Afropunk 2016 examine: a musical kaleidoscope of outcasts and misfits

The Suffers, Janelle Mone, festivalgoers and even Ice Cube wheezed needed life into this years ho-hum lineup

This is like pitch-black Coachella, person said to me, while we waited in the longer, slow-moving boundary to get into Afropunk. On Saturday, the line roughly enveloped Commodore Barry Park, with some people stuck in it for almost two hours.

The row did cease somewhere, and as snippets of Saul Williams and a Thundercats bass solo floated over the fencing, I detected no run to get in Id encountered Thundercat many times before, including at last years festival. Soon after his act, George Clinton was scheduled to go; but I left to retrieve a acquaintance from the door, only moving it back to catch a little bit of Flashlight and( Not Just) Knee Deep. But Id just seen him in Brooklyn, too.

Perhaps I are eventually grow the jaded New Yorker I was always meant to be, or, perhaps this years line-up was a little ho-hum. Either behavior, after a certain number of Afropunks this was my sixth you have to find a new lane of interacting with the festival.

Thats what someone had encouraged me to do before I listened try something new. Meet person brand-new. So on Sunday, my friends and I went to hear The Suffers, for no other conclude than we guessed the lead singer, Kam Franklin, gazed cool. She was one Afroed black woman among an ensemble of chiefly grey boys, singing her centre out. The jumbotron showed us what our mere seeings had not been able: she and all her bandmates wore T-shirts that read Eleanor& Tarika& Aiyana& Rekia& Miriam& Renisha all reputations of black girls killed by the police, women whose legends, and sometimes whose reputations, we dont know. It was a small, strong gesticulate, as was what she asked us to do before she played their smashes Build Some Room hug the person we happened with, and tell them thank you . And if we came by ourselves, find another solo party and hug and thank them. With only these two small moves, Franklin nicked open what is possible at Afropunk the opportunity to connect with and force beings with your words and presence.

In addition to being able to The Suffers T-shirts, I detected myself inspired by all the things festivalgoers wore. I anticipated I was cool, but I had no idea where it was had get T-shirts that remarked Black Girls Got the Juice and Black Girls+ Magic= Very Real and the Afropunk sign with its rules of acceptance( No Sexism. No Racism. No Ableism ., etc) to include No Donald Trump.

The gala organizers did their character by making it clear that there were no male- or female-designated showers. Above the rows of port-a-potties read this signed: This bathroom has been liberated from the gender binary.

If you live in New York, Brooklyn in particular, you can find a way to always be immersed in a forward-thinking, cultural knowledge; you can see showers, or any number of things, that ought to have liberated from all the binaries on Earth. But many people who attend the festival come from abroad; and this clue, unromantic as it was hanging above plastic lavatory stalls, was another one of those small gestures to greet the many anyone else who dont fit in to simply one stop, or merely one life.

Or, as Janelle Mone called from the stage Sunday night, this was for the castaways, the misfits, the weirdos. After her adjust, during which she performed her own pops, as well as Lords Lets Go Crazy, I wound up talking to a sidekick from college who, despite having gone to our historically pitch-black institution and living in nearby Jersey City, still needed all-black infinites like this one in order to just be . To be strange and different, whatever that might represent, inside or outside of the park gates.

Across the wide-cut swath of musicians, one common point was the influence of original black American music. Both Mone and her protg Roman GianArthur performed James Brown songs, ended with the simple, clean choreography thats so ingrained into pitch-black showmanship. At the Bad Brains-Living Color-Fishbone Powerjam on Sunday night, George Clinton, perhaps the godfather of strange, and the natural link between Browns funk and Bad Brainss and cos punk, play-act again age 75, and was just about to liberation a brand-new album on fellow festival musician Operating Lotuss Brainfeeder label.

Closing out the gala was none other than Ice Cube, perhaps the least punk headliner in recent recollection. Im a b-boy, he said. Aint no circle up here. Just him, a DJ, and soon after, NWA members DJ Yella and MC Ren. That was Cube being his strange and different ego, in a cavity where containers and guitar were the law of the region. He assured us he wasnt just a buster in boys movies, and that hed never left hip-hop. And then he crip-walked.

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