This coming weekend (Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July) sees the return of AFROPUNK Festival to London for the second time and I for one am stoked!
So what is AFROPUNK? For over 14 years, AFROPUNK has been defining culture in the music world; a triumph of multiculturalism, diversity and championing all races, genders, colours, creeds and tastes. Each year, AFROPUNK unites over 85,000 people across their festivals, and another 10,000 at events.
This year will be my first time attending an AFROPUNK festival (I was in the US during AFROPUNK’s inaugural London festival in 2016) and I plan to savour every last drop of the energy, creativity and good vibes that the AFROPUNK institution has become renowned for.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock and don’t know why I’m so excited for AFROPUNK London 2017, I’m gonna break it down for you.
AFROPUNK London is first and foremost, a music festival and unlike some of the more popular, mainstream music festivals, the emphasis is on the MUSIC (and not just the money).
It’s not necessarily about filling the stage with the most popular, Top 40 acts, but there is an emphasis on promoting artists that make music that empowers others, artists who share the same ethos and spirit of the festival and often these are artists who aren’t given the same opportunity to perform at mainstream music festivals.
Another great thing is that the line-up of artists is not restricted by genre of music or type of artist so it’s likely that you’ll hear something/someone new as well as some of the artists that you’re already familiar with and love.
You can check out the most up-to-date line-up here, but I for am most looking forward to seeing The Internet, Willow Smith and JME and Corinne Bailey Rae.
2. For us by us
No, the festival is not sponsored by FUBU but AFROPUNK is an institution created by black people with black people in mind – an institution that is by its own admission, “Unapologetically black”.
For the last 14 years, AFROPUNK has cultivated safe spaces where black people could meet other like minded people, where we were free to express themselves without fear of racism, being labelled or put in a box. AFROPUNK famously dropped M.I.A from the London 2016 line-up following from AFROPUNK supporters that her “All Lives Matter” stance didn’t support the wider values of the brand and its festival goers.
Although many (I included) would say including her on the line-up was a mistake to start with, dropping her from the line-up demonstrated the brand’s commitment to listening to it’s black audience and keeping us at the forefront.As the festival and institution has grown it has become a beacon for many groups and a community that brings together people passionate about inclusion and unaccepting of discrimination. Powerful images of the tapestries at AFROPUNK festivals across the world have have trended across social media as people support the message of: NO SEXISMNO RACISMNO ABLEISMNO AGEISMNO HOMOPHOBIANO FATPHOBIANO TRANSPHOBIANO HATEFULNESS
3. Hair & Fashion
Almost as much as seeing the artists, I’m looking forward to the fashion. I’m not yet sure what I’m going to wear, but I know I will spend at least 25% of my time at the festival looking at others and thinking and/or saying “YASSSSSSSS!!!!”
AFROPUNK has always advocated individuality and expressing yourself and of course, this can be done in what we choose to wear. Style varies from person to person but if I was to try to describe the general fashion vibe, I would describe it tribal meets punk, meets boho, meets hip hop – I know, awesome right?
As a natural hair enthusiasts, I always look forward to images of the great styles that come out of each AFROPUNK event and find it to be a great source of inspiration for me. I’m currently rocking faux locs which I may keep for the festival. If I do, I have to add a splash of colour to it to go with my colourful festival vibes.
4. Everything in between
Although AFROPUNK London is a predominantly a music festival, the event space lends itself to it being able to be so much more. There will be markets where you can buy bespoke pieces from some home-grown designers, various food stalls and pop-up restaurants where you can stuff your face with cuisines from around the would, battle of band competition, art exhibitions and more.
Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased here. I hope to see you there! I’ll be attending both days of the festival on behalf of the CHM family. If you see me, do come say hi and share some AFROPUNK love with us!