March 13, 2018
Finally! A Solid Definition of Afrofuturism and How It Relates to ‘Black Panther’
It’s been nearly a month since the debut of Black Panther and the blockbuster movie continues to shatter records. The pro-black superhero film reached the $1 billion benchmark at the box office worldwide on Sunday, just 26 days after its debut. This makes the Disney and Marvel Studios movie the No. 9 top film of all time, domestically, and puts it on track to surpass The Dark Knight to become the No. 2 superhero film in history.
Black Panther topped $1 billion following its release in its final major market in China, where it opened with an estimated $66.5 million. The African-themed sci-fi flick also maintained a firm grip on the No. 1 spot at the U.S. weekend box office for a fourth straight week, becoming the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film to hold this title. It’s also only the fifth MCU movie to earn $1 billion and the 16th Walt Disney Studios’ to reach this milestone.
However, in addition to smashing records and defying the expectations of success for an all-black film, Black Panther has also sparked a renewed interest in Afrofuturism. The term, which was first coined in the 1990s, describes the infusion of Afro-centricity, history, and technology to shape and define the world. Tim Fielder, a cartoonist, Afrofuturist, and the creator of the Matty’s Rocket Episodic Comicbook Series, stopped by Black Enterprise to explain the history and significance of Afrofuturism, as well as how it is portrayed in Black Panther.
“The interesting thing about the way Afrofuturism is depicted in Black Panther is [that] the Marvel universe takes place in modern time—it’s contemporary. It’s assuming that there is an African country was never colonized and that they—through existing without that colonial interference—were able to become more technically advanced than any other society on the planet.”
Fielder goes on to discuss other aspects of Afrofuturism, including how Ruth E. Carter, an Academy Award-nominated designer, infused it into the movie’s costume designs. Watch the video below.