Music & Film

A Return To Afropunk

By the end of this beautiful day, the entire lawn in front of the Green Stage was packed with music fans of every stripe.

You may recall 2 years ago I spent a day out at Afropunk for the very first time. And although I'm not a big fan of crowds and can never attend a music festival for more than one day, I had a really good time and had hoped to make it back the following year in 2018. Unfortunately, life's shenanigans along with my wallet were not as cooperative at that time, so I had to wait another year to cross the threshold at Commodore Barry Park for this singular-style music and cultural event.

Yes, my experience was a bit different than it was 2 years ago, but Afropunk was no less an experience unlike any other. I may not have had a chance to see more of the punk rock acts I would have liked to see (most of them played on Sunday, and I attended on Saturday), I did manage to do a few things I didn't get a chance to do last time. For instance, I spent more time on Activism Row, visiting the booths committed to fighting for causes that touch our hearts and our lives. And for the first time, I made it over to Spinthrift Market to chat, visit and support the entrepreneurs who had set up shop to entice us with beautiful and culturally connected wares.

I arrived around 1:30pm on Saturday, August 24th, and the park wasn't as packed as it had been 2 years before at that time. I would learn later that many people had smartly decided to pace themselves and come later in the day because they had planned to attend the After Dark sessions at local clubs and hangouts when the festival ended at 10pm. Not a bad idea at all, but I wasn't about to miss hip hop artist Chika take the stage at 2:45pm. She was one of the biggest draws for me this year, and the first music act I had the pleasure to enjoy that day.

Now that I have fully recuperated from the festivities, I can finally share images and videos of my return to Afropunk. I apologize for the delay this time around. I also enjoyed a relaxing vacation following the festival, and then had to play catch-up at work in the post-holiday return to the grind.

But like last time, instead of detailing all the fun via large swathes of text, I'll show you what happened with photos and vids so you can see the fun with your own eyes.

Beautiful sister at AP 2019
I couldn't help but ask this beautiful sister to allow me to snap a photo of her for posterity.
Crowd for Chika at AP 2019
The audience gathered in close to see Chika perform on the Red Stage.
Earrings bought at AP 2019
Purchased these delightful earrings, then put them on and wore them for the rest of day. I will now wear them to channel the same vibe of that day.
Chika performs on the Red Stage.
Hip Hop artist Chika performs to an enthusiastic and entranced crowd on the Red Stage.
Activism Row at AP BK 2019
Activism Row at Afropunk was plenty busy and packed throughout the day.
AP photo stages 1
One of my favorite elements at Afropunk this year were the stages set up throughout the event for attendees to stage their own impromptu photo shoots.

Tank and the Bangas on the big screen
As if channeling the spirit of the crowd and the mission of the festival, Tank and the Bangas take the big stage and the big screen in full Mardi Gras-inspired regalia to perform at Afropunk Brooklyn.
AP photo stage 2
And the weather was perfect for outdoor photo shoots connecting this year's AfroPunk theme #WeSeeYou.
AP photo stage 3
Afropunk is a festival that balances creative expression, cultural expression, activism and art.
Red Arkade at Afropunk
Red Arkade performing at Afropunk BK may have been on one of the smaller stages, but they drew a crowd that grew larger throughout their set, including the punk/hip hop artists Samurai Shotgun, who were scheduled to perform on Sunday.
Bresi-Ando products
Perhaps my favorite purchase at this year's festival came from the Bresi-Ando booth. I'm new to tarot reading, but I've never used oracle cards, and these Adinkra ancestral guidance cards seem like a perfect set to begin that journey.
An artist at work at Afropunk
An artist at work at Afropunk.
Leikeli47 performing at Afropunk.
This is a very tight, not-so-great shot of hip hop virtuoso Leikeli47 performing. It was a packed crowd over on her stage, and since she always draws a large audience, I didn't think this was the best stage for her. Her set was fantastic though, and the crowd ate it up.
Food Truck alley
I grabbed a bite to eat earlier in the day from Monk's Vegan Smokehouse, but for the evening, I decided to try something different over in Food Truck alley.
More art creation at AP Brooklyn
Another artist at work at AP Brooklyn.
Gary Clark Jr performs at Afropunk
Gary Clark Jr. brought a more relaxed vibe with his mix of rock, blues and funk. So some of us chose to chill on the lawn and jam at the same time. And my lower back was very grateful. I love the guy reading in the distance (see video below).

Good Call tent in Activism Row
One of the most poignant tents on Activism Row was the Good Call booth, which is an organization that helps connect people who are falsely arrested in NYC with lawyers who will work with them to keep them informed of their rights.
Good Call business card
I spent more time chatting with Good Call than any other booth in Activism Row, so of course I have to share their business card and encourage you to use them if you ever need to (hopefully you won't.)
AP photo stage 4
The photo stages were still plenty active throughout the day. I know it's not a great photo, but I loved this person's outfit and vibe too much not to share.
Artwork on display at AP
I'm not sure if this artwork was for sale, but it was on display near the photo stage by the Red Stage and was absolutely stunning. Sadly, I don't know who to credit the art to.
Jill Scott performing at Afropunk
To cap off the day and evening, the one and only Jill Scott took center stage to a crowd that filled the entire space in front of the Green Stage (see pic at the top of the post). With everyone on their feet, Scott delighted us with a mix of old and new from her treasure trove of music.
Jill Scott headlining AP Brooklyn
Not to be outdone, Jill Scott headlined the first day of Afropunk Brooklyn 2019. She was both gorgeous and phenomenal, and the second reason I chose to attend on Saturday. (Chika was the first. :-)
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