In case you missed AFROPUNK this weekend….
Great music, culture, food and of course, beer…yeah, that’s pretty much all you needed to have successfully survived AFROPUNK. This year the festival celebrated its 10th year of live music, art and culture on August 23 and August 24 at Brooklyn’s Barry Commodore Park.
Take a trip with me for a few minutes. It’s about 4 p.m. on Sunday, the weather is perfect, the breeze; to die for, and you can smell just about any and every cuisine from under the sun. From Haalal food to classic grilled cheese sandwiches and deliciously messy Philly cheese steaks, your mouth is watering trying to decide what you’ll try first. But first, you head over to the red stage to see who’s got the crowd so insanely hyped. You indulge in the moment, feeling the crowd out but vibing out the scene as you inhale and absorb everything around you. You made it, now its time to explore! There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. Whether you’re interested in getting a free pair of PONY sneakers or heading over to House of Marley to check out which cool headphones and speakers they’ve got on the market, you really couldn’t be disappointed. You’ve explored quite a bit and have even stood on an exaggerated line for a $4.00 Italian icee that was worth all 400 pennies. But 5:15 p.m. was nearing.
The time was now 5:45 p.m. According to scheduling, Sza (Bae) would be making her exit off the red stage and saying her goodbyes to her fans. Instead, a restless crowd vibed to Drake, Juicy J and other artists being played by booths nearby. Heads turned, confused faces were in full affect. Where was bae? Soon enough, movement on stage was visible. Then the moment everyone had been waiting for…”this next artist needs no introduction…” the DJ said, instantaneously igniting the crowd. The free space in the crowd went from 0 to 100, real quick as fans quickly floated toward the stage preparing their hearts and souls for Sza. The crowd blared with applause as big hair and freckles took over the stage. In those moments, Sza captured the entire audience singing favorites like “Hiijack” and “Babylon.”
Now it seemed as thought your day was complete. Sza captivated your entire world within minutes but there was still so much to see. Heading over to beer gardens, good vibes and even more great food consumed you. But that wasn’t enough. You finally made your way over to the gold stage just in time for the Bobby Shmurda turn up. It was a huge house party like no other. Shmoney. Dancing. Everywhere. You couldn’t help but Shmoney dance around the food trucks that supplied everything from empanadas to Thai food to that good ol’ Caribbean food. You Shmoney danced right back over to the food trucks deciding on a simple grilled cheese, still very much curious to see all the new faces that had entered the festival since you first arrived. The crowd grew by the minute. Now that the sun had gone down, the air had cooled and the food truck lines became longer, the real party began. As a tribute to DJ Rashad engaged twerkers and electronic music lovers, something big was about to take place on the green stage; D’Angelo.
Like a moth to a flame, the crowd flocked to the stage minutes before the “Brown Sugar” singer made his way on stage. Unfortunately, those fans looking for the soulful singer to tackle old school R&B songs that warmed our souls like “Lady,” “Cruisin” and of course “Brown Sugar,” were pretty disappointed. Instead, the singer had something way different in mind. D’Angelo did his rendition of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1973 “Thankful n’ Thoughful” as well as Bob Marley’s “Burnin’ and Lootin’.” Ending his segment, D’ Angelo covered Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair.” His performance was deep and heavy as references to the Mike Brown Shooting in Ferguson pervaded the entire festival.
As always, all good things must come to an end. “You ain’t gotta go home…” the DJ said. And well, you know the rest.
[Photo Credit: Don Wes]