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The concept of Afro Futurism is imagining a future through a black cultural lens. Like a lot of science fiction, it often ends up a metaphor for life today. Here’s a list of highlights of musical afro futurists.

Sun Ra – Space Is The Place

Sun Ra took big band jazz and dipped it in acid, making truly outer space music. He said he was from Saturn, and made a movie about his adventures on Earth. It’s pretty brilliant.

Parliament – The Landing Of The Holy Mothership

George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, the Brides of Funkenstein…all different manifestations of the ever growing, ever evolving band known as P.Funk. They made a series of concept albums throughout the 70s that functioned as party records, comedy albums, sci fi operas and black nationalist manifestos that influenced me more than any other artist in any medium.

Michael & Janet Jackson – Scream

Michael Jackson loved science fiction and fantasy, and you see that throughout his videos, like CAN YOU FEEL IT, THRILLER, REMEMBER THE TIME and this one with his sister Janet. He also wanted to buy Marvel Comics so he could play the Black Panther in a movie.

OutKast – B.O.B.

OutKast called themselves Atliens, and used spaceship imagery and more in this brilliant video.

Janelle Monae – Many Moons

Janelle took the funky robot metaphor of the Brides of Funkenstein and Parlet and took it way to the next level. Most of her videos like TIGHTROPE, ELECTRIC LADY, DANCE APOCAYIPTIC and others reflect similar themes.

Kamasi Washington – The Space Traveller’s Lullaby

In a full circle to Sun Ra, Kamasi Washington takes jazz to outer space in this epic song.