Afrofuturist Design

  Yohance, before anything else, is an African Space Opera -the first of its kind. With that comes the responsibility of designing a truly unique aesthetic. It requires worldbuilding on the massive scale of Star Wars or Star Trek but in an entirely different way. The trick with Yohance (and all subsequent IPs) was to create futuristic worlds exclusively using Pre-colonial African influences. This was a tremendous feat of design that took about seven years to perfect. The end result is an authentically African look that can stand on par with the most sophisticated Western Space Operas.

A Missed Opportunity

   Because Afro Fantasy and Sci Fi are relatively new genres in mainstream, it’s understandable that Afrofuturist design is still elusive to most creators. Even multi-million dollar blockbusters such as Marvel’s Black Panther seem to have missed the mark. Blending random Post-colonial African Elements from across the continent with Western perceptions of technology. The result was the equivalent of a Buddhist Monk wearing the King of England’s Crown. This can even be offensive when a sacred piece of regalia is used as a fashion statement. A stylist wouldn’t necessarily think of this but a designer would.

African Design Done Right

The truth is, African Civilization was interrupted by Colonialism. That simple fact means that true Afrofuturist Design must be synthesized from Pre-Colonial culture. Then they must be simulated to see what they would look like in a fantasy or futuristic setting. Of course, This first requires a deep understanding of each culture. Paul Louise-Julie has spent nearly a decade studying the fractal based aesthetics of Pre-colonial African Culture. Only then was he able to simulate their cultural evolution through the ages. From there, he was able to synthesize authentic and complex futuristic African Cultures. The advantage of doing an African Space opera is that this should already feel alien to a Western audience. However, if done right, it should feel believable. This level of design fidelity is the reason why Sanu Wara is leading the charge in the realm of true Afrofuturism.