Written and directed by Zaryah Qareeb

Photographed by Emma Cahill

Styled by Angel Woodard

Makeup by Akunna Chiedu

Models: Kay Aluvanse, Melody Smith, Angel Woodard, and Daphne Bryant


Afrofuturism: An art movement that combines science-fiction, history, and fantasy to explore the Black experience and aims to connect those from the Black diaspora. While there exist various interpretations, its essence revolves around the ideas of Reclaiming, Liberating, and Revising the past.

Although the phrase may not be widely recognized, its impact resonates across the digital realm—especially as the younger generation becomes chronically online, wielding the globe at their fingertips. This digital shift has profound implications for the future of Black children. Culture has transitioned into the digital age, and kids are building their own reality. Through the phenomena of TikTok dances, imaginative avatars like IMVU, and the emergence of Aaliyahcore, today’s youth are not only reinventing themselves but also contributing to the richness of Black culture on the internet.

Afrofuturism emerged as a term to define contemporary trends that blended Black literature and 1980s technoculture. Over time, it evolved into a lens for envisioning a more empowering future for the Black community through the mediums of music, art, and speculative fiction—a concept that has been present since the creation of science fiction in the 19th century. However, Afrofuturism rose to prominence in the 1960s, largely attributed to the influence of the avant-garde jazz artist Sun Ra.

From the writings of Octavia Butler and iconic cinema like The Wiz and Black Panther, to music artists like Janelle Monae, Afrofuturism has always lingered in the background of our childhoods. The objective of Afrofuturism is to portray a future where Black individuals harness technology to become leaders of their own worlds, a narrative that’s absent in mainstream science fiction. However, thanks to the internet, this movement is able to continue with Generation Z. 

The concept of Futurism has traditionally symbolized fresh opportunities, yet as a Black individual, I couldn’t help but question where I stood in this evolving landscape. After all, machines are an extension of their creators. The world quickly learned how technology would be used to further the oppression of marginalized voices. We grew up witnessing digital blackface, videos of police brutality, and influencers releasing apology videos for using slurs. Exposed to the reality of the world, we grew up navigating a whole new plane that previous generations couldn’t prepare us for. 

So, like most children, we sought an escape from reality by finding tiny spaces and corners of the internet where we could simply be young and free. Through playing virtual games, creating micro-trends, and building Soundcloud playlists, we used technology to create our own representation, which, in my opinion, is the core of Futurism. Although we weren’t consciously pursuing Afrofuturism, its influence was unmistakable. We still delivered its objective, allowing Black children to see themselves in the new future. 


In a world overshadowed by pessimism, our dreams endure. Despite the challenges, we persist in cultivating our aspirations, channeling our hopes, passions, and creativity into an uncertain future. As we continue to craft alternative visions of tomorrow, the Black youth are now seizing control of the internet, a once intimidating and foreign concept, and leveraging it as a platform to authentically express their true selves. From a long line of dreamers, the youth continue to carry this torch.