Sunday, December 6, 2009

Afro-punk U.S. Tour

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 I recently had the pleasure of touring with Afro-punk on their first U.S. music tour. My job- yes, job,- was to document the experience of all of the bands with interviews, photographs, and publicity of the black rock experience. It was tiring, none the less, but an adventure I will never forget. All of my work can be found on www.afropunk.com, including the city-by-city tour diary of each day while on tour. This month, I will feature my favorite photos taken while hanging out with some of my new favorite artists, like Krak Attack, Earl Greyhound, and the American Fangs, along with an old time fav, Saul Williams. Enjoy my pictures this month and I hope to hear from you soon.

-afro$punkY


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brooklyn rollerblader killed in shooting

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He wanted to go pro.

But at 18-years-old, dreams of ripping down ramps on his rollerblades came to an early end for Brian Scott Jr., when he was shot and killed on Park Side Avenue Tuesday night.







Police say that Brian, a well known black rollerblader in Brooklyn, NY, had no affiliation with the gun fire that hit him twice in the chest and his friends in the arm. At the time of the shooting, Brian was sitting in a bodega, eating and enjoying his youth with his friends.

There is no word yet on the gun man, but a surveillance camera recorded the scene.

Many condolences to Brian's family from Afro$punky and the Afro-punk community.

-a$


Black Stacy - Saul Williams

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harry's $till hitting it hard

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Celebrating 30 years of spinning tunes in New York's hottest spots, DJ Hard Hittin Harry proves that even in his 40s he's still the party's most important guest.

By Afro$punKy

In a city that ditches more DJs faster than it can sell an I Love NY t-shirt, DJ Hard Hittin Harry has a lot to celebrate.

On Saturday night Harry splashes Sky Vodka in the glass of friend and fellow NYC promoter, Trina Sunshine, at Deity Lounge-- right after blowing out the candles on the vanilla iced birthday cake for his 43rd birthday.

His cake says, "Happy Earth, Strong DJ Hard Hittin Harry" with two musical notes dressed on the side. He says he has tried to shake the Hard Hittin Harry name several times, but it has stuck. He acquired the name in the 80s when Chicago House music was big and many of the DJs had three-part names such as “Farley Jack Master Funk.”

"My friends used to say I go hard at parties," he says. "And it kind of stuck."


Harry with NYC model and actress, Khayriyyah Muhammad


Harry's finished birthday cake

He smiles warmly at everyone. A tiny labret piercing accents his chin and has a subtle resonance of a time when the labret was once reserved for male members of the higher castes in Mayan ancient civilizations. His neatly combed salt and peppered beard hangs four inches down from his grinning chin. Haiti-born, Harry is a Brooklyn resident by way of Canada and New Jersey.


Dressed in an orange ti e-dyed t-shirt and a black hat perched on his head, Sunday night was day two of his month long birthday celebration. He has a weekly DJ'ing gig at Deity Lounge-- along with a weekly gig at one of NY's hottest clubs in the Meatpacking district, Hotel Gansevoort, along with DJing events for Adidas/ Heritage, Sketchers, Diesel USA, and Nike Town.

He has DJ'ed at several Afro-Punk functions, including this year's block party along with several days at last year's festival. (Did I mention he also has his own weekly online radio show called "Global Jam Session" at axiomonline.tv.

Instead of being glued to his usual post this Sunday night, Harry casually broke away from the DJ booth to mingle with the large crowd that gathered to celebrate not only his birthday, but the marking of his 30th year in the DJ'ing arena.


Harry with friends and business partners

Harry, who says he plays for the crowd, not for himself (although he admits he gets personal satisfaction of playing 80s hiphop tunes), has DJ'ed at more parties across the country over the last 30 years that he's lost count. He does remember one of the first tracks he ever spun, The Sugarhill Gang's, Rapper's Delight, and he placed it as the first song on his 30th anniversary compilation c.d. that he passed out for free on Sunday night. The c.d. takes a journey on his career, serving as a musical timeline over the last three decades.

