Ytasha L. Womack is a critically acclaimed author, filmmaker, dancer, independent scholar, and champion of humanity and the imagination. Her book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture (2013) is the leading primer on the exciting subject which bridges science fiction, futurisms, and culture. The book is a 2014 Locus Awards Non Fiction Finalist.
Womack tours the world championing Afrofuturism and the role of the imagination. Her works in Afrofuturism have been translated into Portuguese and Spanish for markets in Brazil and Latin America. Afrofuturism is taught in high schools and universities across the world.
Her film "A Love Letter to the Ancestors From Chicago" (2017) is an Afrofuturist dance film. It was featured in Afropunk Brooklyn, Black(s) to the Future Fest in Paris, Cultura IberaAmericana in Cuba, Afrotopia in Bristol, England, Reel Time Film Fest in Lagos, Nigeria and the Black Harvest Film Fest in Chicago among others. The film won Best Experimental Film at the Collected Voices Festival.
She's currently developing other Afrofuturist films including Bar Star City (www.barstarcity.com).
Rayla 2212, a time travelling/reincarnation book series follows the character Rayla Illmatic and inspired the Race in Space Conference at Duke University.
She's published essays in the anthologies Black Quantum Futurism: Space Time Collapse, Artists Against Police Brutality. The short Afrofuturist Prince ode "For Digital Girls Who Drink Tonic Water When Purple Rain isn't Enough" appeared in Jalada.com and 2709 Books (Spanish Translation).
Her Afrofuturist series Eartha 2198 debuts February 2019 as part of www.raylauniverse.com. The series chronicles the adventures and self discovery of teleporting astronauts with soul journey missions from Planet Hope. Womack's other books include Rayla 2213 (2016) Post Black: How a New Generation is Refining African American Identity (2010), which was a Booklist Top 10 Black History Reader, and Beats, Rhymes and Life: What We Love & Hate About Hip Hop (2007).
Her films include the romantic comedy Couples Night (2018/screenwriter) starring Tony Rock and Reagan Gomez Preston; The Engagement (Director), and Love Shorts (Producer/Writer). She was also a coproducer for the documentary Tupac: Before I Wake and appeared on E True Hollywood Story’s Rappers Wives documentary as a guest commentator.
Womack is currently a writer-in-residence with Emerson College in Boston.
Womack frequently lectures and keynotes conferences on Afrofuturism, innovation, and science fiction around the world. She's a frequent panelist at Comic Cons across the country. Engagements include
Sonic Acts Festival (Amsterdam)
WOW Festival (Liverpool, England)
Afrofuturism Conference, New School (New York City, US)
Deutsche Kinemathek (Berlin, Germany)
Sun Ra Conference (Chicago)
Planet Deep South (Jackson, Mississippi, US)
HTMlles Festival (Montreal, Canada)
New York Comic Con (New York City, US)
She was Guest of Honor at Convergence in Minneapolis, Urban Roundtable 40 Under 40, and a Locus Awards Finalist for Best Nonfiction reader for her book Afrofuturism.
Womack also leads youth dance programs and cultivated an Afrofuturism dance therapy program for teens and adults. She teaches the program each summer through After School Matters in Chicago.
A Chicago native, she began her career as a journalist. She is a former editor-at-large for Upscale Magazine and former reporter/columnist for the Chicago Defender. She guest edits for NV Magazine and her works have appeared in Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Ebony, Essence, VIBE, and more.
She received a BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and studied Arts, Media, and Entertainment Management at Columbia College Chicago. She has a certificate in Metaphysics Studies (Better Living) from the Johnnie Coleman Institute.
News & Updates
All New RaylaUniverse.com Launched…
EARTHA 2198 book debuts in February 2019
“Futures Shaped by Pasts That Could Have Been” by Petul Kacar & Ytasha Womack Journal of Design & Science MIT Lab https://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/issue4-womack-kacar
Afrofuturism Symposium – University of Chicago “Black Quantum Futurism and Time Travel” Moderated Co-Organized by Ytasha L. Womack. Presenter: D.Denenge Akpem ..BQF theory by Rasheedah Phillips & Moor Mother https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NelqZhzojbg&t=541s
Afrofuturo(s) Afrofuturist stories translated in Spanish 2709 Books https://lektu.com/e/2709-books/18?af=mar
How Black Panther is Bringing Afrofuturism into the Mainstream Vice News https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/437d9j/how-black-panther-is-bringing-afrofuturism-into-the-mainstream
RAYLA UNIVERSE……where teleporting & dreams collide …meet EARTHA…Planet Hope’s Greatest Neo Astronaut..before the Rise of Rayla. EARTHA 2198 LAUNCHING IN BLACK FUTURE MONTH 2019. CLICK HERE
BERLIN, GERMANY: SATURDAY, JANUARY 19
“SO FAR: 1976- We Work on the Other Side of Time” a multimedia conversation with Henriette Gunkel & Ytasha L. Womack, 7:30 PM – 11 PM UTC+01. Hosted by diffrakt: zentrum fur theoretische peripherie, Crellestr. 22, 10827 Berlin, Germany
ADLER PLANETARIUM, FEBRUARY 21 (TBA)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY CHAT with Ytasha L. Womack on all things Afrofuturism, BLACK PANTHER, Rayla Universe, Eartha 2198 & More. Bezazian Branch, 11:00 am – 12:00pm
THURSDAY, MARCH 14 (TBA) CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY CHAT with Ytasha L. Womack on all things Afrofuturism at Hall Branch Library, 4801 S Michigan Ave. (TBA)
CHICAGO, US..SEMINARY COOP PRESENTS: MARCH 20, Roy Christopher speaks on his book Dead Precedents: How Hip Hop Defines the Future. Interview and discussion with Ytasha L. Womack. Seminary Coop Bookstore, 5757 S. University. (TBA)
C2E2, March 21-24, McCormick Place. Details Forthcoming.
EMERSON COLLEGE LECTURES, APRIL 2-3 by Ytasha L. Womack as part of the Emerson Writer in Residence Program. Includes talks on Afrofuturism and writing. (TBA)
CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10. Chat with Ytasha L. Womack on all things Afrofuturism, West Englewood Branch (TBA)