Sludge-punk, peace-punk, punk-funk…. I’m not too crazy about so many subgenres that pop up that attempt to categorize and define punk music’s many influences. I don’t know, it seems it puts punk in the very definitive box it always was supposed to break out of. I don’t like definitions as a rule because lazy people use them as excuses to generalize and just, well, be lazy. But they are indeed necessary to some degree and you can’t just run around not describing or defining something can you? Or can you? hmmmmm.
Well, one thing I can’t argue with is the Afropunk moniker. When non-punks (those who are not punks) think of punk, chances are they are thinking of angry white, working class people who are scarily dressed and are intimidating with their big boots, torn jeans, leather jackets, tattoos, pierced eyebrows and mohawk hair styles.
Of course, we all know better. Yes, some do fit the above description but we know punks also come in all forms. Some tatted to high heaven and some (like me) not a drop of ink on our skin, some with so many piercings it’s a wonder they don’t leak water and others (once again, like me) with nary a piercing (though I’ve had them).. Yes, punks come in all shapes, shades, ethnicities and social class. Some are “educated” at universities, some on the street. Some are successful business people (no, it’s not an oxymoran) and some are homeless or squatters, often by choice, refusing to participate in the “system”.
and yes, many are decidedly not white, they can be black, brown, yellow, red… I think I saw a green punk once. Well Afropunk is one of those festivals that celebrates the heritage of Afros in punk from Bad Brains to the Rasta and reggae culture that so influenced Joe Strummer, the Clash and Rancid to funk-punk masters like George Clinton to everyday punks all over the world who know that if you strip away the tragic ignorance and our brutal history (can’t be done but if you could) that skin color wouldn’t have a thing to do with much of nothing, much less being a punk.
I always dug the AfroPunk Festival when I was in NYC. Granted it wasn’t THAT different from going to a plain jane punk festival in NYC. By definition a punk festival in NYC (or LA for that matter) is going to have some color, some flavor.. and I don’t know about you, but I don’t give a shit about anything without flavor. Sameness bores me. Differentness feels good and feeds the soul, at least it does mine and I just can’t understand people who want everyone to be like them and their families. That sounds really boring and really incestuous in the sex department.
So what am I saying? is Afropunk Fest different or not.. yes and no. Different enough to be interesting, same enough to be good. Sounds like a good Election year campaign slogan yes?
Lots of good punk music (and other styles) but from lots of different perspectives than your typical punk music festival. They are having a little block party this weekend I guess as a warm up for the big event August 25th-26th.
and if you haven’t been then you should check it out. I know if I was still in NYC I would.
Oh keeping with our “diversity is easy” theme, this just in: If you happen to live on the other coast of the U.S., California, then here is what looks like a cool little ska/reggae festival going down. I can’t make it. I’ll be 40,000 feet up in the air, flying to Colombia.
What’s your excuse?