London is calling.
2016 is a year of many firsts. For London, it will be the first time that AFROPUNK graces the city with its glorious melanin-infused essence. After eleven years at its original location of Brooklyn, New York City, AFROPUNK festival makes the jump across the pond to grace the British with an incredible festival experience, while being positive catalyst for change as well a safe diverse yet inclusive space for all black people. Black excellence from across the United Kingdom and the world will descend on London for the inaugural arrival of AFROPUNK London on Saturday, September 24th, at Alexandra Palace. Bazodee will be there to cover the festival, capturing all the sights and sounds across all our social media channels during the event.
First off, for those who may not be in the know, let's get down to basics. Or as my grandmother would say, let's break things down into idiot biscuits. Starting off, what is AFROPUNK? For starters, it's more than a one day beer and beats music festival. AFROPUNK is a stylish, bold and thrilling festival, an inclusive diverse community, a political movement all wrapped up in one, promoting positive messages and images of black people coupled with eclectic sounds and iconic visuals. AFROPUNK was born out of a short film created in 2003 by filmmaker James Spooner with the same name, Afro-Punk. The film looked at the punk-rock scene and how many black youths within that scene felt that the space was not racially inclusive, particularly given the black origins of rock. These youths identified with the radical, rebellious nature of the 70s punk rock anti-establishment attitude and strongly connected with that way that punk was used to deconstruct and dismantle oppressive systems of power such as institutional racism, white patriarchy and white supremacy utilizing art, music and fashion as vehicles for change. AFROPUNK seeks to merge black punk culture, DIY aesthetics with art, music, fashion and activism in an explosive and unique celebration, all wrapped up in an inclusive environment, a new movement to Londontown. It seeks to be a safe, inclusive, uplifting space for all black people as identified by its banners of "No sexism, no racism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no transphobia, no hatefulness", while simultaneously deconstructing the oppressive ideologies that are ever-present in Western societies that seek to dehumanise any people not seen as the default (read: white, cis heterosexual.)
This is not the festival's first time on European shores. AFROPUNK first travelled to Paris, France in 2015 before setting its sights on London the following year. For London, AFROPUNK promises the true festival experience, marrying anti-establishment ethos to diverse musical content and undeniable beauty of black culture. London is a centre of creativity, individuality and diversity, a true centre and showcase of multiculturalism so naturally, AFROPUNK should fit in perfectly. The 2016 AFROPUNK festival lineup is nothing short of electrifying; it boasts the iconic Grace Jones as a headliner act, along with Cakes Da Killa, The Noisettes, Laura Mvula, SZA, Lady Leshurr, and Skinny Girl Diet. Festival-goers will also be exposed to some new acts, such as WORD SOUND POWER who are exclusive to AFROPUNK as well as others like Jorja Smith and the Nova Twins. These diverse local and international performers showcase that while AFROPUNK has moved away from its punk roots in terms of its sound, it surely has not lost the plot in term of multiculturalism and the way that the black experience is widespread, diverse and multifaceted, especially showcased in its musical tastes.
AFROPUNK is the flower that grew and blossomed from concrete. It highlights, celebrates and showcases an alternative scene that emerged from the African diaspora. It combines the art, fashion and music from African, Afro-American and Afropean cultures, combining them in a cohhoblopot (Barbadian term for a stew consisting of variety or medley of ingredients) that is said to produce fantastic sounds and awe-inspiring sights coupled with a phenomenal experience. AFROPUNK will be sure to find a welcome home in London, the perfect ground for the rampant, vivid individuality that is present at every AFROPUNK festival. Black punks, fashionistas, black academics and black thought leaders will all be side by side in this black space with the freedom to express themselves and just be. The thought alone of that is simply refreshing. Inclusivity and diversity coupled with individuality, black self expression and black culture will all be the order of the day tomorrow at AFROPUNK London, and from all accounts it is not a festival to be missed.
Want to know more? Make sure to check out the AFROPUNK website.