Afro Punk

Afro Punk

Arlethia Daniels, Staff Writer

Afro punk, a musical festival of culture and diversity, taking place for over 15 years celebrating African diversity in arts of all kinds. This festival began in Brooklyn, New York in 2005 highlighting black culture and influence in the rock and punk genre, luminating many different artists who supplied a talent from the norm. For many people this festival was the spark of new identities and interest among much of the youth, opening up variety to the public making many comfortable with their differences. 

The festival began after the film titled Afro Punk directed by James Spooner, that highlighted and tackled hard questions within the African American community when it came to the discriminant attitudes towards things outside of what was considered the norm and acceptable. The film highlighted four people who dedicated themselves to punk lifestyles, and struggled placing themselves among the prominence of whites in punk culture and african americans in their lack of the punk world along with their inexorable opinions and standings on foriegn communities. From the film many saw the effects that being an “odd ball” or having separate interests from that of an entire group has on people. This brought to light a change that needed to occur in order t o bring to light the issues that were discussed and to rectify where the community had fallen. The conclusion was drawn that there needed to be an outlet for those who indulged in subcultures to feel seen and secure, so from there James Spooner and Matthew Morgan set those concerns into a reality creating the first ever afro punk festival in 2005. The festival started out in Brooklyn on a much smaller scale, supported by Spooner, Morgan, and the The Brooklyn Academy of Music, which highlighted a few bands ranging from R&B genres to electronic and punk genres.

Though the crowd was small the impact was large being that the crowds amount to almost 70,000 attendees. The festival started out with only a few random bands found by Morgan and Spooner through their searches of headliners to now being headlined by some of the most influential subcultured artists ranging from Lauren Hill to Ice cube, today the festivals make sure to include many mainstream talents as well as upcoming artist to censure the one goal of the original festival, diversity. This year, Atlanta hosted the Afro Punk festival over the weekend of September 25 through the 26th, after the virtual festival in 2020 as a result of covid. This Year the Festival held headliners Sanjass, Yung baby Tate, Wale, Smino, Rico Nasty, Kp the great and friends, Tems, Foushee’, Serpentwithfeet, Tkay Maidza, Aminda, Liv.e, Hollow Sinatra, and Lesibu Grand. A great variety of artists for many fans of different genres and subcultures, including many upcoming artists such as Smino and Tems, two different sounds and approaches, both tackling the music world with great force. Afro Punk touches us all around influencing the different cliches and norms all around.