Saturday night he started his celebration by throwing a birthday bash at the grand opening of Littlefield, a new performing arts center in Brooklyn. That night Harry was presented with a plaque from hiphop pioneer, DJ Kool Herc, transcribed with "in honor of 30 years of keeping the masses dancing through the decades."

"I was like, wow, man," Harry recounts of Saturday night. "I look up to DJ Kool Herc, he's a legend."

But meeting with DJ Kool Herc was not his first encounter with a musical legend. Harry's career took off in 1993 when he was hired as the resident DJ for the Fugees and toured with them, with their debut album project, “Blunted on Reality.” After the tour, his career took several turns, including starting his own PR company called Meridian Entertainment where over the past decade, his company has represented numerous record labels, artists, producers, actors, special events, clothing lines, and the beauty industry. But he never stopped DJ'ing.

Along with his weekly gigs, Harry recently shot a pilot for an upcoming DJ reality show tentatively called "Rock Star DJ." Right now he's listening to Jay-Z's new album, The Blueprint 3, and considers himself a mush of music tastes.

"I like it all," he says, "the reggae, the rock, the pop, the hiphop, all of it."

And when asked if he thinks he fits the afro-punk mold, he says "yes."

"I definitely don't fit that corporate mold," Harry says with a faint laugh. "I've learned in my life, if I want something done, I'll just do it myself."




Dancin Til Dawn - Lenny Kravitz

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Afro-Punk i$ coming to a ciTy near yoU.

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If
you googled the word afropunk in the google news tab last Sunday night, a couple of news links would come pop up, all linking the movement to the New York based summer Afropunk Festival. The stories would use terms as "new-age underground black punk kids" or "cutesy rocker black kids with skateboards gathering in New York's BAM parking lot."

Type afropunk in the news tab today.

Ohio's daily online paper, The Akron Journal, pops up with the word "Afro Punk."

Minneapolis's daily online paper, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, pops up with "Afro-punk."

Plug In Music lists :

Toronto
Chicago
Atlanta
San Francisco
Orlando
Los Angeles

along with 13 other U.S. cities that Afro-punk will tour kicking off October 21st at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza during the CMJ Festival. According to the Afro-punk website, their first U.S. tour will be headlined by top artist/song/poet/ and social activists Saul Williams's "The Niggy Tardust Experience" and a explosion of other artists (including The Activators) to 20 cities in the US and Canada October 21st-November 17th 2009.






A better detail what the tour promises will soon come to this blog. But for sure, according to AP spokespeople, the tour should be a night of surprises: shock and awe. The New York AP festival, but on the road.

Schedule:

October 21: New York City @ The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza (CMJ Festival)
October 22: Cleveland, OH @ Cambridge Room at The House of Blues
October 23: Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
October 25: Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
October 26: Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
October 27: Chicago, IL @ Double Door
October 30: Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of the Living Arts
October 31: Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
November 1: Washington, DC @ Black Cat
November 4: Atlanta, GA @ The Loft
November 5: Orlando, FL @ The Social
November 6: New Orleans @ House of Blues
November 8: Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
November 10: San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
November 12: San Diego, CA @ Delta Room/House of Blues
November 13: Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
November 15: Portland, OR @ The Aladdin Theater
November 16: Seattle, WA @ Neumos
November 17: Vancouver, BC (details coming soon)





Dirty Water - k-os

Friday, September 18, 2009

New York Fashion Week- afro punk fashion hits the street$

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Punk rock and grudge hit the runway this week for 2009's New York Fashion Week. Feeling the financial falls in the fashion industry, designers, including Donna Karan and LAMB, have tailored their looks to present pieces that will stand the length of time and work for any season.























