Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Afropunk fe$tival in Brooklyn

Rocking her Public Enemy t-shirt, Lillian knocked over four other girls scrambling to grab the feather accessory tossed off the stage by the performing artist.

The black feather was tattered and torn. Wet from sweat. But Lillian didn't care. And neither did the hundreds of other onlookers sandwiched towards the front of the stage trying to get a better look at one of the most recognized black poets and rising afropunk $tars in 2009-- Saul Williams.

Saul ran out on stage of this years Afropunk festival in Brooklyn this Sunday, jazzed in a tailored red sports coat and a headband tricked out with feathers. His sound. Rock. Electric. Rap. Soul. All blended by a beat boy d.j. and electric guitarist. Onlookers
walking around the BAM parking lot couldn't help but stop dead in their tracks by the site.

Traditionally reserved for parking for the indie film junkies that frequent BAM, this weekend, the parking lot transitioned into a grundge meets afro centric genre playground. Right on the corner of Lafayette and Flatbush Ave., hundreds: literally: of predominantly black "punks" united to recognize the growing trend of blacks living an alternative lifestyle. Noted as "Afropunk," the annual festival held in July was the perfect opportunity for black skaters, graffiti artists, BMX bikers, tattoo artists, comic book nerds, and rock musicians to come together under one circuit.

Not only did Saul leave the crowd begging for him to spit his poetry, but Janelle Monae funked out tunes from her 2008 album Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase. **Yes, she sported her recognizable funky fro-boop-hawk.** And if you haven't seen an all black mosh-pit or crowd surf, you have not experienced life.
It must be noted that the hairstyles and clothing attire worn by afro-punk viewers and participants were true to the afro-punk theme. From mo-hawk locks, afro twisties, perm ponytails, ceaser waves, razor cuts sported by chicks, to carefully crafted traditional locks sweeping the floor complimented with lip rings, tatts, and studded belts-- looking above the crowd was like looking at a sea of black panther revolutionaries with piercings and skateboards saying, "I don't give a fuck about what you think of me, here I am."

Across the street at the BAM theater, alternative black movies played -$11.00 a pop (probably the most expensive part of the weekend), including – A Man Named Pearl, Fred Hampton interviews, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, and Attica. And in honor of the beloved Spike Lee, on Sunday BAM played his films, including School Daze, A Huey P. Newton Story, and Get on the Bus.

Earlier in the weekend, the afro punk skate park was open (for free) for bikers and skate boarders to flaunt their skills. Graffiti artists came out with their paint brushes, i.e. spray cans to tag a collective mural lining the parking lot venue. A $500 cash prize was even awarded to top skaters and bikers with the best moves on Saturday.

And the event is big. Check it-- Top dollar vendors such as Mtn. Dew, Nike, Zoo York, and Guitar Center all promoted the event.

If you missed out on the weekend event, no worries, this Sunday there is a afro-punk block party on Clifton Avenue between Myrtle and Willoughby. It won't be your typical block party either. The crowd speaks for itself.

Hope to see you there.

Peace, blessings, and above all, love.

W.$ummer Boyd


  1. The festival was dope. Can't wait to see your pictures.

  2. "Check it..." :) fab line. keep it real whit sum. attraction 4 life. be easy

  3. thanks, love. what did you think about the festival?

  4. fantastic pics... and im so mad i missed Saul. :(

  5. Hey Lovely,

    where are the pics mang?