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Past, Present, & Futurism: The History of Black Sci-Fi


Location: Redstone Theater

PLEASE NOTE: Due to a fire at the building housing the Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Jamaica, this screening and discussion has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

Screening and panel discussion with Tim Fielder, M. Asli Dukan, and Shares Francis, moderated by Gregory Branch and Mike Sargent

Presented by the Afrikan Poetry Theatre

A look at the changing face of black science-fiction and Afrofuturism, this panel discusses the history of black images in science fiction, from comic books and novels to audio drama. With the release of the Black Panther movie on the big screen and Black Lightning on the small screen, the recent spate of popular black graphic novels and classic black science-fiction adaptations to new mediums is fast becoming one of the most talked about creative genres. Join the Afrikan Poetry Theatre (APT) for a discussion with some of the pioneers and future architects of this popular genre in film, television, and comic book history. A screening of Crumbs and two film shorts, 4 Little Girls and Africa First, will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and special guests Tim Fielder, M. Asli Dukan, and Shares Francis, moderated by Gregory Branch of APT, and Mike Sargent.


Dir. Miguel Llansó. Spain/Ethiopia, 2015, 68 mins. Digital projection. With Daniel Tadesse, Tsegaye Abegaz. In Amharic and Afrikaans with English subtitles. Miguel Llansó’s post-apocalyptic adventure shot in Ethiopia takes place after a mysterious conflict has ravaged the planet. Whatever happened has left behind a trove of pop-cultural detritus: Characters maintain a shrine to Michael Jordan, a shop owner marvels at a Ninja Turtle action figure, and a figurine-sized superman hero embarks on an epic surreal journey that will take him across the Ethiopian landscape in search of a way to get on the hovering spacecraft that for years has been a fixture in the skies. 

4 Little Girls: A Dance Film

Dirs. Kerry Edge, Saiku Branch. Jamaica, New York, 2017, 15 mins. Digital projection. Queens filmmaker and choreographer Kerry Edge premieres an excerpt from this larger work created to promote awareness and dialogue about the continued fight for civil rights in America. The excerpt, titled HATE, captures the moments leading up to what has been called “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.” 4 Little Girls revisits the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963, when four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted dynamite beneath the steps of the church. The resulting bombing that killed four little girls is the catalyst for a comparative narrative citing both historic and present-day movements to fight racism. While the major focus of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s was the desegregation of public spaces, today’s fight focuses on racialized police brutality and mass incarceration as America still struggles for racial harmony and equality. This film captures diverse audiences by using dance as its primary expressive element while memorializing the girls who lost their lives in the tragic event: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.

Africa First

Directed by the students of the Afrikan Poetry Theatre’s Our Stories Film Class (A Cultural Immigrant Initiative). Queens, New York, 2017, 14 mins. Digital projection. This documentary short examines the stereotypes and relationships of the African Diaspora in America. It explores issues that both separate and bring together communities of Dominicans and Haitians, Jamaicans and Trinidadians, Nigerians and African Americans. This film was researched, shot, produced, directed and edited by film students of the iconic Queens arts organization, Afrikan Poetry Theatre.

As part of the program, APT will present an African American Futurism award to the renowned American science-fiction writer Octavia Butler, the queen mother of Afrofuturism. 

This program is part of Afrikan Poetry Theatre’s celebration of Black History Month and is in line with the organization’s mission to support and enrich cross-cultural understanding and discussion. A portion of ticket sales will benefit APT. 

This event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances and will be rescheduled at a later date.