I like to consider Afropunk Fest as my initiation into the Brooklyn community — like, you don’t really know Brooklyn until you’ve experienced this explosion of art, culture, and music.
It was the first major event I attended upon moving to the Big Apple in 2013, and it has become sort of like a family reunion, especially for creative people. Aside from the scheduled performances and marketplace, it has been a platform for individuals to simply network, learn from each other, unite, and grow.
This year, the weekend celebration celebrated its 11th year with talent such as Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz, Kelis, and Sza. I only went for one day, Saturday, mainly to catch Lauryn, instead of making laps around the park photographing people like I usually do. Well, I got a few, but it felt good to mostly sit back and immerse myself in the environment.
I stopped by the Carol’s Daughter booth for some free hair samples (they’re also holding a fantastic #bornandmade campaign right now); got a photo op at Bevel, an amazing and fast-growing menswear grooming brand; and ventured through the marketplace, taking a mental wish list of the businesses I want to support.
And not surprisingly, in light of the heightened racial tensions happening across the nation with the senseless killings of black people by white supremacists, police officers, and the like, there was an increased amount of activism going on, especially for the black transgender community – In fact, Afropunk has an “Activism Row” to shed light on the work being done in New York’s minority community.
Unfortunately, I did not rock my ‘fro this time, but I will be letting it all out today for Curlfest! Stay tuned.