Retro Rewind: Beyonce’s Exploration and Celebration Of Afrofuturism

Published: Saturday 26th Jan 2019 by David

When analysing tropes and themes covered by Beyonce‘s immersive videography, there is one motif which takes centre stage in almost all of her art.

The past…and its presence in present.

Array

Examples? ‘Naughty Girl’ (see 1953’s ‘The Band Wagon’), ‘Formation‘ and its wink at the Reconstruction era, ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ (set in the 1950s) and ‘Flawless‘ (see Punk subculture of the 1980s).

What isn’t as obvious, is the artist’s exploration of the future via magical realism, science fiction..and Afro-futurism.

 

Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora through technoculture and science fiction, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afrodiasporic experiences.

 

Meet us for a look into the other-wordly worlds of Beyonce below…

In Pop culture, Afrofuturistic concepts are employed by black musicians to pull them out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary to offer black audiences a comforting vision of ourselves in worlds where our hopes, dreams and fantasies are fully realised.

Worlds, much kinder than our own.

For Beyonce, the aesthetic also serves as a tool to showcase her surreal vision of love in scenarios where she enjoys symbiotic relationships with nature (usually water) electricity and technologically advanced versions of herself.

 

 

 

 

Hit the play button on the videos below for more.

 

Afrofuturism takes representations of the lived realities of black people in the past and present, and reexamines the narratives to attempt to build new truths outside of the dominant cultural narrative.

 

 

Any favourites?

 

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  1. Diana Ross The Boss! January 26, 2019

    This article should be named a celebration of Beyoncé a explorer and appropriator of culture.
    This girl doesn’t embrace her black roots if isn’t for making money.
    Curious how her skin became lighter and lighter and her hair straighter and blonder until her Beyoncé/Lemonade fase, when she wanted to use the “Black movement” to make money.
    Phony Buyoncé smoke and mirrors can’t help you forever.
    Miss her Beyoncé Knowles fase when she just made music out of her heart and for her fans today’s she only cares about awards and money. I loathe Beyoncé Carter almost as much as I love Beyoncé Knowles!

    • Bey Sting January 26, 2019

      At least she didn’t betray her friends by sleeping with her boss. Ain’t no valley LOW enough indeed.

      • Diana Ross The Boss! January 26, 2019

        Well the big feminist pardoned her husband for his betrayal while blaming everything on Becky with good hair.
        Guess she made him f*** her or seduce him til the end, her husband must be a perfect untouchable man without flaws.
        So if you wanna talk about betraying women think about this first.

    • Haterz Gon‘ Hate January 26, 2019

      Uuuuurgh – you must be 10 years old right?? Look back at Beyoncé even back in DC – she was ALWAYS LIGHT. Have you seen her mother??? HAVE A SEAT 💺 Beyoncé switches up her looks every era – her hair has been brown, blond, red and no so long ago (BLACK: see Grown Woman). Artists change their asthetic all the time, if you knew anything about the greats (Diana Ross, Janet, et al) they expressed their artistry in a multitude of ways through styling. Beyoncé does not tell her stylists and creative direction team to make her look white at the design phase of an era – if you look at her documentaries you will see she tells them tell the story of the song or narrative of the era. Do you research before you open your mouth.

      • Diana Ross The Boss! January 26, 2019

        Matter of fact I’m 30 so I recall her DC era.
        And you can’t deny it Since became a solo singer and especially after breaking up with her dad she has become incredible lighter and with straighter hair.
        No problem with this that’s her prerogative but when you’re always saying your a feminist and telling girls to love themselves this looks phony as hell.
        Btw do you recall in 06/07 when she recorded Bday she made a few photo shoots including one in Germany which she was attacked cause she was lighter than some of the white singers at the time the original pics came out online. Even L’Oreal made this, she looked whiter on their campaign their confirmed the use of photoshop and she stayed silent as always. Black lives matter I guess.
        You’re talking about grown woman this was right on her Beyoncé fase the one I said she began to accept her “black” life, before that you hardly seen that to call Beyoncé a African Futurist is laughable but well you’re entitled to your opinion.
        Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, Mary J Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Grace Jones…they all incorporate their black ancestry out of love and not just for money.
        She could learn from them what is to be a black women in the 2010’s.

    • Ariel January 26, 2019

      I AGREE WITH YOU COMPLETELY

  2. Brent Christopher January 26, 2019

    none of Beyonce’s Visuals or styling or other aesthetics are of her own idea or design. she simply agrees or disagrees with what is presented to her or she goes through online videos created by others & copies what she finds appealing. so, none of the afrofuturism present in her work is intentional on her part. please know that.

    • Tyler January 26, 2019

      Video’s like Sorry and Run the World are afrofuturistic themed. So that doesn’t make any sense….

    • Sheku On the Beat As Well January 26, 2019

      You are very ignorant . Beyonce is clearly aware that she uses AF themes which is why there are so many. Go and ask your doctor about those WARTS on your tongue before you disrespect people on here. Swine you are.

  3. The Voodoo Queen January 26, 2019

    This makes me sad we never got a video for End Of Time!!!

  4. Johny5 January 26, 2019

    Love Beyoncé, but I don’t think the writer of this piece understands what Afrofuturism actually is. And it’s pretty ironic that they put several Google definitions in the piece yet still can’t grasp it. Not being mean but leave the academic analysis to the academics. This is a juvenile, pseudo-academic critique. Black Panther was a nice current example of it though.

    • Sheku On the Beat As Well January 26, 2019

      Excuse me, Beyoncé’s videos are cited as examples of Afrofuturism is several essays so what are you talking about? Are you trying to suggest that the writer is wrong to say she is Afrofuturistic? If so, explain yourself because all the evidence points to the contrary.

    • Naija Bey January 26, 2019

      Oh shut up. It clearly says she uses it to express her ideas on love which is accurate. I’m so tired of people like you always trying to belittle other people because you don’t see things how they do. You’re saying it’s pseudo academic to link her to Afro futurism as if the Sweet Dreams video doesn’t exist. Please, save your opinions before those who ask for it my dear.

    • Sugar Plum Dumplin January 26, 2019

      “Can’t grasp it.” What about this write up was inaccurate?

  5. Ariel January 26, 2019

    The reach of this article…..WHY???

  6. Sleigh 🛷 January 26, 2019

    I never know what skin color beyawnce is.. satanic trash

  7. Pete January 26, 2019

    Have you seen beyonce as a baby light skinned so how is she getting lighter if she was already light skinned to begin with dumbass

  8. Ropeburn January 27, 2019

    Whew chile! This article is such a reach. Especially when her most well known visuals and choreography were stolen from other artists.

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