Afropunk: A Growing Genre with a Purpose

By: Tulasi Sundaresh, 6/8 Records Intern

In light of the 12th annual Afropunk Festival coming up August 26-27 in Brooklyn, NY, the genre of Afropunk has been buzzing lately. Afropunk is a musical genre (as well as a fashion and art movement) that highlights African American artists creating punk or alternative content. The goal is to bring more diversity to the genre, which is predominantly white, and to the music industry in general. Many artists who identify with this genre are able to use their platform to speak out on issues regarding diversity and racial barriers.

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One artist who creates music in the genre is this year’s Afropunk Festival headliner, Solange. Solange creates beautiful, cathartic alternative R&B music that comments on gender and racial issues. For example, a song on her most recent album, A Seat at the Table, called ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ praises the natural image and appearance of a black woman; her hair. Her hair represents an aspect of her racial culture that has been policed and repressed for years.  

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The genre provides a unique community among artists where they can come together to comment on the state of our social culture and the ingrained cultural barriers through art and music. Such platforms are an important and accessible way for artists to express their ideas and opinions to a larger audience. So, Afropunk artists capitalize on this opportunity to create their art while spreading a larger message and creating a conversation.

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The Afropunk Festival has grown over the years into an international affair; offering dates in Paris, London, Atlanta, Johannesburg, and Brooklyn. Their lineup in Brooklyn this year includes artists like Solange, Anderson .Paak, Michael Kiwanuka, Kaytranada, SZA, and many more. Check out their website for more info!

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