Grace Jones, Death Grips, & Lenny Kravitz Slay Afropunk
‘No Sexism/ Racism/ Ableism/ Ageism/ Homophobia /Fatphobia /Transphobia /Hatefulness,’ read this year’s Afropunk manifesto. It’s a valued sentiment in a year that has been marked by societal eventfulness, and just because the nearly 30,000 people at this year’s festival (per day, that is) are there to have a good time, doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about the larger causes.
Maybe that’s why Afropunk is one of the more successful festivals. Not only can you listen to different music to appease all ears, but the fest hasn’t forgotten about the sense of community it’s based on. With a market area that sells local or African artistry, and a set up called ‘Activism Row’ (which includes a booth for Black Lives Matter and a soap box where anyone can share their opinion over a megaphone), it’s obvious that the cause never sleeps – nor should it.
But the mood was airy, relaxed, calm, cool. Even though the blazing Brooklyn sun shone over Commodore Berry Park in Fort Greene, the fashion game was on point – a combination of hip-hop sleek and African prints that made everyone photo ready.
Of course what would the fest have been without some killer performances, which this year included legends like Lenny Kravitz (who oozed that characteristic effortless sex appeal), Lauryn Hill (who kept playing with the help of the audience after a power out), Gary Clark Jr. (who showed the true meaning of shredding), Thundercat (who played with an actual animal perched atop his head), and Death Grips (who, naturally, brought out an excellent mosh sesh).
To tie it all together was the always incredible Grace Jones, who at 67 proves that age is just a number. Topless and covered in body paint reminiscent of Vamp, the icon sang while wearing a skull headpiece, a straw skirt, and even a hula-hoop (which she masterfully swayed throughout all of ‘Slave to the Rhythm’). Free the nipple? More like, free the goddess.
Afropunk shot exclusively for Milk by Andrew Boyle