AfroPunk Fest 2017 happened in Brooklyn bringing together an estimated 60,000 people who were ready to showcase their style and express their love for music. More like music meets fashion or vice versa.
The African spirit and heritage was laid down at this two-day festival of black arts and culture. “Wave your freak flag high.”
When the word punk comes to mind, you know what to expect; rebellion and rawness. And that is why the styles that most people rocked whether hair, make up or outfits were not your typical everyday look.
Afropunk encompasses music, sociocultural politics and a kaleidoscopically colorful wardrobe. So Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park, marking the 11th year of Afropunk was met with Vibrant headgears, tribal-esque face paint, and eye-popping outfits with Afrocentric patterns.
And where there are black people, there is an important message that needs to be echoed no questions asked. And that is that black lives matter. The jewellery and threads worn spoke that out loud.
The lineup included performances from headliners Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, and Lauryn Hill; New York City-based artists including Harlem rapper Princess Nokia, rock/R&B band The Skins and the eclectic five-piece Sinkane, led by Sudanese-American Ahmed Gallab, whose music blends electronic beats with jazz, funk and Sudanese pop.
Not to mention black girl magic from Solange, SZA, Willow Smith and Macy Gray. Other sets of note include British electronic soul artist Sampha and genre-spanning bassist Thundercat.
There’s a scene in the documentary that sums up the void the festival fills by mixing art, activism and music to bring together a diverse group of black creatives. The feeling of isolation of black punk youth across the country led Matthew Morgan, who produced the 66-minute film to create AFROPUNK.
Eleven years later, the festival has grown to include APROPUNK FEST Atlanta and Paris.
“I think the overall theme is inherently Afro-futurism—this idea that Black folks have always had to imagine a more utopian future,” explains Sharp who has attended the festival the last two years.
DJ Oscar Nunez said, “It’s almost like there is a mutual understanding amongst everyone there that we are here for a celebration of what it is to be black, brown, and weird in the best way possible.”
CNN: “AFROPUNK is defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you.”
The New York Times: The AFROPUNK movement is pushing music and fashion forward.
More than a music festival, AFROPUNK is a part of black culture. It is a place where black people are able to express the full diversity of their lived experiences.
Vogue: Afropunk is pretty much one of the ultimate voices for young black free thinkers
Huffpost Style: There’s a reason the main stage was flanked by two giant flags, bearing that list of rules: No Sexism, No Racism, No Ableism, No Ageism, No Homophobia, No Fatphobia, No Transphobia, and finally, No Hatefulness – Afropunk is meant to be the ultimate inclusive space.
BuzzFeed: If there is any music festival where black men, women, boys and girls can be their carefree, cool and creative selves, it’s at AfroPunk Fest.