​Diversity, inclusivity and tolerance were front and center at this weekend’s Moogfest technology and music festival, and for some of us, that meant an introduction to a new term: Afrofuturism.

Afrofuturism was one of nine key content themes at Moogfest. But even though several workshops, demonstrations and discussions touched on the topic, one particular panel did the best job of explaining and debating it.

Kimberly Drew, community manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and digital tastemaker, moderated the lineup of heavy hitters of the hip hop world in their discussion entitled “Can You Remember the Future?” on Saturday inside of the Durham Armory.

International hip hop star and entertainer Reggie Watts, artist and actress Janelle Monae, house artist DJ Hieroglyphic Being, and the twin brothers Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan who produce under the name Christian Rich were all in attendance to discuss what Afrofuturism is, the state of this movement and whether Afrofuturism is really “a thing” at all.

For those (like me) who don’t know, Afrofuturism is “a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past.”

This is according to Wikipedia, however. The definitions and interpretations of term are myriad and varied, with some on the panel even expressing thoughts that the word is meaningless at best, and harmful at worst. 

With little hesitation, the panel dug in.

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