On September 24th 2016, history was made. The first United Kingdom edition of Afropunk came to London. Staying true to the message of acceptance and no hate, a symbol of the future we need to strive for where diversity matters and is essential for both spiritual and global growth, AFROPUNK London went off with a bang. As the effects of Brexit have taken place, with so much terror and fear surrounding not just the UK, but on a global scale, London’s turn to host the invigorating festival that is AFROPUNK couldn’t have come at a better time.
A festival like no other, AFROPUNK is almost as famous for the fashion as it is for the music. London, where creativity meets eccentric punk, didn’t disappoint. People from all walks of life, all had one thing in common- a belief in what AFROPUNK stands for: No Hate. All these people turned up ready to make their mark on the North London venue. From neon coloured two-toned afros to glow in the dark footwear and a dash of slogan clothing to make you think – it felt like being caught between the protest atmosphere of 1960s London and Vivienne Westwood’s era of punk in the eighties.
Aside from the music and fashion, for the bargain price of £2 you could support the fight against all forms of abuse within the household including verbal, by living out your graffiti dreams and vandalising a partially wrecked car owned by a domestic abuse survivor.
Located in an inside venue, it was sort of predicted that London’s take on AFROPUNK was going to be something special. Walking away from the traditional outside park venues, the positivity and happiness flowing through the festival, Alexandra Palace made AFROPUNK an even more spiritual experience than anyone could have been expected
With acts including Kwabs, SZA and MNEK, the line up was an electrifying fusion of truly incredible talent not to mention the likes of Young Fathers and Nova Twins bringing the true spirit of AFROPUNK’s eccentricity to the stage.
Jorja Smith kicked off the festival with some sombre, chilled yet soulful sounds, setting the tone of things to come as the crowd began to buzz up.
The highlights of the festival included WORD SOUND POWER featuring Mr Fire in the Booth himself, Akala with a special edition performance along with Dreadzone and Don Letts entitled War on Conflict featuring a remix of his latest edition of Fire in the Booth. Shortly after, MOBO winning singer, Laura Mvula, excitedly graced the stage with her soulful, seventies-esque sounds, to a thrilled crowd.
The festival finished off with the headline act, the incomparable, Grace Jones. Jones, a true stage animal, gave a show like no other, making her dedicated audience hungry for more as they basked in her glory.
Unlike the other cities, the London edition was only a one day festival, yet it’s clear that that day was the work of brilliance. But if this year is anything to go by, be prepared for the magnificence to come in future years.
WORDS: Kemi Akilapa
TAGS: #afropunk; #afropunklondon; #london; #festival; #gracejones; #nohate; #alexandrapalace;
IMAGES 1, 2, 3, 8, 9: COURTESY OF KEMI AKILAPA
IMAGE 4, 5,6,7,10,11, 12, 13 – Visual Marvelry via Big Box London