Did Afropunk sellout? 2018 Recap

10:43 PM missusmonroe 1 Comments

Captured by photographer of The Daily Beast, edited by missusmonroe

Whew. What an intro.
Now you all, many of y'all anyway, have 'known' me since prior to me ever stepping feet on AP Brooklyn's grounds but wanting desperately to (actually I don't think anybody but Sade and my sister really ever knew I wanted to), to my first...experience up until right now, my third go-around. I would never call myself an expert but I am very good at observing, good enough to proclaim Afropunk has certainly changed. It had certainly changed prior to my first attendance and up until now it has also grown new heads. Heads so big it just might block me from attending next year
~if you didn't get that, continue below and you hopefully will get understanding~

captured by Brian Winston Fraser, edited by missusmonroe

Let me first delve into my rollercoaster this year. I love Afropunk for the fashion, the collectiveness, the resistance and rebellion, the antics, the love, the lack of judgement. I started attending a few years after they began charging natives, which of course changed the energy of the festival in and of itself, that in which I am positive of. I never felt a yearning to attend because of the music or anything related to punk realness lol blackness, collectives, and the vibe is all I'd wanted to experience. It wasn't until I first attended that I saw the manner in which fashion played. It was a serious ordeal. I always put something together whenever I attend events and I love festival get-ups so my first year I indeed had something that salvaged itself together but I was clueless to the swarm of photographers and industry heads that would be in attendance. I was solely thinking naked yet fest, lol due to the heat and well..me being me. This time around I actually planned my looks and everything in a relatively timely manner. I swear! I know we know my usual procrastination..honestly it's not even procrastination I just get inspiration when I do and you can't rush that shit. You just can't. So I let it happen when it does. The issue with that is always with the fucking mailman. We cannot seem to coordinate my inspiration with snail.. in fact express mail. Something always goes wrong.

Captured by photographer of The Daily News, edited by missusmonroe

Captured by Novakane, edited by missusmonroe

Now how long have I been waiting to whip out some chaps?? For maybe two years now. Last year they were a bitch to find, the usual when it comes to me thinking of an idea and waiting for someone to commercialize it so it can be more accessible. *cue just fully design already, I know I know* This year was a bit easier to find them and no, I did not plan for this damn moo song to come out, it just so happened to coincide and you can only guess how many times I was moo'd at.
I've known I wanted chaps, I knew I wanted my ass to hang ~I squatted for times like this bitch~ and I knew I wanted a crystal thong. What else was supposed to happen was an LV tube top and for day 2... well just a whole different look. The Chanel top was to have a bit more structure with some Chanel lining that didn't come in time alongside with a loin cloth style skirt... none of which happened. Because none of which came in time besides from the skirt material and the Chanel material.

Captured by Novakane, edited by missusmonroe
I didn't want to waste the top so I decided to go ahead with it, the skirt on the other hand I had to run around and find the material from my neighborhood stores, next deciding to pair a crystal thong for a much needed pop as well as some cute consistency with my weekend looks. When I tell you I kept thinking my Sunday look wasn't especially up to par because I knew how I wanted it to look, it brought me to some relative points. Afropunk lost some of its flair. Afropunk is definitely some weird costume contest fully and completely now. The judgement-free zone is definitely lost within the ever-growing crowd.

Captured by Novakane, edited by missusmonroe
I say it's some weird costume contest because..well it is. That was my thought my first year going and even though it was cool to see, it's almost as if you just know people were thinking "which look will get me the most attention?" Especially some male looks.. I'm sorry, I'm tired of seeing the same lazy outfit repetition. The platforms, the halo locs, bleached beards. Okay, we get it. For the women, it's like what's the most over-played thing out right now and how can I incorporate that into my hair? Sunflowers, sunflowers, toss some fruit in, and more sunflowers. It's a big ass contest on who can garner the most attention. And I get it, it's exciting and some may think I played very well into the world as well. *shrug* I do these seemingly off-the-wall looks a lot, somehow incorporating these sort of pieces into a party outfit or a beach look and etc, and I was stressing over some things because of how I love presentation and completion; as someone who styles, if I have an idea in my head I want it to play out exactly as planned. Or else I feel as though I'm competing with my ideas and will always be in a "what if" or "if only" state of mind.

