I Went to Afropunk for the First Time and This is What I Thought
I went to Afropunk for the first time on August 25th and 26th, 2018. It was held in Brooklyn, NY; and as I expected, the vendors were great and the food was amazing. I was excited and felt truly lucky to be a part of a celebration; of this particular genre of blackness. And now having been to Afropunk, the mystique of the black experience has only grown for me.
Sitting on a blanket in a field overlooking a sea of people of color was just breathtaking. There were also allies of the black experience in the audience; Asian Americans, Caucasians and others, whom just seamlessly fit in. There was an overwhelming feeling of acceptance regardless of gender, body size, ethnicity, style, or even the stories that each outfit represented. No matter who you were, it felt like you were among your own. Afropunk states, “We do not police black bodies.” And I must say, within the festival, I do not remember hearing one argument; I didn’t see one fight; and I don’t even remember seeing any police officers. I’ve never been to a music festival quite like this.
Although, I loved the festival’s atmosphere; my pull has always been the music. Whenever I go to a concert or festival, my opinion of it is 80% based on the music. Was it worth the outfits, the money on food, swag, and hotel fee’s? My question is always, “but how was the music?” And I must say, Afropunk delivered! I was stunned into silence by the range, the vibes and stories of the artists. Artists, such as Jacob Banks, performed in south African’s Afropunk and then came all the way to little ole Brooklyn to sing to me; at least that’s how it felt. It would be impossible to describe the voice that came out of this man. Lol, but I am going to try. When Jacob Banks performs, first it sounds like he is about to sing the blues, and then he seamlessly flows into a Baptist preacher with an amazing gift of the funk. I stood up from my comfy blanket, I was just in awe of how he sang each song; revealing the raw unadulterated emotions that each song evoked in him. Let’s just say, I’m now a fan!
There was also a “Black Women of Rock” tribute, which included over six bands. The Black Women of Rock were in a word, “DOPE,” like yes!!! And there is no way I could forget the DJ’s who performed on different stages. Lol, Pusha-T was wildin’ on stage! But I must say, the highlight for me was Ms. Eryka Badu; I had never heard her live before and it was indeed an experience. She is soul; she is divine blackness; her voice is poetry. She sang, and you felt every word. She also took the time to talked to the audience about love, self-acceptance, and the journey to self. It was beautiful to experience, to witness a legend that was so wise and humble.
The cherry on top was the duet with Ms. Eryka Badu and Ms. Janelle Monae! They seemed like sisters, best friends, mother and daughter. But what they really are; are black women walking in their greatness without the need to compete but to grow and learn from each another. Let’s just say, I needed that! I hope to attend Afropunk in Paris in 2020, ya’ll pray for me… I need another dose; I’m addicted.