The Mercedez-Benz semi-annual fashion week, which kicked off last Wednesday and ended this Thursday, featured more than 60 designers and will be followed by fashion weeks in London, Milan and Paris. Although the afro punk scene did not have their own line of clothing strutting down the runway, the streets of Brooklyn serve as the perfect platform for creativity. And in ode to fashion week, Afrospunky has assembled some of the top looks for Spring 2010, afro punk edition, complements to the models walking around New York.


Afrospunky's list of favorite trends:

(click on the picture for a larger view)


1. Aviator clear frames and braces. There is something endearing about large 80s frames and the youthful look of braces. Similar frames can be found at American Apparel or random shops in Chinatown. Braces, ask your dentist. It's a pricey trend, but way cooler than the outdated grills.






















2. BMX skate t-shirts, even if you don't skate are cool. Black leather jackets will never go out of style. Jazz it with angry message buttons, and the jacket can stand the test of time-- depending on the war, president, or current genocide. Black skully hats are also grudge posh and are a staple to any afro punk closet.


3. Afro's will be stylish as long as people can grow them. Celebrities such as Solange are ditching their perms and weaves for a more natural look. Vintage scarves are the perfect accent for color and sophistication.





















4. If I could afford permanent groupies in my crew, I would do it in a heart beat. Groupies make you look wanted, cool, and mysterious. Works every time. Deep v's are very Euro, and look great on men and women.






















5. Grudge facial hair is free to grow and also gives character. The color cruiser is a perfect spring accessory, for the simple fact that you can use it instead of the train and it can match your outfits. Chucks, only dirty, should be worn as often and as much as possible. This is important so they can become more dirty and look even cooler.





















6. Mohawks are everywhere. The trick with keeping mohawks unique is not on the hair side. It's on the side that is missing hair. Cool designs with political statements are a must shave in this spring complemented with unnatural hair colors. Bob Marley anything. Enough said.























7. Better than any jacket, hat, or shoes you can find in a thrift store, having a crew of boarders, especially female, is heavy and a must have for the spring wardrobe. Skate shoes are smart and safe for quick breaks with the foot. Fancy necklaces with torn jeans and vintage t's are also a must have.





















8. Dressing in gothic chic is always appropriate for a night out on the town. Proving ultimate grundge, not wearing a shirt or pants is the best way to prove your thrifty nature.




















9. Yes, this is Monsta Black. A true model of afro punk culture. Dressing how you feel in the morning, no matter how crazy people in the streets may look at you. Putting on clothes should be fun and functional. In this economy, don't stress out on designer labels that will mean nothing to you 15 years from now. Mix it up with thrift and trade unwanted clothes with friends. It's all about loving yourself and letting your clothes represent the color inside your soul.



Convict Colony - Saul Williams

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ditching the book$ for her board -- this chick is now in talk$ with MTV

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Right now, she says her life is pretty dope. At 23, Nathalie Herring (pronounced like the fish), is one the few professional female long boarders in New York and was recently signed with Bustin Boards custom longboards to promote their gear.

After graduating from high school, Herring left her home in Laurelton, Queens and moved to Miami, Florida to attend Barry University. But it only took a year away from the New York bustle before this eclectic rocker chick (she is currently jamming on her iPod to Silversun Pickups along with Santogold) felt bored and stifled from the slower Miami lifestyle.

"I was studying biology. Shit closed down around campus at ten at night. Every minute I was in class, I felt like I should be doing something else. Anything else. You can only go to the beach so many times before it gets old. I knew I had to come back to the city," she says.

But the campus life wasn't a complete waste. It was at Barry University where she saw her first longboard. Once she saw a guy glide pass her so groovy on his way to class, she says, she knew she was buying one as soon as she got home.

Wait, wait, wait....











According to the most trusted site on the web, wikipedia.... a longboard is a longer version of a skateboard commonly used for cruising, downhill racing, or skateboard tricks. Compared to a traditional skateboard, it's harder to do tricks on a longboard, like an ollie or kickflip, but because they are wider, heavier, and lower to the ground, longboards are easier to maneuver and provide more momentum.




thanks afrospunky for the info, now back to how Ms. Herring is rocking her board...

