At the center of the geopolitical anti-colonialism metaphor of Wakandan independence rests a bold SF explanation and expression of blackness embodied by Black Panther and his Wakandan homeland. The Black Panther comic (re)imagined fixed concepts of black identity and history by having an African nation written as the source of technological wonders far advanced in comparison to any other Western nation. Steeped in mysterious African lore yet cloaked in the signature features of modernism, science and progress, The Black Panther stood out as completely different from previous attempts to represent Black Africans.
Yet the super-science that is a signature feature of Wakanda is also fused with the supernatural. The Black Panther as leader of the Panther Clan is granted the tribute of ingesting a special herb that enhances his sense and physical abilities along with linking him to their Panther god. In this sense, Black Panther embodies a syncretic impulse, and although syncretism has been a cultural calling card for black folk in America (where various cultural traditions and historical experiences are combined to express a unique form of black cultural expression and way of performing black racial identity), Black Panther expresses this impulse as the convergence of African tradition with advanced science and technology. In doing so, Black Panther presents a politically provocative and wildly imaginative representation of blackness with a science fiction flare.
As a result, the Black Panther character and comic book series is made more significant and compelling as one of the most mainstream, yet radical (re)imaginations and representations of blackness. Both the character and the comic book work as a grand vision of Afrofuturist blackness where black folk are no longer overdetermined by racism and colonialism.
- pg 12 Introduction: The Black Imagination and the Genres: Science Fiction, Futurism and the Speculative by Sandra Jackson and Julie Moody-Freeman.
This book is full of excellent articles on Deep Space Nine’s Avery Brooks, Octavia Butler, Jewelle Gomez, Audre Lorde & More.
A must have for any Afrofuture feminist / AfroBlackness scholar/fan. Indispensable.