By Kareemah Muhammad
This year’s Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn was nothing short of soul-stirring and I was there for every bit of it! Afropunk fest set the stage for an array artists Saturday and Sunday, who represent the black diaspora. Artists from every music genre you can imagine including rock, soul and hip-hop captured thousands of attendees.
Fans were thrilled to see their favorite indie and mainstream artists hit the stage. Day 1 of the fest included a much-anticipated performance by SZA and the headliner Solange who sang with such eloquence moving the crowd with her vibrancy and bold persona. (She even did a little twerk action, ha!)
One festival attendee named Q from Baltimore, MD said, “A lot of artists are like blinded by the fame and once they get to a certain point they don’t go hard for their fans. She goes hard for her fans.”
Solange performing on stage, Afropunk 2017
On Day 2 it was British singer Nao, who had droves of fans waiting over an hour to see her perform. Singing her hits including Fool To Love and Bad Blood as well as a myriad of other favorites left the crowd on a natural high.
Yet, it was Raphael Saadiq who shut the stage down Sunday night during his headlining performance. He took us back with the all time favorite, Anniversary and hit classic Dance Tonight. FYI, he hasn’t changed a bit! Between him and Pharell I need answers!!! Haha.
Raphael Saadiq performing on stage, Afropunk 2017
Not only does Afropunk Festival bring out the best in music they have a commitment to social activism coining the phrase “We The People,” to let the world know that they don’t support any form of hatred against any group of people or individuals. At the fest, they had Activism Row where different civic and social organizations came to the fest to inform attendees about how to get involved in their communities.
Ian Weissman (2nd from left) and HeadCount Volunteers, Afropunk 2017
One of the organizations at Activism Row included HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that runs voter registration drives at music events. Ian Weissman, the New York Team Leader at HeadCount spoke on the importance of registering to vote and why voting locally matters stating,
“What’s important for us is what our local city council officials are doing or our mayor. Not that it’s not important to follow national politics but it’s important to get people more aware about what’s going on, on a local level.”
One thing I cannot forget to mention is ‘all the people in the place with style & grace’. When I tell you from the headpieces, to the fros, kinks and curls, bangles and body art the people were beautiful! To see such pride in ones attire and presence was powerful. Check out a few of my faves below!
All in all Afropunk Festival is here for the culture, but it’s also here for understanding and embracing one another regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, age or sexuality. It ‘s a microcosm of how a world of respect and love can look like. The best part of it is was to see people of all backgrounds come together for the love of the music. One love!
For more photos from Afropunk and more, check out my page on Instagram @msdocumentaree.