5 Things I Discovered about Afropunk 2016
If you know anything about me, you know that I love live shows! As a creative who works in the music industry, I am always searching for new music and a dope show. It also helps me get a picture of what artists are up to, performance wise, in case I can pass some pointers on to artists that I work with. Afro Punk is one of my favorite festivals to attend, not only because of the amazing line up, but because of the type of people that attend. I love seeing people in, as my brother Octavius Newman called it, 'Woke Cosplay'. This year Afro Punk did not disappoint and I wanted to share some key things I discovered during my 2 day attendance.
All the Creatives in Brooklyn Show Up- I saw many celebrities, bloggers, and instagram influencers and I thought it was dope that they took the time to support these artists and be open to talking and dancing with other people in the audience. Many brands such as Carol’s Daughter, The Wrap Life, Dark & Lovely and many more were present as well.
The Food Trucks are Super Bomb- Of course I ate while I was there and I was extremely pleased by what I experienced. I had vegan hush puppies and mushrooms from this one vegan food truck that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of, but I also had Mizo Glazed Silken Tofu from Sweet Chili with a Bean Sprout Salad! Soooo delicious!
Phenomenal Lineup-My current playlist consists of anything Soulection, Sango, Xavier Omar, The Internet, Janelle Monae, Flying Lotus and Thundercat. Needless to say they were ALL at Afropunk this year. It was the best line up I’ve ever experienced in a long time. While I missed Cube, Thundercat and most of Janelle, I still had an amazing time. I attempted to see Janelle Monae maybe 10 minutes into her set and was about to have a full blown panic attack, due to the hundreds of people that were all trying to get into her stage’s section. It was literally all of us arm to arm, foot to foot, some trying to get closer to the stage and some trying to escape the crazy crowd. It was just way too many people. Which brings me to my next point.
Unexpected Success- This year had many more people in attendance than last year’s festival, which is a great thing. In the past, Afropunk was free, but last year, they started charging(smart move) and the attendance began to increase. A clear indication of more people attending was the fact that there were too many people at the red stage for Janelle Monae. Trying to get out of that section is what almost caused me to panic and made others actually go into full blown panic mode. One woman pushed everyone out of her way to get out. It was becoming a bit hard to breathe because of the bodies and heat. There was no security managing the entrances for each stage, which is what caused the mayhem. No one was there to count how many people entered and it definitely should have been a limit. While I’m sure the staff did not anticipate this being an issue, it was. It seemed as though the influx of people attending may have cause other issues because most of the start times for each artist were pushed back quite a bit and made everything start later than it should. This was the only reason I missed Ice Cube because he got on too late and I had to pick up the kiddos from the sitter!
Freedom to Be Yourself- Like I said earlier, Afropunk is a place where you can be free to be you no matter what. While many had on things I would never wear, I still appreciate the freeness. Hate is strongly prohibited and love is strongly encouraged so if you had on something extremely unique, you would get the most attention and love. Seeing the many shades of brown with colorful Afros and beautiful African clothing was so pleasing to witness. It sometimes felt like a fashion show or competition but in a healthy way. I often thought, Who will get the most pics taken and go viral? Who will have the wildest outfit on? Is that woman naked? Many questions!!! Either way it was great experience and I look forward to going back next year.