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The latest entry into the Black Sci-Fi genre, Kindred, a limited series with all episodes premiering on Dec. 13 on Hulu. Based on acclaimed Black novelist Octavia Butler’s 1979 work of the same name, Kindred explores time travel and being transported back to the darkest time in American history, the era of Slavery. 

By mixing historical and science fiction, Kindred showcases the plight of Dana, a Black writer based in Los Angeles, as she goes back to the South during the Antebellum period, right where her ancestors were fighting off the omnipresent threat of enslavement.   

Butler’s work catapulted Black Sci-Fi to mainstream focus and became a pioneer for answering how people of color are engaged in futuristic settings. Her novels created a subgenre within the ever expansive speculative fiction realm, creating new worlds that force us to reconcile what our identity can mean in a variety of facets. 

We live in a reality where race is always a factor, especially for those who are at the disadvantage, and shows such as Kindred explore this conundrum through a fantastical and futuristic lens. If sci-fi shows that center Black people and their experiences are right up your alley, here are six of MADAMENOIRE’s recommendations to stream:

 

Lovecraft Country

Of course, we had to set things off with a new age classic. Though untimely canceled, its first season exploring H.G. Lovecrafts fantastical horror through a Black cast as they survive the monsters not only of their imagination, but of Jim Crow America. It can be streamed, if you dare, on HBOMax.

 

Nightflyers

Game of Thrones’ writer George R.R. Martin penned the novellas that led to this futuristic horror about a group of scientists aboard the titular spaceship. Jodie Turner-Smith and David Ajala star in this one season wonder about the doom that comes along with them on this ill-fated voyage to discover new life.

 

Z Nation

For those who prefer their existentialism to be more apocalyptic, Z Nation provides all the gory goodness that comes with zombie survival. This Netflix hidden gem follows the survivors of a zombie overtaking, with one of the central characters being a Black woman, a military vet who eventually becomes the leader of the survival group. 

 

Watchmen

This widely acclaimed limited series on HBOMax, revamps the ’80s DC comics it’s based on by adding a racial element to the mix. Using its narrative to shed light on the Black Wall Street massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the show centers Regina King as one of the watchmen of present-day Tulsa, protecting its citizens against a white supremacist group bent on their destruction. 

 

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in this Showtime series about an alien who lands on earth for a mysterious purpose. Given the original story stems from a 1963 novel, which has been lauded a parable for how excessive can lead to a planet and society’s destruction, The Man Who Fell to Earth creates a new dynamic with this Black-led film portraying the otherworldly being. 

 

The Expanse

In a futuristic reality where the solar system is under human control, those in and around power must not only deal with a brewing war between planet alliances, but also reckon with advanced alien technology that could make or break their new world. With the lead female protagonist being a Black woman, this show, spanning six seasons on Amazon Prime, is one with a character viewers like us can relate to. 

 

Films

 

The Jordan Peele Collection (Get Out, Us, & Nope)

We all remember the first time we saw the revolutionary horror film Get Out, where the real monster was racism. Peele’s work has transformed the horror genre, where the element of race is a constant, and itself haunting, theme in his work. His two later additions to his filmography, Us and Nope, take on new approaches to his cinematic worldbuilding. Us follows a Black family as they discover their doppelgangers with eerie intentions beneath the surface, while Nope showcases Hollywood Horse trainers and  Black sibling duo as they encounter a lifeform in the sky that is unbeknownst to man. A binge of Peele’s work, and what he’s done to put Black people at the forefront of cinema, can be considered required watching. 

 

Sorry to Bother You

There is nothing anyone could say to prepare a viewer for the journey that is found in Sorry to Bother You, but perhaps hold on to your horses. This surrealist comedy about a Black man, played by ‘Atlanta’ actor Lakeith Stanfield, as he climbs the corporate ladder to achieve capitalist gains is the eccentric, brain trip that will leave a lasting impression on one’s mind. 

See You Yesterday

Blending science fiction with social justice, a Black teen prodigy uses her skills to create a time-traveling backpack to save her brother from being killed by the police. A timely story about the lengths we will go to save our loved ones from the threat of police violence that impacts our lives daily. 

 

Neptune Frost

Set in a village created by computer parts in futuristic Burundi, this musical film explore the relationship between an intersex runaway hacker and a coltan miner. To us, this films checks off all the boxes for an amazing Black sci-fi film: queer characters, anti-colonial messaging, and a dope soundtrack. 

 

RELATED CONTENT: Why Hasn’t Octavia Butler’s Work Been Adapted?

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