As I walked through the colorful exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., neon blue strobe lights pulsed in the background of the glass case. 

Pictures of Afrofuturistic art hung on the walls as aliens hunkered over us, making their surreal presence known. I glanced around at the technicolor portraits and afrocentric comics plastered along the corridor we were walking down. Clips of black superheroes like T’Challa, Black Lightning and Blade filled up the monitors as they fought on screen to protect what was precious to them. 

African pharaohs in majestic headpieces stare down at us, but it doesn’t feel like we’re being looked down upon. Instead, I feel like I’m being watched by a guardian angel or an ancestor whose duty it is to see me through and guide me through this bizarre life. 

As I continued through the exhibit, I was fascinated with the outlandish glitz and glam bodysuits worn by afrofuturist artists like Nona Hendryx or Parliament Funkadelic. My people’s music and culture were now being recognized as important art and literature. I smiled at the reality that was once a dream and continued through the exhibit.

The “Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futuresexhibit will be on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture until August 18, 2024.

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