Since 2005, AfroPunk has created a space for indie-punk artists and people of color to come together to celebrate music, culture, style, and most importantly one another. As the year’s progressed, spirit of AfroPunk have changed as the festival ha scaled to a new audience. A festival that was once free, and donation-based, now charges, like most other festivals, and is bringing in more larger name acts. Our first experience of Afropunk was in 2012, when both Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae headlined the festival. The festival also included rising indie artists Phony Ppl, Gym Class Heroes, Toro Y Moi, Tv On the Radio, Alice Smith, Flatbush Zombies, and many more. Since 2012, AfroPunk has expanded its reach; hosting the festival in Paris, Johannesburg, London, and Atlanta.
The feeling and essence of AfroPunk that was felt in 2012, re-emerged at this year’s AfroPunk Atlanta: Carnival of Consciousness. This year’s lineup included N.E.R.D, which is one of our all-time favorite groups, The Internet, Noname, Joi, Serpentwithfeet, Watch The Duck, Kari Faux, Fuck U Pay Us, The Txlips, Rico Nasty, VanJess, and many more. From the first lineup, and the influx of black indie punk artist, we knew Atlanta’s AfroPunk festival was one not to be missed.
Over the two-day festival, we not only experienced the music, but what self-expression meant for the people in Atlanta. Living in Brooklyn, the AfroPunk experience here is starkly different. For starters, everyone in VIP in Atlanta, as there is general admission only, and all are welcome and have access to all parts of the festival. The experience also tried its best to not have overlapping sets; on Sunday, there were a few delays. Unlike most festivals, you did not have to choose between two of your favorite bands, as the schedule for AfroPunk Atlanta allowed you to see all you wanted to see.
One of the most electrifying experiences of the festival was watching experimental hip-hop band, Death Grips, perform. The energy transferred back and forth from band to the audience. A sea of people of color moshing, being free, raging, and expressive themselves lit the atmosphere. We left AfroPunk Atlanta with a renewed spirit of the festival. Artists of color performing various genres of music, festival-goers coming from all over to see Black Punk music truly captured the spirit of what we felt in 2012 at AfroPunk Brooklyn.