Herring bought her first board for $150 in 2005 while she was interning with The Source magazine. Her first board was a Sector 9, the most commonly bought longboards for first time longboarders because of their affordability.
Like many parents, Herring's mom and dad thought she was trying to kill herself by dashing away on the little piece of equipment strapped with wheels and no brakes, but she didn't care. Every single day Herring went out, often times taking the train to Central Park, to practice her moves.

Eventually, Herring says she started to get good. Really good. But after three years of training herself, she still didn't see any female longboarders around the city. Especially not black female long boarders.
"For a while, I thought I was the only one in New York," she says. "People used to just stare at me when I would skate by them."

















Herrings solitude skate days came to an end this past May, when she ran into a fellow city longboarder, Solomon, who happened to be team captain of Bustin Boards longboarding crew. Solomon introduced Herring to a crew of other longboarders in the city, including three other girls. Their skill level blew Herring away, and from then on, she knew that she could pursue longboarding as a sport.

"These guys were going 20 to 30 mph in the city streets as a mode of transportation," she says. "I had to practice for months to keep up with them."
The momentum to keep skating pushed forward, when Herring was asked by crew members of overboard.com to work on a potential MTV series about a group of longboarders going across country promoting the sport while doing community service. Traveling in a veggie-fueled school bus across the U.S., the show will follow several longboarders skating through different cities while teaching how energy efficient longboarding is compared to driving. The series is now in talks with Converse and Diesel to sponsor the project.


Herring will soon be featured in TRACE Magazine and Concrete Wave magazine for her envolvement in the longboarding NYC community and constantly encourages other females not to shy away from getting into longboarding. She is currently training for the Broadway Bomb, a 10 mile city wide longboarding race in October that runs from Broadway and ends at the Bowl on Wall Street.
Her favorite part of skating, aside from cruising down 42nd street at night as the bright lights zip past her, is talking to little black girls that stop her while she's skating and ask her questions.
"The people who stop me the most are 7-year-old black girls," Herring says. "I want to be the role model for them to say, you don't have to be that girl with the attitude. You don't have to live that structured life if it doesn't suit what you feel is natural to you."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

getting $mashed.

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Collaborating with Bronx Underground, last night Afropunk had their monthly Epic Smash concert series and dance party at The Studio @ Webster Hall on 11th street.
The earlier portion of the event started with an all ages dance party rocking powerpop, indie, electro, and techno featuring DJ Tim, DJ Rambunctious, Redlight Dystrict, Blast rocks midtown, and DJ Mike. DJ WAZU held down the late show, starting at 9:30 featuring performances by two noted afropunk groups, The Juggs and Activator.

Old school and newbie rockers filled the studio-- mobbing and boozing of course, including legendary rock star, Moby, along with New York's finest rising afropunk stars and faces. If you missed this month's party, join afropunk and Bronx Underground at the end of every month to get epically $mashed while jamming to good live music at Webster Hall. Check back on this blog every Monday for dates, location, and artists scheduled to perform.

The Studio @ Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, New York, New York 10003



Activator, visit their page on Afropunk at: http://www.afropunk.com/profile/activator

shannon - vocals jared - guitar cavass - bass jimmy - drums






Activator lead vocalist, Shannon, drinking a brew on stage while performing


onlooker saluting Activator as they got on stage




The Juggs, guitarists, bass, and drums
Kareem Bunton(vocals, guitar), Marcus Farrar(drums), Torbitt Schwartz(guitar), Tada Hirano(bass), Danny Chavis(additional guitar,bass), Case Newcomb(lead guitar)
visit their Afropunk page at: http://www.afropunk.com/profile/TheJuggs

The Juggs vocalist, Kareem




onlooker and local $kater chick, Cherry




$ound production at Webster Hall




Kareem (The Juggs) on vocals and guitar