AFROPUNK recently completed its weekend long event here in Atlanta following other major tour spots such as New York and Paris. This years theme AFROPUNK Atlanta was Carnival of Consciousness. The Carnival of Consciousness was a weekend long compilation that included producers, supporters, allies, and consumers of black culture. There were new features in music, art, film, lectures, and an overall honest expression of youthful black concerns by leading contemporary voices. I did not attend New York or Paris’ AFROPUNK. Thus, just based off of my personal experience at AFROPUNK that took place in Atlanta I would give AFROPUNK a 7.5 out of 10 stars.
Simply put, AFROPUNK in Atlanta just wasn’t black enough for me. I expected a lot more theatrics from the event and attendees of the Carnival styled celebration of the black consciousness. However, the only entertainment this weekend long event provided was the chance to see alternative hip-hop and pop’s black artist's. Overall, the artist line-up for ATL’s AFROPUNK lyrically lacked the black consciousness. Just because an artist is black does not mean he or she is a conscious rapper or singer that creates music solely for the purpose to promote positivity and change to our current situation as black people. Needless to say, after indulging in live performances from artists such as Freda, Cake the Killa, SZA and Tyler the Creator I didn’t leave their concerts shouting, "I’m black and I’m proud ." But, I was most certainly sexually liberated!
The African diaspora is a vastly mixed group of people with their own distinctive cultures, religions, languages, and fashions. AFROPUNK could have incorporated more street entertainment like: spoken word, African drums, and African dance to their line-up or even street performances. Exposing these traditional liberating customs to attendees who are not necessarily an Afro-individual would have had these individuals falling in love with the black culture or least creating levels of respect.
“As an Afro-Cuban I’m used to events like this teaching and inspiring me from a black perspective whether it be from the Afro-Cuban, Afro-Latino, and even Afro-American perspective,” says Dalia Drake, a first time attendee of AFROPUNK. As a consumer deriving from the black culture I find a lot of other people are influenced by the black culture whether it stems from the music, fashion, or language. This in itself is great to see.
Overall, the experience was a good one to share with friends. People dressed up in the most fashionable prints, wore their dashikis and crowns and they were able to attend a concert that introduced up in coming artists for a great price. To have mainstream events like AFROPUNK in honor of the Afro people is a trend that needs to keep happening to sustain our black culture in America. It just needs to stick to its roots.