I’ve Been Officially AfroPunk’d!

Settling in, as one does, after a couple of days spent basking in a whirlwind of melodious sound and creative expression, I’ve had time to put down all the buzzing energy of inspiration. I’ve been officially AfroPunk’d! Yes, AfroPunk: an annual music festival that takes place in Brooklyn, Atlanta and Paris featuring an array of fascinating performances charged with all the passion of activism and social consciousness.

It was my first time going and I will try my best to explain what AfroPunk truly meant (and means) to me as well as those who’ve only just heard of it. To better crystallize this parade of passion, I’ll break it down into these 3 themes : Support for your Fellow Woman/Man, Beautiful People and Music with The Power to Unite.

Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn, NYC
AfroPunk @Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn, NYC

Support for your Fellow Woman/Man

While AfroPunk is primarily, as I’ve said, a musical festival, there’s a great many other things going on. For instance, strolling around the many booths showcasing natural beauty products, clothes, jewelry and artwork, you’ll be able to find a full outfit from top to bottom that will leave you feeling like a Goddess. Creativity knows no bounds here. These merchants have found their place and their niche at AfroPunk and as a consumer, it was great to meet the brand promoters face-to-face. Not only do they sell products, they’re also there to stand by their item’s confidence and promote self-love. Rock Your Crown (see below) is a T-shirt company who’s image is pretty self-explanatory: it is for women of color who embrace their natural hair and afros. Within my first 5 minutes in the park, the pleasant man from RYC gave me this flag to represent.

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(Check it out: Instagram: rockyourcrown and Online store: Rock Your Crown).

I already knew this was the place to be. There is just something about supporting local Black businesses; you are giving that person more to continue and you are getting, in exchange, something so much more unique to you.

((Oh BTW, don’t ask me how much I spent! LOL support your Fellow Woman and Man!))

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(Facebook: Ancientblendsnaturals and Website: cowrieshell.com).
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This is one of the artwork that was featured and sold at the festival. The artist is Paul Deo.(Facebook: PaulDeoArt and Website: pauldeo.com).

Beautiful People.

When I say everyone in this place is beautiful and rocking something so fresh, I mean EVERYONE is BEAUTIFUL. To the hair, to the duds, to the studs too, it’s just a rainbow of style and color in all sense if the word. This event embraces all shades of people of African-descent while not excluding others; there is a sense of community here. There is no hating. In fact, it is part of their slogan: “NO SEXISM, NO RACISM, NO ABLEISM, NO AGEISM, NO HOMOPHOBIA, NO FATOPHOBIA, NO TRANSPHOBIA, NO HATEFULNESS”. People compliment and take pictures of each other. Blogs and websites are shooting away with their cameras, Instagram addresses are being exchanged. People want to connect. Why? If you’re here and I’m here than we stand for the same thing. This is beyond a fashion statement. This is about expressing our self to the fullest, letting our Kings and Queens Selves shine through.

made some friends

The Power to Unite

Now, as I’ve said, the main reason people come down to AfroPunk is for the music. Here you’ll find a 2-day spectacle of artists, from both the mainstream and the underground scene, that can move your body just the same. So many gave and graced the stage that, I’ll admit, I didn’t get to see all the artists. There was 3 stages going at the same time and my ears were constantly alert. The crowd either stood sprinkled over the grass or laid on blankets, absorbing the sun. The artists that I was looking forward to seeing were Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz and Grace Jones. Their voices rang so clear, they came live and ready to perform. Being an artist myself, it made me remember what’s so pivotal and sometimes gets lost: their way of being present and in the Now and sharing with the audience who they are. You can truly hear it in their performance. Lauryn Hill commands the stage as well as her band, she’s a true lioness. Lenny Kravitz is just so funky and soulful, his songs hit to the core. Grace Jones is, point blank. Her voice is warm, powerful and resounding, she smiles and invites you in like a queen entertaining her guests. There may have been technical difficulties during certain shows, uh hum, at Lauryn Hill’s but the audience wanted to hear more. They shouted “Fix the sound!” but to no avail. She continued playing her last 3 songs, which were classics like “Doo- Wop”, but instead of people getting upset and booing, the whole crowd chimed and sang together. We couldn’t let this get us down!

AfroPunk is more than a music festival, a weekend of events. It is an experience. There is not a single aspect that distills this Pandora’s Box of Originality. This is more about respect for your brothers and sisters, love for ourselves and remembering who we are, (wink!). You’ve got the apparel to rock, you got the music to rock you too, but most importantly, you got the People to rock together.
AfroPunk is more than a music festival, a weekend of events. It is an experience. There is not a single aspect that distills this Pandora’s Box of Originality. This is more about respect for your brothers and sisters, love for ourselves and remembering who we are, (wink!). You’ve got the apparel to rock, you got the music to rock you too, but most importantly, you got the People to rock together.

Pic5Officially AfroPunk’d!



About the writer:

About the Writer

Samantha Hinds, otherwise known as “Sam I Am Montolla” is a singer/songwriter/dancer from Montreal who has a love of words and expression. She continues to perform music, compete in dance battles and is currently in Kalmunity Collective. She also has her own EP called “MADE HER” that is out on Bandcamp, and loves to share her thoughts on her blog

5-20inthemorning.com

You can also find Sam I Am at:

samiammontolla.com

facebook.com/IamSamHinds

soundcloud.com/iamsamhinds