The two-day Afropunk festival returns to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, this weekend and will welcome to the stage well-known acts such as Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz and Kelis, but the black-centric fest is also a platform for a ton of emerging talent too. Inspired by a documentary that bodes the same name, the festival has been returning to New York for 11 years, and has also expanded this year to Atlanta and Paris.
In past years, organizers have not charged admission, but given the festival's growing following of more than 60,000 attendees, will now sell tickets to guarantee entry. The lineup draws a highly diverse crowd each year since artists perform all different genres from electronic to soul music, leading the New York Times to proclaim Afropunk “the most multicultural festival in the U.S." Here, we take a look at some of the acts that are too good to miss this weekend at Commodore Barry Park:
Even at age 67, Grace Jones is as unassailable as ever. The singer has tried her hand at both disco and new wave music, and succeeded, but now she returns with an electro-funk sounds. Vogue has hailed the artist an "inimitable and larger-than-life Jamaican fashion and music icon." And she is guaranteed to come out on stage dressed in over-the-top garb, providing for quite the show.
South African producer Petite Noir has forged a genre of his own. While he has self-described his work as "noirwave," his music has been said in layman's speak to be a "dark mix of 80s electro and African styles." His debut record, "King of Anxiety," was released this year and boasts songs such as "Shadows" that really show his range as an artist.
Congolese performer Young Paris has formulated melodies that vacillate between rap and electronic, with traditional African drumbeats mixed in the middle. He appears on stage with his brigade of siblings, whose parents are world-famous dancers, performing choreography in the background.
Solana Rowe, better known as SZA, is a soulful R&B singer hailing from St. Louis. The artist has brought her vocals to collaborations with rappers Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and Schoolboy Q. Her song "Babylon," which was produced by Miller and featured Lamar, illustrates the strength of her songwriting.
Tickets are $75 for a weekend pass or $45 for a day ticket. The festival also offers the option to volunteer for a ticket, with details on its site. Check out the festival's Soundcloud page to get a preview of these artists and others before the festival.