Highlights from AfroPunk 2013

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Thanks to everybody who made it out to the 9th Annual AfroPunk Festival! We’re already looking forward to next year’s festivities!

On August 24th and August 25th, an estimated 30,000 people from all walks of life united at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn to celebrate “the other black experience.”

Progressive Pupil tabled on Activism Row during both days. We made new friends while discussing Black studies with festival-goers, sold Progressive Pupil tees, tanks and totes and promoted our film Black and Cuba. Many people also took advantage of our invitation to ask Principal Organizer Dr. Robin Hayes any Black studies question!

According to Joselyn Cooper, festival organizer, “We describe AfroPunk as a free space for African Americans — and anyone else who wants to come onto that space — to just be who they are, and not being defined by monolithic definition of what, sort of, the outside culture puts on us as African American people.”

So, what does AfroPunk mean to you?

By Claudie Mabry

Photographs by Dr. Robin Hayes and Alexis Handcock

Leave a comment


  1. Finn B.

     /  September 25, 2013

    I was unable to attend Afropunk this year but was sad to miss one of my favorite performers bounce/twerk queen Big Freedia. Big Freedia and others have slammed Miley Cyrus for appropriating and exploiting black culture for her own benefit when she did the dance (which is actually over 20 years old) at the Video Music Awards. Not to be outdone Big Freedia may have had the last laugh today by obtaining the Guinness Book of World Records for most people twerking simultaneously when Big Freedia lead over 300 people in the dance in Herald Square.


  2. I was at AfroPunk my very first Saturday living in New York City! My new roommate asked me to tag along with him… wow, what an introduction to Brooklyn. I had a blast. Who knew that Will Smith’s wife was such a rock star? (For those who don’t know, she fronts a metal band called Wicked Wisdom). And I fell in love with Mykki Blanco that night. Really incredible fashion, too.
    I remember seeing a shirt that said something I wasn’t so into– “Hey Hip Hop, Punk Called. It wants its fashion back.” Something like that. Hip hop and punk are really different genres, but the spirit from which they both come isn’t so different. While AfroPunk encompassed a lot more than hip hop and punk, I thought about points of union between hip hop and punk — and how people should be celebrating what they share…not mocking it! Even if it was just a t-shirt. All in all, AP was a great way for me to kick off living in the city I now call home.



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