“The solution for the negro is to leave the planet!” cries one member of a Black counsel convened to discuss “the Negro Problem” in the trailer for Kevin Wilmott‘s Destination: Planet Negro!. This declaration sets this hilarious sci-fi satire in motion.
Riffing off the escapist ideas in history (like the 19th century “Back-to-Africa movement) and in Afrofuturist works like Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Destination: Planet Negro! tells the story of a league of Black scientists, adventurers, and pioneers who build a rocket ship and a sassy robot in order to venture to Mars “in search of a better life.”
Citing influences such as Twilight Zone and Destination Moon (1950), Wilmott is bringing a blast from the past in Destination: Planet Negro!, complete with the low-budget 1950’s sci-fi look and appearances from the likes of George Washington Carver and W.E.B DuBois. But when our heroes blast off in their rocket, the theme shifts to something that resembles a reality TV show as they find themselves in a future where there’s a Black president.
In a Q&A at the Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago last month, Wilmott discussed his motivations for the film “Sci fi was one of the few places where black folk would show up occasionally,” said Wilmott, “I think Black folk as a whole, you can kind of say, our lives in America has always been hoping for a better future.”
And “future” is the key word in anything involving Black folk and time-travel. This film is certainly one-of-a-kind. An almost all-Black cast in a time-traveling, sci-fi, space adventure? It’s about time.
The film premiered August 23rd at the Black Harvest Film Festival and it’s making the rounds. Keep up with screenings on the Planet Negro Facebook page or bring ’em to you & arrange a screening at the Destination: Planet Negro website.