AFROPUNK came to London over the weekend. The festival has been running in New York since 2005, and had its second Paris festival earlier this year. The festival aims to bring forward underrepresented black musicians and give them a platform. Well known and established artists like SZA, Laura Mvula and headliner Grace Jones graced the stage alongside Eden Hagos, Cakes Da Killa and Ho99o9. MIA was previously announced as headliner of the festival, but was replaced with Jones over her controversial comments on the Black Lives Matter movement.
The festival has become an outlet to celebrate inclusivity, diversity and black music, arts and culture in all of forms, and uses the slogan ‘NO SEXISM NO RACISM NO ABLEISM NO AGEISM NO HOMOPHOBIA NO FATPHOBIA NO TRANSPHOBIA NO HATEFULNESS’. The festival aims to not only entertain, but also to educate attendees about political awareness and self-empowerment with the key ethos being respect, destroying stereotypes and celebrating individuality.
The Saturday event was extremely stylish, even compared to festivals like Coachella, or even London Fashion Week. In a world where being overtly black can sometimes be seen as abnormal, or in some cases threatening, Afropunk is a breath of fresh air. What the festival lacked in big name artists, placing a large emphasis on given newer artists a platform. However, the quality of the performances made this a non issue, with everyone having a great time.