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Afro Punk; more than just a music festival

Photos by Elliot Jones

Words by Emma Marshall
There’s a peculiar narrative that I’ve encountered; it goes something along the lines of ‘there’s not really a community in London’… Walking into this years Afropunk, from the offset, it was clear that community was the focal point of this event. 
The Afro Punk ethos is clear; No Sexism, No Racism, No Ableism, No Ageism, No Homophobia, No Fatphobia, No Transphobia. The message is scribed across the Afro Punk channels, as well as being made a prominent feature within the main arena through use of graphics and posters.
There was a beautiful energy throughout the weekend, where conversation about politics, music, heritage and art flowed between familiar faces and strangers. For a music festival with a very substantial lineup, it was like no other festival I’ve been to; the music was a soundtrack that created a safe space where everyone and anyone can be themselves in their entirety. It’s a sad fact that in 2017 that there is still a discussion around who’s lives matter or that human beings believe they have a phobia of other human beings because of how they identify. 
The weekends line up included the likes of NAO, Nadia Rose, JME, Danny Brown, Willow Smith, Thundercat and The Internet, all performing across the weekend. I’d like to take a moment to talk about my personal highlight of the weekend; Kojey Radical. Kojey is artist like no other; he defies all categorisation. His dominant stage presence, forward thinking lyrics and deeply soulful vocals make it hard to not become lost in his allure. It’s a rarity to find an artist that you see live and decide to make a conscious effort to listen to their entire back catalogue as soon as you get home. 

Afro Punk is a movement, a platform and a community that resonates with some of the most diverse and talented individuals; in a sometimes sad world where all the ism’s and phobias still exist, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the variety of talent and culture and that’s exactly what Afro Punk delivered. 
Thanks to Big Box for having us down.