MUSIC, MURALS, MERCHANDISE: AFROPUNK 2014
Everything mellow, from music to merchandise to murals, AFROPUNK lived up to its prestige yet again. Celebrating its 10th year, the annual, two-day outdoor festival gave people the chance to display their personal style (many of which showed authentic originality) and time to fellowship with peers and emerge in musical entertainment.
AFROPUNK took place at Commodore Barry Park this past Saturday and Sunday and served as a Mecca for all types of people. The venue itself housed four stages, of which were occupied by musicians such as Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Body Count, Meshell Ndegeocello, Trash Talk, Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Straight Line Stitch, Fishbome, Valerie Lane, Alice Smith, and many more. Some of the most talked about artists appearing on the scene included The Internet, Sza, Lianne La Havas, and of course, the legendary D'Angelo. Having such a wide array of performances gave the compound name, AFROPUNK, validity. It was a healthy balance of every type of music, with emphasis on R&B and rock.
Day 1 favorite Lianne La Havas captured the hearts of many on the green stage: the main stage with a vast grass area where people chose to either stand and dance or sit and relax. She sang some of her past releases, such as "Lost and Found," before introducing the audience to her new song. "Caught between a friend and foe, round and round we go..." The catchy and relatable lyrics foreshadow a hit single in the bubbly Brit's near future.
Widely talked about Day 2 act, Sza, was described as nothing short of amazing. "It was just a good vibe," AFROPUNK attendee, Tyannis Carter explained. Julian Spencer followed by emphatically stating, "Sza's performance was everything!" And though D'Angelo appeared on stage about two hours late, after rumors of him not showing at all began to circulate, the R&B legend delivered a commendable performance, new music included.
Music was only a fraction of the entertainment of the festival. Free expression through clothing was at an all-time high, as people explored the depths of originality and pushed the boundaries of fashion. A colorful array of meshes and silks and chains and everything imaginable, people really seized the opportunity to utilize wardrobe and accessories to differentiate themselves. Notable fashionistas included Blake Diamond (@blakediiamond), with his handmade mesh and chiffon ensembles, Destiny Owusu aka Wawa (@ohwawa), with her beaded blazer and custom jewelry, Julian Spencer (@_lehomme) with his nonconventional approach to the festival's fashions, sporting a chic blazer, and Maria Jahnkoy (@jahnkoymaria), with her Russian-inspired outfits. When asked about her method of putting together her ensemble, Jahnkoy replied, "Choose da tribe. Mix da race."
The face of AFROPUNK-so she has been called-snatched her title as one of the top fashionistas of the weekend. Reign APIIM (@reignpalaisapiim) had flamboyant displays of African-inspired clothing. Her gold, strategically printed dress, complimented by gold hair and delicately designed accessories created such cohesion that her aesthetic was almost jaw dropping. Day two, Reign's red and white dress with salt and pepper hair to match turned heads as well.
Models stirred up chaos (in a positive way). Supermodel, Cara Delevingne, shook hands, took pictures and willingly gave out hugs to anybody in her path. Ajak Deng and Fatima Saiid danced freely to the music and enjoyed the festival with Everyday People's Chef Roblè.
10 years of AFROPUNK and it is clearly just the beginning for this festival. With its focus on free expression and worry-free fun, AFROPUNK continues to grow exponentially in popularity. People are already discussing their anticipation for next year's event. For more coverage on the event, visit afropunkfest.com.
Nu-Mode´ Magazine Coverage
Photography Mel D. Cole
Style Color Photography Arielle Chambers