by Rose Miyonga
Next month, Afropunk is returning to London, off the back of a triumphant debut last year. On the 22nd and 23rd of July, the Printworks will be taken over by an international collection of music-lovers to honour the pure talent of a glistening line-up of UK and US musicians and DJs.
The festival line-up is full of home-grown talent in grime, punk, hip-hop, soul, reggae, roots, soul, pop genres, including Lianne La Havas, Nao, Little Simz, Corinne Bailey Rae, Nadia Rose and Jazzie B, as well as US acts like Willow Smith and The Internet. To be honest, the entire programme is flawless, and it’s really hard to pick highlights. What unites these acts is a commitment to being unapologetically themselves in their creative ventures.
“We, the people have the will to heal the divisions that threaten to reduce our dreams to ashes. We believe in resurrecting the creative power of our diversity. We open our hearts and minds, and dance to the rhythm of a brand-new future. Together. Brave and compassionate. And beautiful.” — Afropunk ‘We, the people’ statement
Afropunk first came to my attention many years ago. They used to, and still do, post an ‘Afro of the Day’ picture on their social media pages, and I remember spending hours reading through their backlog of posts, sharing love and stories of empowerment with a global
Afropunk first came to my attention many years ago. They used to, and still do, post an ‘Afro of the Day’ picture on their social media pages, and I remember spending hours reading through their backlog of posts, sharing love and stories of empowerment with a global community of multi-cultural people enjoying radical self-expression.
Founded in 2003 by Matthew Morgan, the website and community emerged from his ‘Afro-Punk’ documentary, which looked at the lives of black punks in America. As a brown woman who likes rock more than RnB, I was excited to find a community of black people interested in alternative forms of creative expression than those made available to us in mainstream media.
Over the years, Afropunk has become a beacon for misfits and mavericks of all races, genders, colours, creeds and tastes, celebrating diversity and non-conformism in its online publication, and its festivals, now held in Atlanta, Brooklyn, London and Johannesburg, are a glorious extension of this mission.
And it’s not just music. This year, Printworks will host the Spinthrift Market, showcases and celebrates the best of London’s maker community, inspired by African prints, textiles and art forms.
And, for budding musicians, and those interested in discovering new local talent, the Soundcloud x Battle of the Bands, which will give homegrown artists the chance to perform at Afropunk London and be part of a development programme. In this way, Afropunk demonstrates its commitment to nurturing the creative talents of the next generation of artists, providing vital exposure and celebration of innovation in the creative fields.
This idea of giving back to the community is furthered by the fact that Afropunk offers fans the chance to volunteer their time in community service in order to earn their entry to the festival. As such, they seek to create a living movement that extends further than the individual events, enriching lives on a day-to-day level.
Tickets for Afropunk Festival London 2017 are still available here. Hope to see you there!
We will be reporting from the festival, with interviews and much more, so be sure to keep an eye on ThandieKay.com for all the dish on Afropunk Festival London 2017.