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Afrofuturism mixes sci-fi and social justice. Here’s how it works.

Black people are rarely featured in sci-fi and fantasy films — that is, unless that black person is Will Smith. So how do black people get to exist in the future? Afrofuturism is one answer.

Culture critic Mark Dery coined the term in his 1994 essay, “Black to the Future” to point out the lack of black writers and black stories in science fiction. Today, it’s expanded into a scholarly and artistic movement that imagines the future through a black cultural lens with social justice in mind. And it encompasses a variety of creative outlets outside of science fiction, like music.

Afrofuturists like Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe use their art forms to imagine a future for black people on their terms.

Check out the video above for more on how Afrofuturism came to be, and the new perspectives science fiction and social justice bring.