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Afropunk London: A Celebration Of Equality, Diversity And Freedom.

0 Editorials / Features / Music

We are just under one week away from one of the most anticipated art festivals of the year, Afropunk London. For those who have never heard of the inaugural Afropunk Festival, it is a celebration of diversity and equality that exemplifies the very ethos of the Afro-Punk genre. The annual arts festival began in 2005 and originated in Brooklyn, New York. Its overall purpose it to unify men and women from all walks of life under one common goal, to commemorate the achievements black men & women have made in music, art and film. Originally co-founded by Matthew Morgan and James Spooner, the festival sought to build a community amongst a predominantly Caucasian punk culture and more importantly influence a generation that has been rather inclusive within the punk genre.

The inspiration behind Afropunk stemmed from a documentary released in 2003. James Spooner debuted a 66-minute film, titled Afro-Punk, exploring the lives of blacks within a white punk subculture. After examining the world of punk and noticing the lack of colour present within the community, he began to question what it means to be a black artist within a predominantly white music world, a question that is still being asked 14 years later. The festival made its first appearance on the windy shores of England in September 2016.

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The festival is taking place at a rather integral time in black culture. It highlights the incredible feats that have been made thus far, as well as makes a statement that no matter how those of colour have been treated, we will not let such circumstances hinder us from producing the finest art. This further highlights the importance of Afropunk. In a time where black people still face persecution and continue to fight for equality, the festival is a joyous occasion for black creatives who may feel like they don’t have a voice that can be heard in the industry.

Now of course there are countless major music events that are quite rightly inclusive of black performers, but Afropunk is the first of its kind to be purpose built for artists of colour. It places black culture on a pedestal and puts the spotlight on amazing artists that are a part of the punk genre. The festival is also a safe haven for black punks to express themselves freely without judgement. Certainly in 2017, the common misconception is that you have to be something you are not, simply for the sake of pleasing others, however, this is the very opposite of what the festival promotes and proves that Afropunk is built on a countercultural mentality. Just as Spooner did in 2013 with his 66-minute documentary by challenging the status quo and highlighting the grave error of racial inclusion, Afropunk has continued in the same vein, by illustrating the beauty of black art in a genre that has not previously embraced black culture.

The festival chooses to embrace the full spectrum of black culture and not just the commercialised aspect known to the majority. Afropunk illuminates great artistry that previously has not had a platform where it could be showcased. Over the past decade black people in London have become much more confident in their abilities, and Afropunk has chosen the right time to capitalise on this new found confidence. The surge in black creatives coming to foray has been remarkable, with black people more than ever embracing their gifts, culture and heritage. Afropunk is built on this very foundation and is the very essence of the festival.

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With huge headliners such as The Internet, JME, Thundercat, NAO, Kojey Radical and Nadia Rose set to grace the stage, Afropunk is primed to be a euphoria of musical excellence.

Afropunk Festival is set to take place on Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd of July.

Purchase Tickets Here

Words by Daniel

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