story / Cakes Da Killa
photos / Sam Evans-Butler
Last weekend Afropunk proved once again why it’s the hottest place to be during the summer season. Brooklyn’s majestic Commodore Barry Park was a fitting backdrop for the 8th annual, two-day music festival that served up some kickass energy to combat the summer heat.
Since its inception, the festival has become a yearly pilgrimage for indie music lovers and fashion junkies alike garnishing attention from media outlets that praise the event as the most multicultural music festival ever. With hoards of creative movers and shakers in attendance I couldn’t miss an opportunity to experience the experience of Afropunk– this year was finally my moment.
The lineup covered music genres like Hip-Hop, Pop, Metal and Punk ensuring that both days had a little something for the attendees of all ages and races. There was loads of sick performances from rockers like The White Mandigos, Wicked Wisdom, Living Colour, and Pyramids who headlined along with Chuck D, Saul Williams, DEATH, Danny Brown, Big Freedia, Ninja Sonic, Rye Rye and Theophilus London. Other acts included trailblazers Le1f, Mykki Blanco and the preteen heavy metal trio Unlocking the Truth, who dominated the stage like pros. The air was filled the sickest beats thanks to the roster of DJs that included ?uestlove, Messkid and Mike Q whose sets caused major foot juking, booty twerking and dramatic voguing. How did you end up missing this?
I bounced back and forth between the neighboring Red and Green stage areas thanks to my Red Bull rush since they were one of the many amazing sponsors. The Green stage was located on a massive field that housed sunbathers and vendors selling ethnic trinkets and other one-of-a-kind goodies. The Red stage was a gritty tar cement park that included BMX ramps and a rockwall. Did I mention the food trucks? Some of the best food I ever ate outdoors. Ever.
Tents were set up around the park to add to the fun. Some of my favorite included Gitoo’s Advice tent equipped with comfy plush pillows and a couch. Two tents over from that was the Jersey Klan tent, which became a separate world from the festival showcasing musical acts and DJs with that signature jersey club flair.
Many women in attendance flaunted ornate floral headdresses accessorized with chunky chains, rings and cuffs. The men showcased their own individual takes on progressive urban fashion with hints of sophisticated afro-centricity. This means loads of bright, graphic prints, piercings, body art, natural hair twisted, braided and colored, snapbacks and thick dreads that seemed to touch the floor on some. Everyone was on their A game fashion wise only enhancing the already electric energy we all shared. We all were just happy to be there with each other and you could feel it.
After reflecting on the two days I shared with the amazing Afropunk staff, the seasoned artists and hungry emerging talent as well as the best-dressed security I’ve ever I applaud Afropunk. Firstly, for being a platform for musical expression but more importantly for being a space where people can just be themselves whether that means crowd surfing, skateboarding or making out on a bench while Dead Prez performs in the background – all for free. Viva la Afropunk! See you next year.
more pics go here!