Afro Punk long ago shed its punk roots and dedication to true outsider (versus merely indie) black artists. That’s a crucial distinction. It is now unabashedly a slickly run outfit that operates on capitalistic notions of eccentricity and “risky” artistry. It’s geared toward a moneyed multicultural audience that pats itself on the back for its “colorblindness” and coolness as they pose for photographers from Vogue. All that said, it’s foolish to deny that Afro Punk has evolved into the arguably best global music festival venture in the world, providing a stage for artists across genre and from across the African diaspora.
This year is an embarrassment of riches that range from the nimble blues of Gary Clark Jr. to the groundbreaking beats and grooves of Soul II Soul, from Macy Gray to Kevin Abstract, Willow Smith to Dizzee Rascal. Saint Heron (Solange’s multi-pronged artistic venture) programmed one day’s stage that includes Sampha, Thundercat, Sinkane and TBA Special Guests, while Kaytranada curated a lineup featuring himself, NAO, Sango, J Rocc & Karriem Riggins and more.
The dates are August 26 and 27 at Commodore Barry Park, and you can buy tickets and get more information here.
Top photo of Sampha courtesy the artist/Afro Punk.