"THE FUTURE IS Black!” is a clarion cry at the entrance to “Mothership: Voyage into Afrofuturism,” an exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California. Its placement is a prickly reminder of the indomitable persistence of Black lives, and affirmation that in the imagined future they will not only matter but be present, alive, and thriving. This declaration of an imagined future of thriving Black lives must be thrust also into the importance of the Black Church and Black faith.
Much ink has been spilled on the misnomer that “God is dead”—with a caveat that the Black Church is dying—by scholars and practitioners alike. But, the monolithic nature of the Black Church has long been dispelled by prolific sociologists of religion such as W.E.B. Du Bois, C. Eric Lincoln, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, and Anthea Butler, to name only a few. While the debate of the status of the Black Church rages on, the lived reality of the Black Church is that it is very much engaged and transforming as an institution in America and around the globe.