Identity

Brilliant Photos of Black Joy at the 2018 Afropunk Festival

In its 13th year, Afropunk BK is more than a music festival. It's a Black revival of self-expression.

by Danielle Kwateng-Clark; photos by Denisse Benitez
Aug 27 2018, 4:42pm

Photo by Denisse Benitez

The theme for this year's Afropunk BK was "The People Resist." Quite literal to the mission of the 13-year-old music festival, the objective was to —once again— create a space for Black people of all backgrounds to express their individuality while enjoying live rock, R&B, and hip-hop performances. The annual gathering is comprised of two days of concerts and vendor markets. Now, one of the largest Black alternative music festivals in the world, Afropunk also exists in Atlanta, Paris, and Johannesburg.

Sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, fatphobia, and transphobia were all banned from the space, as designated by large banners draped at each side of the stages. To many, the festival is more than just a social gathering that brings together thousands from around the world: It's a Black revival. Afropunk is considered by many to be a safe space where freedom of expression is truly unbound by socio-normative paradigms. Joy abounds—and it's contagious.


On the bill this year were Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu, Tyler the Creator, Pusha T, and Kaytranada— along with bands like Nova Twins, Black Pantera, and BLXPLTN. James Spooner's 2003 documentary about Black counterculture entitled Afro-Punk was the inspiration behind the gathering that went from a few dozen people at Brooklyn Academy of Music to over 60,000 at Downtown Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park this weekend.

See more photos that capture Afropunk BK in all its vibrant glory, below.