Afropunk Festival

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Afropunk Festival
Afropunk Fest 2013 (9695793808).jpg
2013 Afropunk Festival
Years active2005-2019
WebsiteOfficial website

Afropunk Festival is an annual arts festival that features music, film, fashion, and art produced by alternative black artists.

The Afropunk Festival began in 2005, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Afropunk Festivals have also been held in various major cities, including Atlanta, Paris, London, Brazil, and Johannesburg, South Africa. The festival was co-founded by James Spooner and Matthew Morgan, and grew out of the 2003 documentary titled Afro-Punk which studied black punks across America.[1]



In the early years, the festival was targeted towards black alternative-minded punks. The festival was free and supported by The Brooklyn Academy of Music. As the festival grew, the musical genres shifted towards reaching a larger audience and the festival also began charging an admission fee.[2] Due to festival alterations that deviated from the original Afropunk culture, former co-founder, James Spooner ended his involvement in 2008.[3]


Jocelyn A. Cooper became involved with the festival in 2009. Afropunk Festival grew to 60,000 attendees in 2015,[4] expanding into the cities of Atlanta in 2015 and Paris and London in 2016.[5]


Having emerged from political punk roots, Afropunk Festival has faced criticism at times,[6] including backlash over booking artists such as MIA,[7] Ice Cube[8] and Tyler the Creator.[9]

Attendees have also critiqued the values of Afropunk's organizers surrounding LGBQT concerns, treatment of employees, and its corporate leanings. Some attendees critique the festival for appealing to white audiences,[10] including an instance of attendees being removed from an area of the festival for wearing a homemade t-shirt critical of the event.[11] In August of 2018, Afropunk's Editor-In-Chief resigned after over a decade of work for Afropunk citing mistreatment and a corporate agenda he labeled "performative activism".[12][13]


  1. ^ AfroPunk Started With a Documentary, Village Voice
  2. ^ Gentrifying AfroPunk, New Yorker
  3. ^ We Still Need to be Seen: The Rise of Black Punk Culutre, The Guardian
  4. ^ Josephs, Brian (August 17, 2015). "Is Afropunk Fest No Longer Punk?". VICE. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  5. ^ Naasel, Kenrya (11 May 2015). "Jocelyn Cooper". Fast Company. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  6. ^ AfroPunk's Growing Pains, Mail & Guardian
  7. ^ "M.I.A.'s Provocative Pop".
  8. ^ "Ice Cube Justifies Lyrics".
  9. ^ "Rappers and Rape".
  10. ^ How to be a Good Ally at AfroPunk
  11. ^ Couple Thrown Out Of AfroPunk VIP, The Root
  12. ^ Afropunk Editor Resigns
  13. ^ Festival Staff Abuse, Vibe Magazine

Coordinates: 40°41′50″N 73°58′45″W / 40.697104°N 73.979037°W / 40.697104; -73.979037