Below is AFROPUNK’s mission statement. Read it. Then, we’ll get it started.
In 2003 Matthew Morgan produced ‘Afro-Punk’, the seminal cult classic documentary spotlighting Black Punks in America written and directed by James Spooner. The focus was giving a voice to thousands of multi-cultural kids fiercely identifying with a lifestyle path-less-traveled. Morgan, a music industry executive, instinctively understood that the indie rock/punk/hardcore scene had powerful appeal beyond the predictable Caucasian audience.
AFROPUNK has evolved into a touchstone of a cultural movement strongly reminiscent of the early days of Hip-Hop. Alternative urban kids across the across the globe who felt like outsiders discovered they were actually the core of a boldly innovative, fast-growing community.
The online community has been the driving force behind the exploding AFROPUNK movement, creating an authentic virtual home in www.afropunk.com and across AFROPUNK’s social channels, nurturing music’s best and brightest.
In 2005, first annual AFROPUNK Festival debuted to enthusiastic crowds at the iconic Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). It celebrated and unified the cultural cornerstones of AFROPUNK: music, film, skate, art and most importantly, the fiercely independent and influential individuals that are the lifeblood of the AFROPUNK community.
Described by the New York Times as “the most multicultural festival in the US,” the word AFROPUNK itself has become synonymous with open-minded, non-conforming and an unconventional community, placing the institution at the epicenter of urban culture inspired by alternative music. AFROPUNK is a web magazine dedicated to celebrating alternative culture and activism, reaching millions across its social networks, spearheaded by Editor-in-Chief Lou Constant-Desportes. Its ever-growing readership is key to the global growth of the online and offline community.
In 2015, AFROPUNK debuted in Atlanta and the first ever AFROPUNK Festival out of the United States took place in Paris. AFROPUNK is planning to bring the festival to other cities, both in the U.S. and internationally organized by Morgan and partner Jocelyn Cooper.”
To my dismay and the dismay of many other diasporans, a picture of a couple was featured on their Facebook page with no commentary. They are pretty active on social media and post plenty of images. So what’s the issue? How does a site and an organization geared towards blackness in a multitude of intersections and cultures highlight a white couple appropriating black culture and heritage on their page? Who thought this was a good idea?
Here’s the thing. We’ve already established that we can’t have shit. It’s expected that white folks will invite themselves to our events. We know that they will find a way to infiltrate our safe space. Even though this is supposed to be a cultural celebration, we know that AFROPUNK, ultimately, wants to make money. I can’t imagine any thinking black person would have a problem with that. Black people have fully supported these events so we are are committed to seeing us win.
The festival took place this past weekend in Brooklyn. Yes. Brooklyn. Where gourmet mayo rains abundantly. The edge and grit of BK have long given way to obscure java from Madagascar and intrusive hipsters who are annoyed by regular city noise. And they have made their way to our parties. Places where we can just “be black” and say and do whatever that means.
It’s an appropriate expectation to NOT see white folks highlighted at OUR venues especially when they are full on appropriating black culture. There was not one dope photo of a black couple at this event? In Brooklyn, no less. Interesting. And this just isn’t about AFROPUNK, it’s about every black safe space which chooses to highlight white folks instead of the black people who support you.
We know other folks will come to our shit. We are dope! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? We, totally, get it.
Besides, black people have ALWAYS been inclusive because we’ve never really been given a choice NOT to be. Black organizations should be a little more conscientious of these types of actions. AFROPUNK was created for THIS VERY REASON.
We expect YOU to be vigilant and mindful because when we YOU stop highlighting US, WE will STOP supporting YOU.
Get it. Got it? Good.