Captured by photographer of The Daily Beast, edited by missusmonroe

The flair this year was lost through multiple facets. Before, AP used to really encourage vendors and have apparent native footprints throughout the weekend. Especially when, if we're being honest, the festival wouldn't be as big if it wasn't for Brooklyn natives, if it wasn't for people of color, if it wasn't for blackness being cool. period. The black people collecting together to display various forms of fashion, cool. The black people dancing and partying to beats, drums, guitars, cool. The black people doing all of this and singing and painting and fighting oppression, racism, bigotry, and the white greedy hand...oops. All of this wrapped into a 'come as you are' fest was fucking cool. It's a real bitch and hassle to be able to vend now. There's this official application, a waitlist, a multiple grand fee.. all for starting last year the acceptance of less vendors and a redesign if you will, of the usual layout. Squeeze as much vendor space close together as you can, more room for bars and roped off food places *cue side-eye on the reasoning for that* 
This year I didn't even see the banners banning racism, homophobia, etc etc. Some of those important staples and seemingly morals and not selling points, lost. Especially when a VIP goer gets kicked out of the VIP lounge for sporting a tee calling Afropunk out on selling out to white consumerism.. oops again I might add. I've seen fucking worse and way more blunt but it seems to be an issue when we're now critiquing the white organizers? Because we do know who is actually running the show now correct?
*throws Hennessy byke every so blackly*

captured by Brian Winston Fraser, edited by missusmonroe

The first year I attended Afropunk I was a bit nervous, more so because I didn't know what to expect. I was helping a nonentity vend and I just knew it was a big event but I didn't know what actually went on? I did a let's be real recap about it here as well, detailing what y'all can't see from the damn pics cause it's real nitty-gritty out there. Yet, I felt so oddly embraced. That affirmed my love for New York many moons ago. Nobody cared, come as you are, you're good. Looking back on my get-up, I even didn't love it at the time because of course outfit pieces didn't come when they should've so I had to run around and make do as usual, but everybody ate that shit up lol just didn't...judge. That's lost. As Afropunk gets more commercial and acquires more mainstream artists to their stages comes more attendees there for the motion of it all but not the spirit. It's losing its authenticity. 

Honestly, that may already be lost.

captured by Brian Winston Fraser, edited by missusmonroe

captured by @queendom_heights (L),  Brian Winston Fraser (R), edited by missusmonroe

As the internet crucified an attendee who was literally the most pleasant person around and was there to live his damn life, I just shook my head cause that warm spirit really is gone. It's not for everyone to have or understand, but those who truly fuck with the intention of the event and the message of it get it and should in actuality be paying it forward. If you volunteered this year you could only get one ticket. As in took time out and helped "progress" their "initiatives" and met the requirements for total points, your cap was one GA ticket for one day of your choice. laughoutloud, what? Actually why, so you'd be somewhat forced to give money to them someway somehow even if you already contributed work? One of the ways of "volunteering" was a monetary donation (money). You are in fact kidding, right? A donation to who and to what exactly?

captured by Brian Winston Fraser, edited by missusmonroe

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed myself and had a great time meeting new spirits who I genuinely fucked with. It's just sad to see a longstanding conscious event go south. And let's not even talk about the fake photographers and "artists" looking for clout for their lack of talent. Let's not start.

What are you all's thoughts? Should the white money hand be allowed to grapple on and continue to try and make a flip on culture? Do you really think there was another side to that question? While y'all meditate on that enjoy some flicks from photographers I actually fuck with.

xxoo missusmonroe

Captured by Novakane (L) Luiz Moreira (R), edited by missusmonroe

small booties matter with Ebonee Davis

Captured by @fl.visuals

captured by Brian Winston Fraser, edited by missusmonroe