The Decade Afrofuturism Reshaped Science Fiction — and the World

The aesthetic and political revolution isn’t merely alive; in the 2010s it went mainstream, and is fully thriving

Scott Woods


Illustration: Freddy Carrasco

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TThe past decade has been surprisingly kind to Black creatives who traffic in the weird — but to make that case, I have to take you to prison.

Back in February, scheduled to perform poetry in the sterile cafeteria-ready chapel of a medium-security prison, I was approached by an inmate. Like most of my conversations with inmates, this one began with questions.

Having been in the prison off and on for several months doing workshops, I was used to questions; these exchanges can feel like interrogations at times, but you have to keep in mind that inmates don’t have newspapers left on their doorsteps (or have doorsteps). They don’t have regular access to the internet. Family visits are not a given. They hear about things in the world in snatches and bits, but rarely possess the access or freedom to dig deeper into the developments they hear about.

This time, the conversation started with the greatest hits: How places in the city have changed…