Hip-hop and Robots

Mark Dery’s “Black to the future” interviewed authors to explore why there is a lack of Black authors in the science fiction genre. Dery explores the cultural, historical and socioeconomic aspects of Black life to explain the disconnect between the lack of authors compared to the growing number of Black fans. The interviews provided different perspectives from Black authors to white ones to all question exactly why the issues remains that there is only four main Black science fiction authors.

As a Black American that is a fan of science fiction, I believe Dery’s piece did a great job touching on the history of images of the future painted by Black Americans compared to the many popular white authors. The comparison between the creativity that created hip-hop and graffiti to high end art was necessary to understand science fiction does in fact exist in the Black community. While the interviews took place in 1994, I feel many of the same views can be seen today in terms of how white people feel about representation for Black Americans. In the piece, a white author describes how he felt a certain group of Black characters were very positive while Dery broke down how they were actually destructive and portrayed as having misogynistic undertones. Therefore where and when it was written does not take away from its importance because it can still be applied to current day. Yet compared to this time, I feel we have much better representation of Black characters in science fiction and futuristic portrays such as the walking dead, Black panther and Watchmen. All these show alternate futures or dystopian societies that portray Black people as intelligent, powerful and respected main characters who have a real purpose.

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