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Once a year, Afropunk Festival comes to town—and once a year, Brooklyn’s Fort Green neighborhood gets a good ol’ dose of funky, badass, awesomely cool style, culture, and political expression from Afropunk. The same festival that stands out as arguably one of New York City’s most ecstatic displays of expressive freedom and eccentricity, also comes with a long list of non-negotiable rules: “No Sexism, No Racism, No Ableism, No Ageism, No Homophobia, No Fatphobia, No Transphobia, and No Hatefulness.” Afropunk is as much about the good music as it is about the good people.
In their 15 years of existence, Afropunk has managed to curate an environment that can only be described as an ethereal, momentary hideaway for black people from all corners and crevices of the diaspora —and this year was no different. The festival explicitly invites folks to come and be who they are, wear whatever they wear, and dance how they dance. It was a blank space to freak out in—and freak out they did.
Although Afropunk was originally founded as a music festival (this year Sampha, SZA, and Solange performed and they were simply unreal), the music almost serves as a soundtrack—especially this year—for a grander kaleidoscope of community, fashion, political statements, and strength of spirit. The scene was an overwhelmingly beautiful sea of brown and black faces using their style as a means of expression, protest, and activism. We sent our photographer to float amidst the dancing, double-dutch, and radiating to capture the magic for part of our Style In The Wild series.