Afropunk Fest means a lot to me. When it was canceled last year because of Hurricane Irene, I was sad. I don’t have tattoos or piercings or dye my hair blue, but I feel very punk rock. I quit my comfy day job seven years ago to pursue happiness. I started a stand-up comedy show with no experience in producing or promoting. I run a blog about cupcakes. Ok, that doesn’t sound very punk rock. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama and later suburban Atlanta, I always felt the odd one, the weirdo. I am a voracious reader. I made collages from teen magazines. I loved MTV and ‘Friday Night Videos’.
Several years ago, I went to a screening of Afropunk, the documentary. I saw myself in the stories of the kids who slam dance and skateboard. Since then, I have been on the Afropunk listserve and have attended many shows. At one of the first AfroPunk shows, I saw Santi White (AKA Santigold) played with her former band, Stiffed. Seeing a black girl rock out in front as the lead singe of a band who is black like me was a thrill.
The Afropunk.com website is a diverse, non-mainstream mix of culture, music and art. I scan the email newsletter to find out what the cool kids are doing because I am not twentysomething anymore. I wonder if the “cool kids” know how lucky there are to find their tribe online, because there wasn’t an outlet like Afropunk for me when I was a kid. Some people may complain that AfroPunk Fest has gotten too commercial. However, I would love it if there were even more brand extension AfroPunk events like art shows, fashion shows, and even hackathons. AfroPunk is not a monolith and neither are black people.