Saturday at AfroPunk Fest NYC was the most blissful music festival I’ve experienced. Dreamlike and powerfully feminine, attendees were genuinely interested in one another and established a space that upheld values prominently displayed on each side of the main stage: NO SEXISM, NO RACISM, NO ABLEISM, NO AGEISM, NO HOMOPHOBIA, NO FATPHOBIA, NO TRANSPHOBIA, NO HATEFULNESS
Believe what you want about millennial PC language policing but everyone displayed an investment in each other that felt familial, progressively politicized and celebratory. This was an event where Grace Jones reigned in body paint and a corset, changing crowns for each song. She had her mother seated on the side of the stage before she began. Most performers acknowledged family and Kelis announced her pregnancy on stage by wearing a sheer fuchsia caftan.
“..everyone displayed an investment in each other that felt familial, progressively politicized and celebratory.”
Representatives from multiple generations put on their best ensembles and admired each other, engaged in lively conversation and supported the artists. It was the most stylish audience imaginable, very few off-the-shelf looks, the ensembles were heavily customized, communicated graphically and conveyed an ageless sensuality.
– Davora Lindner
Photographs by Eli Schmidt