AfroPunk is an annual music festival that celebrates black culture. But its platform also feeds the culture by making a space for black artisans to gain heightened exposure.
Hone in on your inner ignorance for a minute — What would you expect to see at a black music festival? Maybe a musical lineup akin to Summer Jam, a sea of black patrons wearing their best Louis Vuitton belts and Gucci’ed down to the socks. You’d maybe expect gold chains, high top fades, Retro Air Jordans, and a slew of other social indicators that have become the singular connotation of black identity in modern pop culture. And although all of these things sound splendid (and I’d be totally down to attend such a festival if it did exist), they don’t even begin to chip the tip of the iceberg of exploring multifaceted black identities. And that’s precisely the purpose and mission of AfroPunk Musical Festival; to create an open space where black people are encouraged to express themselves unequivocally without being bounded by stereotypes or cultural norms. It’s easy to interpret it as a celebration of black culture, but in its essence, it encourages us to look beyond that singular definition of culture by interpreting it however we want to; whether that includes nipple tassels and body paint, or simply showing up to bask in it all.
The magic of the AfroPunk Festival — which has taken place annually in Brooklyn since 2005 and has since expanded — began with music, but arguably that magic has transferred to the most widely discussed topic of the festivities: the fashion. Every year, black people from across the country (and the world) gather in their finest, most expressive (often custom) looks with hopes of being photographed for a viral moment. And while some key social symbols such as butterflies perfectly coiffed in a fro, Ankara patterns, and politically driven pieces have become staples of the “AfroPunk” aesthetic, the unique expression of each attendee is what makes the experience like nothing black culture has ever seen. The best part of this is that Black Artisans are often the ones who create these over-the-top custom festival looks; whether it be for themselves or for a muse. This added level of artistry has only contributed to the festival’s ultimate mission of encouraging self expression within the black community by providing independent black artists and designers with a massive platform to share their work as art.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite AfroPunk looks by black designers and independent black artisans. Make sure to check them out and show them some love — tell them that The Strut Mag sent you!
Accessories By Tru Face by Grace
Accessories by Sol Se7en
Header Image Photo Courtesy of Daria Akramova via @Pcahontas