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AFRO-PUNK: THIS IS US! WE COME AS WE ARE. WE ARE FREE. WE RESIST.

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Afropunk Music Festival was founded in 2005 Brooklyn, New York. Alexandra Palace hosted the first UK edition of Afropunk which has grown into a major cultural event celebrating black artists in punk and alternative music cultures. A socially responsible business, a platform and a vehicle that supports other Black-owned businesses globally, through their Spin Thrift festival markets they support 250 Black-owned craft markets/vendors, 120 Black-owned restaurants, and food truck owners annually.

 

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One of its distinction from other festivals is its focus on activism. Afropunk has garnered attention from many media outlets, specifically the fashion industry looking for street style inspiration. At Afropunk, there is an important distinction between fashion and style. Style is individual, it is self-reliant, and while fashion norms and trends, it often thrives by operating outside of that bubble. Afropunk is not a place where full Versace dress, Gucci handbags or Balenciaga shoes will be worn. Many attendees create their own outfits, merging together thrifted acid wash jackets decorated with hand-painted designs, West African prints passed down from family members, and jewelry collected from street artisans in Harlem.

 

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Afropunk is an identity which has managed in the past 13 years to curate a safe environment. It’s a homage to solidarity, ownership and representation-undeniably celebrating Blackness, Black Joy and Black Liberation. With this year theme as The People Resist” the objective was to once again create a space for Black people of all backgrounds to express their individuality while enjoying live rock, R&B, and hip-hop performances. The annual gathering is comprised of two days of concerts and vendor markets. Now one of the largest Black alternative music festivals in the world, Afropunk also exists in Atlanta, Paris, and Johannesburg. 

The Nova Twins. Photograph by Dee Williams

 The Nova Twins hail from South London and have performed at Afropunk Paris and London. Their DIY punk aesthetic is a reflection of their music; they’re unmanaged, independent from a record label, and handle all of their music videos and bookings. Afropunk Brooklyn is the band’s first show in America, and they said it was meant to be.

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