MANHATTAN, NY—When the punk rock movement began all over the world about 1975, the music scene was dominated by white male musicians. Black musicians in punk became a fringe movement, led by bands like Bad Brains and Fishbone. The Black Rock Coalition formed in New York City in 1985 as an artists’ collective and non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the creative freedom and works of black musicians. This alternative music scene remained somewhat underground until director James Spooner chronicled the roles of African Americans, both musicians and fans, in the 2003 film Afro-Punk: The Rock.
Spooner was among those who helped launch the first AfroPunk music festival in 2005 in Brooklyn, New York. It became an annual festival, and in 2015 franchised a similar festival in Paris, France. Musical performances now represent persons of color in many genres.
AfroPunk Brooklyn returned to Commodore Barry Park on August 27-28, 2016. In addition to a variety of avant garde punk, funk, rock, jazz, blues, rhythm & blues and hip-hop performances on three stages, the venue also hosted food trucks, international cuisine, a clothing mall and opportunities to engage in social and political activism. Many in the audience were dressed to impress.
Show date: August 27-28, 2016