The 15 Best Things About Afro-Punk Festival 2014

Photos Jena Cumbo
The Afro-Punk festival at Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene, Brooklyn is in its 10th year. The decade mark brings with it an air of legitimacy and staying power that usually signals the inevitable corporatization of most music festivals. At this point, you might expect to see million dollar headlining acts and gimmicky stunts like the resurrection of dead rappers via hologram, or the reuniting of sorely missed icons like Outkast, take center stage at Afro Punk. But the Brooklyn festival is still holding true to its homespun ethic. There's no lounge sponsored by Bud Lite Limarita, and there's no Red Bull street team doling out sugary energy drinks. Afro Punk is more about exuding and promoting culture than it is about corporate partnerships and asserting itself as a tastemaker and brand. After all, the festival is free, so why the fuck would Kanye West want to play anyway?

Last weekend's Afro Punk festival brought with it an overloading of the senses and a host of disparate artists aiming to celebrate the music and creativity of people of color. There was much to behold and much to enjoy. Like, say, these 15 things...

See also: Afropunk Started With a Documentary. Ten Years, Two Websites, and Eight Festivals Later...

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The Faces of Afropunk Fest

You can have the VMAs. For our money, the coolest thing in Brooklyn this weekend was Afropunk Fest. We sent photographer CS Muncy down to the festival--which we devoted this week's cover story to--to capture it in all its glorious splendor. Take a look.

See also: Afropunk Started With a Documentary. Ten Years, Two Websites, and Eight Festivals Later...

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Live: Janelle Monáe, TV On The Radio, And Toro Y Moi Break Boundaries At Afro-Punk

Janelle Monáe.
Afro-Punk Festival
Commodore Barry Park
Sunday, August 26

Better than: Sitting at home, waiting for Breaking Bad to start.

Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley were some of the original architects of rock and roll. Jimi Hendrix pushed it forward in the late '60s. Then came Prince. And Bad Brains. And Living Colour. And the Black Rock Coalition. Plus, what's more rock than "Rock Box"? Or "Maggot Brain"? Making the same claim is New York's annual Afro-Punk Festival, which wrapped its eighth staging on Sunday night. Over two consecutive nights in Fort Greene's Commodore Barry Park, the festival showcased an array of black artists who were punk in spirit if not always in musical aesthetic.

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Afro-Punk To Throw A CMJ Showcase Starring Death

Last month Hurricane Irene washed away the Afro-Punk Festival, the weekend-long celebration in Commodore Barry Park that was supposed to have headliners like Cee Lo Green and Janelle Monáe and an undercard rounded out by YIMBY alums like Das Racist and Cerebral Ballzy. While there were hopes that the whole event could be rescheduled in the weeks following the big storm, apparently they didn't quite pan out; the people behind the festival have announced that it's officially canceled, and not just postponed. But! To make up for that, the cancellation announcement was coupled with one regarding an Afro-Punk-sponsored CMJ showcase starring the hyperactive Detroit punk pioneers Death; the bill also includes Cerebral Ballzy, Ninjasonik, Jersey Klan, and DJ Stack-Aly. It's happening at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 18, and tickets are available now. Why not familiarize yourself with some Death videos below?

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Cee Lo Green, Santigold, And Janelle Monáe To Headline Afro-Punk Festival

The seventh annual Afro-Punk Festival will take place at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn at the end of August (the 27th and 28th, to be precise), and the just-announced lineup looks pretty incredible: Cee Lo Green will headline, and the once-again-active Santigold, the always-spellbinding Janelle Monáe, the Yes In My Backyard alums Cerebral Ballzy, and the shape-shifting Philadelphia soul singer Res will also be on the bill. As will Fishbone! There'll also be food from more than 20 trucks courtesy of the Afro-Punk Bites&Beats Food Truck Festival, and a BMX competition. The lineup as of now is after the jump; the full schedule will be released closer to showtime.

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