Afrofuturism exists as an intellectual platform for building vast, imaginative worlds, but it also fosters real, physical spaces that nurture Black creative expression. From artistic collectives formed during the Black Arts Movement of the ’60s and ’70s, to various musical, artistic, and dance communities that developed during the hip-hop of the 70s and 80s, to the formation of the Black Rock Coalition in the 80s and 90s, building real communities has been an essential element of Afrofuturism and its growth as a cultural movement.
The Black Rock Coalition (BRC) formed out of shared artistic and musical interests, but mostly out of necessity. In the 1980s, the recording industry pigeonholed Black musicians, and especially Black women, within fixed classifications and rigid genres that excluded them from the world’s most popular genre: rock. Founded in 1985 by guitarist Vernon Reid, producer Konda Mason, and journalist Greg Tate, BRC is a nonprofit collective of artists, intellectuals, fans, and individuals “dedicated to the complete creative freedom of Black artists.”
"We created this platform for electric, esoteric, experimental, and avant-garde Negroes to find one another, like unicorns in the forest."
Perhaps the most well-known members of the Black Rock Coalition, Living Colour is a Black American rock band that burst onto the music scene in 1984 with an unconventional musical style and a colorful aesthetic. With their debut album Vivid, Living Colour introduced a new, genre-defying heavy rock sound fused with social commentary. Vivid challenged the existing limits of Black artistry within rock music and led to a Grammy Award for their popular single, “Cult of Personality.” Many of the group’s songs describe a futuristic world in which various forms of Blackness are normalized, embraced, and celebrated.