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Staff Spotlight: Afrofuturism

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Brought to you by: Urian from Adult Services

What is Afrofuturism?

Not just a type of science fiction, but an artistic, aesthetic, and cultural movement of its own right, Afrofuturism asks what it looks like for the African diaspora to intersect with technology and create a new mythology. The beginning of Afrofuturism is often traced back to the 1920 short story "The Comet" by W.E.B. Du Bois; however, the jazz musician Sun Ra can be considered the biggest influencer of today's Afrofuturism aesthetic by producing futuristic-sounding compositions, dressing in spacesuits and Egyptian regalia on stage, and giving his albums galactic names. Afrofuturism in the literary world can be identified by African iconography, a celebration of the uniqueness and innovation of Black culture, vibrant and colorful artwork, and a confrontation with trauma. Arguably one of today's most popular examples of Afrofuturism is the movie Black Panther, but it also serves as a great example of Afrofuturism because it originated as a comic, won awards for costume and set design, and produced a soundtrack that is worth checking out as much as any of these other examples of Afrofuturism.

Why did you choose this topic?

The stories being told here celebrate Black innovation and strength in an incredibly unique and creative way while attempting to capture positivity in the stories and engage with relevant issues at the same time. Also, as an amateur photographer, I’m drawn to the spectacular and vibrant cover artwork that extends beyond books to music and movies. Afrofuturism overall has an overwhelming sense of triumph, coolness, and fun wrapped up in storytelling.

Photo of Afrofuturism books on display at the library



  1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (FICTION ELLISON)
  2. Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (FICTION HOPKINSO)
  3. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (SCI-FI SOLOMON)
  4. Dawn by Octavia Butler (SCI-FI BUTLER)
  5. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (SCI-FI BUTLER)
  6. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (SCI-FI OKORAFOR)
  7. The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (FANTASY JEMISIN)
  8. The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead (FICTION WHITEHEA)
  9. Zone One by Colson Whitehead (FICTION WHITEHEA)
  10. The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust (SCI-FI FAUST)
  11. Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (FICTION CLARK)
  12. The Sacrifice of Darkness by Roxane Gay (GRAPHIC GAY)
  13. The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe (SCI-FI MONAE)
  14. Black Panther: Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, Part 1 (GRAPHIC BLACK PANTHER)
  15. Black Panther: Nation Under Out Feet, Book 1 (GRAPHIC BLACK PANTHER)
  16. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (FICTION JAMES)
  17. Shuri. 1, The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor (GRAPHIC SHURI)


  1. Black Panther (BLU-RAY BLACK)
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (BLU-RAY J SPIDERMA)
  3. Sorry to Bother You (DVD SORRY)


  1. Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe (CD POP/Rock MONAE)
  2. The Electric Lady by Janelle Monáe (CD POP/Rock MONAE)
  3. Magdalene by FKA Twigs (CD POP/ROCK FKA)
  4. Jazz in Silhouette by Sun Ra (CD JAZZ SUNRA)
  5. Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy by Sun Ra (CD JAZZ SUNRA)
  6. Black Panther: The Album (CD FILM/TV BLACK)
  7. Speakerboxxx; The Love Below (CD POP/ROCK OUTKAST)
  8. Heaven and Earth by Kamasi Washington (CD JAZZ WASHINGT)