AFROPUNK

... the other Black experience

There are the purists who say TO HELL with new music and it's Bad Brains or death! (I mean "death" as in "kill me now", but I guess they'd say the same about DEATH, the 70s punk legends out of Detroit). Then there are those whose daily breath is to discover new music from all walks and all genres. Both music lifestyles are AFROPUNK. Since 2005, The AFROPUNK FEST  has always strived to bring you a weekend of fun, music and most importantly, community. Because the most important part of punk isn't guitar riffs, it's a mass collective belief that "we ARE and will always be" (stick it to the man etc blah blah et al) 
 
 
By: Alexandria Gamlin, AFROPUNK Content Editor
 

We've heard it since AFROPUNK the film was released in 2003-- ALL PUNK! All the time! That was never the intention. AFROPUNK is a mindset (arguably best represented among punks, but now we're defining "what a punk is" which isn't our intention either). The whole AFROPUNK platform is about being accepted and uplifted no matter what your motivation. As people of color, the expectation for us as people in general is narrow. We eat these kinds of foods, we listen to this style of music, we look a particular kind of way, and only understand a few different things about the world. We say HELL NO. Our mindset as afropunks is to defy these labels put on us and to define our individual selves. That's the common thread that connects our community.

In the following weeks since the festival we've heard multiple complaints and pouts from afropunks, old and new, that there wasn't enough punk music at AFROPUNK fest. "What's with all the hip-hop?" "Electro isn't punk" and even the rock didn't rock hard enough for some. While the overwhelming majority of festival goers continue to rave and thank us for the free festival of music, food, local shops, and ogling-of-motorcycles, we felt that it was important to address the naysayers about who we are and what we stand for:

AFROPUNK isn't a punk music festival: We LOVE punk music! But it's ok if we like hip-hop too. We dig folk, blues and rockabilly too. Our name AFROPUNK was born from the film, that examined the lives of black outsiders in the predominately white punk scene. There are black hippies and indies who feel the exact same way these punks did in their respective "scenes". If a hip-hop kid went to a Coldplay show dressed like he normally does, he or she would get the exact same stares from people who feel like "their scene" is being compromised by something they don't recognize. We don't like that, and that's what afropunk is. Our festival is about bringing together like-MINDS, not "like-iPods".

AFROPUNK supports art: Art in general. This is when we tend to lose many of the single-genre purists. But the mindset of an afropunk is about fascination in whatever you like, and a boldness to reject our "place" in a scene, especially if that "place" isn't necessarily where we "belong". So if you're out there figuring out a new sound and it's sounding pretty dope, we'll support it. If you're blending genres and learning xylophone, we support you. Punk culture is about a collective mindset, but punks (historically) are a pretty excluding bunch. We're not punks like that, we're AFROPUNKS and we're not gonna call you a "pissah" because you want to fool around with a synth (we love synth).
AFROPUNK will always support your weirdness: When we hear negative rhetoric, we instinctively take a step back to see what is that we can adjust to get everyone on the same page. But in some matters, we know we have to stick behind our core values, which we know an even larger majority of you appreciate. The bands we work with at AFROPUNK come from a myriad of towns, experiences and sounds. Through our platform, we support bands who may not have a shot in their own towns. Major music labels aside, most of Johnny America barely knows how to respond to alternative/punk music IN GENERAL, let alone a person of color singing it. We have the audience, you want to hear it, so we expose their art. It's a responsibility to the community we've built-- to say to our audience and our bands "yoooo, this is dope." It's our daily work, which we've made our life's work and an obligation to which we joyfully oblige. 
 
AFROPUNK has grown up: Think of yourself 10 years ago. You probably thought a lot of things that you now know to be wrong. You probably had a lot of friends that you may not recognize anymore. Your hair, clothes, job and attitude are probably all different and that's the way love goes-- and SHOULD go. Our roots are humble; an indie film that was made out of the necessity to tell the story of 4 people that represented millions around the world. It sparked a movement of expression and freedom across race, gender and genres. With the initial boom of the films success, our responsibility changed. We became a forum, and then turned into the platform you see today. We you use your voice, you can often become THE voice, but we never claim to speak for everyone. I guess we just all tend to think alike, for the most part. With the responsibility of a platform comes influence. When you have influence you can make change. This is why other influential brands like Nike, Vitaminwater, Converse, KIND snacks and many others want to be apart of what WE'RE doing. When they say what do you want to be when you grow up, we said change the world-- and that's exactly what we're still striving to do.
 

