On Saturday, the 12th annual Afropunk Festival brought a crowd of punk-music lovers, bold styles and a sense of togetherness to Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park.
Created in 2005 for African-American fans of the punk stylings of performers such as Lenny Kravitz, Bad Brains and Grace Jones, Afropunk has since expanded into different genres such as soul, alternative, funk and rap. This year, the two-day music fest’s lineup included Ice Cube, Tyler the Creator, The Internet, Fishbone, Janelle Monae and CeeLo Green.
The three stages drew a predominantly African-American audience eager to express their own definition of punk through their personal style. Brightly colored afros and braids; beautiful shirts, pants and dresses made out of kente cloth; vibrant dashikis, and lustrous crystal jewelry are standard Afropunk stylistic fare, but this year the influence of Asian street style was obvious with fans, including conical hats, silk kimonos, parasols and neo-geisha sandals.
As for the performers, Green rocked a gold and red robe, while Monae stuck to her traditional black-and-white color story, switching up her standard pant suit for a fringed jacket, pleated skirt and knee-high socks. Tyler the Creator stayed true to his quirky style with a green hat, yellow shorts and striped polo.
As much as Afropunk is a music festival, many showgoers came to be a part of a creative community that encourages self-expression. “It’s my way of artistic expression and I feel amazing,” said Phillip-Michael Payton, who wore a blue silk robe with wide-leg pants and a beaded top. “Afropunk is definitely a safe space. From the moment you walk into the park, you feel nothing but love. It’s so beautiful.”