The Dopest Afrofuturist Looks at Afropunk 2016

Photographer Christelle de Castro captured the festival's forward-thinking crowd and asked a few people what Afrofuturism means to them.
August 30, 2016, 1:30pm
Christelle de Castro

All photos by Christelle de Castro

This past weekend marked the 12th edition of Afropunk, a festival that takes place annually at Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park, with recent editions in Atlanta and Paris. As ever, this year's lineup was a roll call of forward-thinking African-American talent—ranging from Flying Lotus' brain-bending electronic compositions, to George Clinton's futuristic funk, to Kelela's interstellar R&B and back again. But the musicians on stage at Afropunk are always rivaled by its remarkably stylish and diverse crowd, who share the festival's position at the intersection of African-American culture, punk music, and forward-thinking social activism.

This year, THUMP sent one of our favorite queer photographers Christelle de Castro to document the best outfits at Afropunk, with a focus on Afrofuturist looks. Like the festival itself, Afrofuturism—a term coined in 1993 by Mark Dery in his essay "Black to the Future"—is a movement that celebrates the Afrodiasporic experience. It envisions an African-American future through a high-tech and sci-fi lens, and claims Sun Ra as an early musical proponent, with artists like Mykki Blanco, Fhloston Paradigm, and Hieroglyphic Being continuing to draw inspiration from its empowering ethos. In addition to capturing the best Afrofuturist looks, de Castro also asked a few people what the aesthetic and tradition means to them.

1. Paper Boy Prince of the Suburbs, multi-disciplinary artist

THUMP: What were you going for with this outfit?
Paper Boy Prince of the Suburbs: I'm me whether you like it or not—but I love you so much.

@Paperboytheprince

2. Hazkel Brown Christie, Artist

What does Afrofuturism mean to you?
Afrofuturism is limitless.

@hazeuky96_10

3. Siouzy, Student

What does Afrofuturism mean to you?
Live the future.

@siouzy

4. Agata, Student (and Siouzy's sister)

What were you going for with this look?
I want people to express their inner parts and share them outwardly.

5. Ricardo, Artist

What were you going for with this look?
I make wearable art with the expression of indigenous people from all over the world so light may continue. is about the reflection of the inside of who you are

6. Christine, Poet/MMA Fighter

What were you going for with this look?
Yellow means healer, and I just went through a break up. All summer I've been trying to heal myself, and become yellow.

@bookworm103