Wakandacon is back with all things Black | Feature | Chicago Reader

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Wakandacon is back with all things Black

Wakandacon returns for its second year with programming to reimagine Black futures in fictional universes and beyond.


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Wakandacon is back for its sophomore year and has a lot in store for lovers of all things Black.

Wakandacon, a three-day Afrofuturistic convention that celebrates Black culture, was created last year by siblings and Chicagoland natives Ali, David, and Matt Barthwell. They were inspired by the futuristic society depicted in Marvel’s comic book series and box-office hit Black Panther to curate a space for Black creatives that recaptures the communal magic of Wakanda. At the heart of the convention is the concept of Afrofuturism, an artistic and cultural framework for imagining tech-savvy, self-determined futures for Black communities. 

At Wakandacon, comic book and video game nerds can indulge in typical convention activities, such as gaming tournaments and cosplay contests for beginners and experts alike. Although the event is catered toward self-proclaimed nerds, techies, and science geeks, organizers make clear that the convention is for anyone interested in the celebration of “Black representation and excellence in film, STEM, tech, fine art, and media.” A significant portion of the programming goes beyond nerd culture and focuses on sparking dialogue surrounding issues affecting different intersections of Black communities today.

On Friday, you can join a panel of Black physicists sponsored by the Adler Planetarium to learn about both the history and future of Black women in space, or discuss trauma and mental health in Black communities with the Hyde Park Therapist. On Saturday, attendees can explore the therapeutic possibilities of music with famed drummer and Black Panther choreographer Jabari Exum. Sunday will feature panel discussions covering a wide range of topics, including diversifying the space industry, the influence of people of color on professional wrestling, the effects of mass incarceration, and more. There will also be plenty to do for the kids throughout the weekend, including STEM workshops, coding lessons, and a stunt class with Black Panther actor Mark Willis where participants will learn actual stunts and how to train like a Jabari warrior.

With plenty to do wherever you fall on the spectrum, go “find your tribe” at Wakandacon this weekend.  v

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