I personally only came upon AfroPunk in 2014, whilst binge watching Alice Smith videos on YouTube. I was instantly in awe of the people mostly. They were black like me and had an unapologetic power about them, it was as if I found a treasure! I ended up watching video after video and immersed myself. I wanted to know more!
Afropunk is now in it’s 11th year. The festival spawned from a seminal cult classic documentary made by James Spooner, back in 2003 about the Alternative Punk scene from an African-American perspective. The first Afropunk was in 2005, it celebrated and unified the cultural cornerstones of AFROPUNK: music, film, skate, art and most importantly, the fiercely independent and influential individuals that are the lifeblood of the AFROPUNK community.
Thanks to the age of social media, people from all across the globe have been able to get a taste of the Afropunk experience by way of mixtapes on Soundcloud, footage on YouTube and the phenomenal imagery archived on Instagram. The festival itself has a vast and loyal following across all social media platforms, with almost 1million now on Facebook! It could be argued that Afropunk is an institution. A lifestyle, an activist, and cultural looking glass which sees it’s audience flocking to it’s home in Brooklyn, New York annually from all over the World.
2015 saw the first Afropunk festival outside it’s home of Brooklyn, NYC and ventured south down to Atlanta and then across the pond to Paris. 2016 is our turn and for the first time, AfroPunk Fest will be taking part in London on Saturday 24th of September, no less than 7 days!!
There was some controversy surrounding the initial headliner of the London event. However the powers that be eventually saw sense and changed up the programme, after receiving push back from a section of the festivals audience coupled with the interwebs reaction. Luckily the force that is Grace Jones will be performing as the headliner and she couldn’t have fitted the bill more perfectly if she tried!
So what to expect?! Other than the amazing cross section of alternative music and people watching all hues of ebony adorned in their best, there will be interactive art pieces made in conjunction with Amnesty International. There will be a market so be prepared! Don’t be that person snap chatting an item of Stuzo clothing to your peeps with a huge cryface emoji lol
Now back to the music. Check out a few of the artists due to perform and who I hope to catch!
Grace Jones… Not to be missed. She needs no introduction.
MNEK – Was made to make music. Sought after by the likes of Queens of Pop Kylie and Madonna, he’s most recently responsible for co-writing Hold Up featured on Beyonce’s Lemonade album.
Lady Leshurr‘s been on the UK Grime scene for the longest. Last year she broke the internet with Brush Your Teeth and even had Erykah Badu singing her praises.
Cakes Da Killa‘s second mixtape The Eulogy is what catapulted him to success. He’s not backward in coming forward and has enviable lyrical flow. According to Afropunk’s website “Cakes is having a coming out party and you’re all invited at AFROPUNK London” Sounds like his set will be where it’s at!
SZA and her signature tresses will be making a UK debut! Known for her ever popular track Teen Sprit, she’s featured on tracks by Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Ferg, ScHool boy Q and Rihanna’s most recent ANTI album.
Youth Man, Punk trio from Birmingham don’t mess about! They released their 3rd EP, Wax back in June and received great reviews. They’re even winning over the likes of NME, Clash Magazine and Artrocker.
Also in attendance will be Big Joanie, Goldlink, Laura Mvula, Skinny Girl Diet, plus Joe Kay and The Whooligan DJ of Soulection to name a few.
Are you reaching?! If so, let us know what you’re most looking forward to and who you’ll be making a bee line to see perform!