Afro Punk Festival is quickly becoming one of the most popular east coast music festivals after hosting its yearly gathering in Brooklyn, New York for over ten years.
This year, the two day event took place August 27th-28th and featured artists and bands from The Internet, Bad Brains, and Tyler the Creator to Janelle Monae, Ice Cube, and Living Color.
From the eclectic fashion attire of the attendees to the fantastic, though lesser known, artists gracing the stage, attending Afro Punk is a wonderland for care-free individuals looking to embrace their individuality and freedom to live outside of the box. All of this goes hand-in-hand with the ability to enjoy the many hues of the Black and Brown faces around without concern for stereotyping or judgment.
As a matter of fact, Afro Punk’s rules are no sexism, no racism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no fatphobia, no transphobia, no hatefulness.
Basically, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t come to Afro Punk.
The two day event is full of happy individuals wanting to enjoy themselves in ways that they might not be able to when faced with the expectations and judgment of the world outside of Commodore Barry Park.
Outside of having a safe space to be oneself, the event also boasts of an amazing line up. Probably the most anticipated guest of Sunday night was Janelle Monae who gave a dazzling performance in her signature black and white get up with accompanying bow-tie. Monae, who is no stranger to Afro Punk and has apparently been there since its beginnings, graced the Red Stage on day two and drew a crowd so deep, growing wings and flying felt like the only way to grab a glimpse of the “Hell You Talm Bout” singer’s flowing faux-fur shawl or her flawless Prince tribute.
In-between performances, DJs played their sets while people swirled, wined, popped, locked, nae-naed, stanky legged, and whatever else the music called for while the cool breeze bounced the myriad of kinky-curly tresses swaying across the landscape. And while others moved and grooved on the grass, some made their way around the vendor booths to check out all of the unique items sold by Black owned businesses, get their arms “marbled” with colorful swirls, catch some free promotional items, or have their souls painted across their bodies by Beyoncé’s Lemonade artist Laolu Senbanjo.
Afro Punk Festival 2016 proved, once again, to be one of the most lit, safe zones for people of color (and anyone who wants to simply enjoy good people, good music, and a good life).