A quick note about Black Panther, which now has a domestic gross of $400 million, and a worldwide one of $700 Million. The film marks the final death of Afrocentricism and the full arrival Afrofuturism. The former replaced the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and is famous for making bold claims about the role of blacks in a history of Western Civilization that located its sunrise on the Nile. This sun, or concept, then rose over Greece, then Italy, and reached its zenith in Europe. Indeed, the 19th century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel claimed the West climaxed on his desk. The heroes of this story were all male and all white. Afrocentricism, in its popular form, simply replaced some of these white heroes with blacks. But the history itself remained the same.
Afrofuturism—which began as a loose affiliation to black Artists in Cape Town, Jozi, Lagos, London, Paris, New York City, and Detroit—broke with Afrocentricism in significant ways when it coalesced in the 1990s. To begin with, the narrative of Western Civilization never really interested this new brand of black futurists. Instead, they reassembled or projected, with sonic or fictional tools, black African and black American cultures. Sometimes, artists would completely erase the past (as with Cybotron's track, "Clear"); other times, they re-imagined the future (as with Wanuri Kahiu's short film, Pumzi). Kodwo Eshun's book More Brilliant Than The Sun is Afrofuturism's defining intellectual statement. And the Pacific Northwest's most important contribution to the movement is the music of Shabazz Palaces, which Dave Segal described as Afro-eccentricism.
To better understand what the transition from Afrocentricism to Afrofuturism means, one only needs to compare Black Panther's imagery and references with those of Micheal Jackson's 1991 video for "Remember the Time." The latter represents peak or mainstream Afrocentricism.
Consistent with the Afrocentric program is the video's replacement of Elizabeth Taylor with Iman. Nothing but the color of the rulers is contested, which is why this movement was essentially conservative. The continuum of power is preserved. The glories and conquests of the West aren't problematized.
Though some elements of this conservatism are in Black Panther (the black royal family, the black priest, the black general), it completely breaks with Afrocentricism by not contesting or making claims on Western Civilization. Instead, it remixes black African and black African styles and cultures with 21st-century globally coded and manufactured technologies to create a completely new image of black technoculture. This is what makes the movie Afrofuturist at its core.