technoculture (through Dery's trailblazing essay "Black to the Future," in which he coined the term "Afrofuturism"). His 1993 pamphlet "Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs" popularized the term "culture jamming" and helped launch the movement of the same name. In 1996, Dery established himself, with Suck essays such as "Bit Rot," his point-by-point obliteration of Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital, and his book Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, as a passionate, progressive critic of libertarian cyberdrool.

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