Afro Future Con returns this weekend

Afro Future Con returns to San Diego this weekend at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in Mountain View. It offers a platform to advance and celebrate Afrofuturistic art, film, writing and thinking.

Afro Future Con (short for Afrofuturism Consciousness Conference) strives to connect people from multiple disciplines — arts and sciences — to imagine a better future.

“One of the things about Afro Futurism, as it becomes more popular, the number of ways it’s defined becomes more plentiful. But for me it’s really about using the past and the present to inform our actions, our behaviors, our choices, and also to encourage us to imagine the future and understand that every day, all the little things we do, are shaping the future, and encouraging people to imagine the future that they want and be more intentional about moving in the direction of it. Understanding that in many ways we are shaping our lives every day,” said event co-founder and organizer LaWana Richmond, a champion of Afrofuturism.

Afro Future Con explores all those ideas and more. It is a free, family-friendly event with activities geared to children.

“We’re doing a cosplay parade for children,” Richmond said. “If we have youth that show up and they don’t have a costume, they can create something that they can be proud of and show off in the parade.”

There will also be panels covering familiar topics such as comics creators and Afrofuturism in animation.

The panel Creators Building Worlds in the Comic Universe will be moderated by Professor Ajani Brown from the Center for Comic Studies at San Diego State University. Panelists include Marcus Newsome of Lightning Strike Comics, Keithan Jones of KID Comics and Tony Washington.

But other panels feel uniquely specific to Afro Future Con.

“Eugene Young has Afromancy, which is about superpowers in the hair, which fascinates me,” Richmond said. “And then we’ve also got a panel on the future of work from a refugee perspective. We’ve got a group of taxi drivers who are responding to the way ride shares have impacted the taxi industry. And then Olivia Green is going to do an AI 101, because there are a lot of people who are afraid of AI. And that’s not to say it’s not cause for concern, but it’s also an opportunity to create and expand and improve different industries.”

Richmond is also excited to have acclaimed graffiti artist Maxx Moses in attendance as well as hosting the CosPlayers Ball at his Graffiti Gardens (6785 Imperial Ave.) studio.

Afro Future Con takes place at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, and Sunday, Sept. 10. Cosplayers Ball is Saturday night from 8 p.m. to midnight. This after party for Afro Future Con includes food, beverages, a live DJ, entertainment, and a cosplay contest. Tickets are available for a $75 donation, with proceeds helping to make Afro Future Con available for free to the public.

Poster for this year's Afro Future Con.

LaWana Richmond

Poster for this year’s Afro Future Con.

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