Defined as “a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you…” The 2017 AFROPUNK Brooklyn Festival brought a culmination of African spirited, illustrious individuals and groups to a sprawling playground of self-love. Upholding an unspoken mantra, to love thy self and accept others as just the way that they are, spoke volumes to the masses that looked on with curiosity as majestic creatures gallivanted through the concrete courtyards adorning tribal body paint, sacred hair crowns, and vibrant authentic threads without any explanation. Sideglances were met with smiles and stares were broken by friendly waves, the 2-Day festival brought out the unwavering, the confident and the outspoken, the unapologetic, the unique.
Aside from the music headliners like Solange, Raphael Saadiq, Anderson Paak and SZA that took the stage each day, the festival clearly made a statement of its importance to fashion and culture. From political imprinted statements to unmasking the social norm, people came to be seen and heard. Authentic African-made tops were embellished, soft native leather handbags were carried, and bold headwear and accessories took center stage. Trends amongst the many were genuine leather footwear, standout socks, distinctively styled hair.
Controlling their own narrative, rebellious attendees came to share their creativity and authenticity with like-minded peers, shifting the fashion-heavy music platform to an all-out celebration of life. Some were subtle in their approach with sleek clean-cut ensembles and others were candidly vivid with lively panache. Coming together with the same mission in mind, to simply just be, AFROPUNK Brooklyn Festival embraced the awkward, different, and bespoke.
If this event had to be defined by anything, it would be a place of love. Lining the fields of Commodore Barry Park, a curated marketplace of life, love, and gratitude featured apothecary shops, wellness corners, and outfitted boutiques. All-ages were welcomed as family and friends joined in on the revelry, bringing a sense of support and veracity to the event. Seeing babies in authentic cloth and mini-me’s mirroring their parents… showed just how real individuality is. These were real people, bringing real lives into the world and living together unapologetically.
Annually this festival makes its way to Paris, London, and Brooklyn. Next stops are Atlanta in October and Johannesburg in December. If you’re looking for a place of love and where you can be unquestionably yourself, attend this collective of empowering dedication to rhythmic and rebellious self-love.