Welcome to AfroPunkFEST 2012
The smell of freshly cut grass, food truck delicacies and illegalized smoke filled the Brooklyn Park air for the duration of this past weekend. This year marked the 8th Annual AFROPUNK Festival, held this year in Commodore Park near the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, NY.
Commodore Park, Brooklyn, New York
Now some of you may not know what an “AfroPunk” is, so let me get you caught up. On the website, www.AfroPunk.com, part of their description reads as a “touchstone of a cultural movement strongly reminiscent of the early days of Hip-Hop.” But, even that description does not fully incorporate the embodiment of the “melting-pot culture”. A rising culture that combines skateboarding and underground music. A culture that combines independent films and art with spontaneous representations of individual style and thought. Sprinkle in some Afrocentric awareness and you’ve created “AfroPunk”. The most notable influence on the culture is actually the people themselves. The AfroPunk culture has a “grass-roots” appeal and is not sponsored by big corporations, but the fans themselves.
Even Solange came out to enjoy the festival…
So now to the Festival, where do I begin? BMX showcases, numerous food trucks, varying musical talent that is sure to entertain someone in the audience. Should I talk about the open picnic blankets covered in beautiful women and happy conversation? Maybe I’ll speak on the diversity & inclusion of different races, classes and genders that supported and enjoyed the event with safety not seemingly being an issue.
I’ll jump straight to discussing the artist lineup.
(Keep in mind, there were two stages for a two day festival…. the number of artists = >>>>>>>>)
On one stage:
RADKEY, THE SKINS, JOE JORDON EXPERIMENT, SINKANE, TOSHI REAGON, ALICE SMITH, PURPLE FERDINAND, THE MEMORIALS, and last but not the least, ERYKAH BADU f. THE CANNABINOIDS.
On another stage:
NINJASONIK, OXYMORRONS, CEREBRAL BALLZY, SPANK ROCK, and of course DAS RACIST.
All the performances were a hit and entertaining. I will say, that my favorite two were from Das Racist and my analog girl from a digital world Erykah and her band the Cannabinoids.
Das Racist is a group my older brother actually put me up on (@nizz_sentine). Das Racist is a hip-hop group based in Queens, New York City, composed of MCs Himanshu Suri (aka Heems) and Victor Vazquez (aka Kool A.D.) and hype man Ashok Kondabolu (aka Dapwell). This group not only uses humor but also adds academic references in their lyrics. Two of the members are of Indian descent and the other is of Afro-Cuban & Italian descent…(an interesting twist in the rap genre itself). Whatever their race and cultures are, they must have found the perfect ingredients it takes to create the pieces they performed so well. The audience couldn’t get enough of the group and their verbal obscenities, and it was just what the park needed before the R&B hummingbird sounds of Ms. Badu and her band The Cannabinoids…
Erykah Badu & The Cannabinoids
E. Badu, Low Down Loretta Brown, Analog Girl in a digital world, Ms. Fat Booty herself performed the last set during the first night of the festival. I’ll admit, it took a little while for her and the band to get on stage, but for a free show there was no room for complaining. Performing for about a half hour, E. Badu and the Cannabinoids played through the timeline of Badu’s career. Songs like “Apple tree”, “Didn’t cha know” and “Danger” evolved from her opening act “The Healer” which is on her album “New America Part 1”. When describing Erykah, I love to refer to her as “My Favorite Hoodrat” and it has no negative connotation to it at all. Erykah expresses herself the best she knows, straight to the point, in your face and in your ears. And please let us not forget the band, the cannabinoids. That band is made up of Erykah’s producers over the years mainly from Dallas. Not only has she been inspired and created beautiful pieces over the production of the band, but she also decided to put them all together into a group that just happened to work better than most bands I know today.
After only attending Day 1 of AfroPunk, I know that day two couldn’t have been any better.
I will say, AfroPunk pulled off a very successful festival and not only impressed their fans, but also created new fans from the word-of-mouth communications of the event. My one fear for this event would be that it turns into what “Rock The Bells” seems to be slowly turning into…. A mainstream event that people only attend to say they were there. I just want people to start recognizing the beauty in difference the world has to offer, and I believe AfroPunk Successfully did that this weekend.
Dwele’s Album Release Party~~~Look Out for that!
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