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The Evolution of Afrofuturism: Black Power, Black Love, Black Superheroes and Magic | Black Writers Week

Below is the embedded video along with bios and headshots of each participant…


Steven Barnes is a New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter and educator who has written more than thirty science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels. Octavia E. Butler called Barnes’s Endeavor-Award winning novel Lion’s Blood “imaginative, well researched, well written, and devastating.” The NAACP Image Award winner is also a pioneering television writer who has written for The Outer Limits (Showtime), The New Twilight Zone (Showtime), Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, and Ben 10: Alien Force. He has been nominated for Hugo, Nebula and Cable Ace Awards. Barnes has lectured at UCLA, Mensa, Pasadena JPL, taught at Seattle University, hosted the “Hour 25” radio show on KPFK, been Kung Fu columnist for Black Belt Magazine, and been a “Starred Speaker” at the L.A. Screenwriting Expo. An avid yogi and martial artist with three black belts, Steven is also a pioneer in the human potential movement, creating the groundbreaking “Lifewriting” creativity system, making writers the heroes of their own stories. He and Tananarive Due recently co-wrote an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” hosted by Jordan Peele.


Dr. John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. Jennings is also a 2016 Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. 

Jennings’ current projects include the horror anthology Box of Bones, the coffee table book Black Comix Returns (with Damian Duffy), and the Eisner-winning, Bram Stoker Award-winning, New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred. Jennings is also founder and curator of the ABRAMS Megascope line of graphic novels.

My book imprint is called MEGASCOPE after the magical device in WEB DuBois’ sci-fi fantasy short story “The Princess Steel” (1909). You can read more about his work at The New York Times and NPR and Publishers Weekly. Also check out this link to the first four books of the line, including ACROSS THE TRACKS, a primer for younger readers that deals with the Tulsa Race Massacre (read the Publishers Weekly review of HARDEARS here).


Ytasha L. Womack is an award-winning author, filmmaker, independent scholar, and dance therapist. She is a leading expert on Afrofuturism and lectures on the imagination and its applications across the world. Ytasha was honored among DesignHub’s 40 Under 40 designers for social good and innovation in 2017 and listed as a Filmmaker to Watch in The Chicago Tribune. Her book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy Culture (Chicago Review Press) is the leading primer on the subject and taught in colleges and universities. Afrofuturism is also a Locus Awards Nonfiction Finalist. She is an inaugural resident with Black Rock Senegal helmed by celebrated artist Kehende Wiley, was a creative in residence with Kickstarter Spring 2019 and was a writer-in-residence with Emerson College in Boston Fall/Spring 2018-2019. She recently completed a writing residency in October 2020 as a Writer on the Bloc with Writers on the Wall (WOW) in Liverpool, England.

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