This past weekend, hundreds of people gathered in Brooklyn to attend the AfroPunk festival. The two-day celebration includes, music performances, art, fashion and food. it was founded in 2005 after a documentary of the same name was released. The documentary highlighted the black presence on the North American Punk scene. The festival is thus an extension of this, focusing on both blackness (Afro) and punkness (music/culture). Their website defines it like this:
Afro: as in, born of African spirit and heritage; see also black (not always), see also rhythm and color, see also other, see also underdog.
Punk: as in, rebel, opposing the simple route, imbued with a DIY ethic, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and open curiosity; see also other, see also underdog.
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 festival has definitely grown over the years, and bigger crowds mean bigger acts. This year, the line-up included: The Internet, Smino, Mahalia, Lion Babe, Tyler the Creator, Miguel, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, H.E.R., Daniel Ceaser, KAYTRANADA, Pusha T, and much more. They also had food trucks, art installations and DJs to pack in the perfect vibes for the days. I went to Day 1 of the festival which included Smino, H.E.R., Daniel Ceaser, Miguel, The Internet, and KAYTRANADA. The performances were phenomenal, every act that I saw sounded nearly perfect live. My favorite set was by H.E.R. who absolutely killed both her vocals and instrumentals. She is one of my favorite artists so seeing her live was the highlight of the day. Daniel Ceaser joined her during her performance and he also had a set but I missed it because the crowd was so big. There was a slide set behind the stage where he performed and I, and this girl that I met, sat on the top bars and watched from there. 100% worth it.
My second favorite thing about the festival are the lewkssssss. Black people always know how to show up and show out at public events. My favorite fashion moment was meeting this guy (pictured above) who was wearing a full-body durag. He was featured on Vogue's Instagram page and took a quick picture with me. Details on my look: I got both this jumpsuit and my sandals from ASOS. I got my hair braided in Brooklyn and placed the beads myself. I was going for a comfy/cute feel and used the beads to add a little something extra to my hair style.
Overall, I enjoyed the festival. There was a lot going on at the same time and it was very crowded, but I think that was all side-effects of it expanding the way that it has. I found a way to make the most of it, and plan to go next year! You can check out my "NYC" highlight to see some videos and more pictures.