Camille Billops moved beyond predictable and well-tread ground to open up space for new narratives in her films—about Black families, Black women, and Black middle-class life—that pulled on her distinctive and unapologetic worldview.
A host of artists have carved out a niche in the interplanetary margins that now rest in hip-hop culture. Some call it an expansion on Afrofuturist philosophies; others simply a long-time propensity for the science-fiction genre.
There's a Ra connection here in more than name. And there's a legend surrounding one of the key players and his relationship to the Great One. True or untrue, that story only adds to the mystery behind this good-time release.
While most pop singers bounce from one marketable persona to another, Janelle Monáe stands her ground in this Afrofuturist vision she's been creating for about a decade. Other pop artists are tourists; she's building a city.