AFROPUNK will always love you: When you're an outsider and you're finally accepted it feels awesome. To be understood from people who look like you is like a warm peace that confirms you're not crazy, you're just yourself. If someone feels like that feeling is jeopardized, we understand that it's a natural reaction to lash out. "Don't take away what you gave to me" is the general feeling we understand when we read your comments on facebook and our message boards. We want you to know that even though we've grown and added to our platform, we haven't taken away the punk. We want you all to grow with us and see the potential that we see in our communities. We're going to continue to support bands doing weird things, and highlight weird/cool stuff happening in alternative communities around the world. If you're looking for us to stay stagnate on a single genre, with a single idea--we will disappoint you. But we'll still love you and count you as one of our own.

So just in case you thought we'd lost our way, we want to assure you we're on the right track. And if you're ticked we took the PUNK out of afropunk, we'd like to encourage you to widen your definition of punk AND pay closer attention to what we post:

The following are a selection of rock/punk/rock alternative bands we've covered just in 2012 (more rockin sh!t coming at you soon):

 

Views: 1895

Tags: afropunk, at, fest, no, punk

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Comment by AmaniHiME on September 21, 2012 at 6:35am

eh. I've already expressed my piece on the matter on tumblr and places, as far as the attendees that showed up. I personally loved it music-wise. In terms of feeling a sense of unique lifestyle from everyone though? Different story. Being dressed up in my own alt style, I didn't feel too comfortable around anyone at all-- and I'm used to being gawked at in public. I figured that this once-a-year event was going to showcase black alt/punk style both musically, fashion-wise and in a lifestyle kind of sense. I don't mind the whole afrocentric bohemian-type of crowd, nor the fact that there was a lot of other races in attendance but... I expected more. I guess I had my hopes too high about the type of people that would be turning out to the event?

I probably won't be back next year, at least not without Black Witch, along with a good music lineup and better vendors.

Comment by D.JMeasel on September 20, 2012 at 7:25pm
And your very cute by the way!
Comment by D.JMeasel on September 20, 2012 at 7:24pm
Bangeeism: poser come lately like wearin the mc5 five shirt not even knowing who they are.
Comment by SlutyShop on September 19, 2012 at 9:46am

What Bangeeism means?

Comment by D.JMeasel on September 19, 2012 at 8:50am
By the way I never see the "afropunks " @ shoes or the bars in NYC stop the Bangeeism
Comment by D.JMeasel on September 19, 2012 at 8:48am
Y es I do understand however there was hardly any punk yes I love hip hop to the bone and other music of course reggae but when you have a d.j playing that shit at the fest thats wack now some cuts were ok like m.o.p and others but he did not represent he played every curse version the nigger word with all those kids and grown folk out there, didnt hear any punk,hardcore,reggae, ska ,alt ,post punk, nothing relating to what I thought it would be mind you Im not new to this scene and all around I thought it was healthy but a alot of bangeeism for those who was around in the late 80s nyc house scene you know what that means.Next year get DJMeasel yeah me I will kill it but then again do you really want to hear some real shit ? make it rain trick....really?...............peace djmeasel
Comment by D.JMeasel on September 19, 2012 at 8:47am
Y es I do understand however there was hardly any punk yes I love hip hop to the bone and other music of course reggae but when you have a d.j playing that shit at the fest thats wack now some cuts were ok like m.o.p and others but he did not represent he played every curse version the nigger word with all those kids and grown folk out there, didnt hear any punk,hardcore,reggae, ska ,alt ,post punk, nothing relating to what I thought it would be mind you Im not new to this scene and all around I thought it was healthy but a alot of bangeeism for those who was around in the late 80s nyc house scene you know what that means.Next year get DJMeasel yeah me I will kill it but then again do you really want to hear some real shit ? make it rain trick....really?...............peace djmeasel
Comment by SlutyShop on September 18, 2012 at 7:36pm
Ok for the answer to my question. I m so tired of all that people trying to look like "punks" just because its hype! Fuck all of them! I m so tired of bitches wearing t shirts of bands they don't really like or know( Mc5 for example ) just because "c'est la mode". This why I really hate celebs like Rihanna....grrrr
And for the "purism" ,I never wanted to sound like that...its just because its so hard to find black people here in France, who loves rock n roll as like . So the day I discovered Afro punk i was sooooooooo happy and full of hope " whouaouh blacks who listen to the same music I listen to and which don't call me "traitor" or "bounty" " This is why I m always expecting for a lot of rock n roll here. But its ok for the other freaky styles : -D (like Dope d.o.d for ex: i luv them) ...allez je me tais maintenant....
Comment by AFROPUNK FEST '12 on September 18, 2012 at 3:09pm

exactly, kristen! if you're trying to do it.. you're doing it wrong

Comment by K-ten on September 18, 2012 at 2:21pm

Having the Afropunk "look/style" IMO is just a phase that Rihanna, Weezy and so many other celebs are doing nowadays. Yes, being Afropunk is always evolving, but it also doesn't TRY to be anything. I think they're trying too hard sometimes.


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