Real Significance of The AFROPUNK Festival Is Already Much More Than Just Music Festival, It Became a Part Of Black Culture!
One of the most important cultural events in the history of the American rock experience recently took place in Brooklyn. The AFROPUNK Festival turned 10 years old in 2015; however, it is important to note that the African American influence on punk culture dates back quite a few more decades.
AFROPUNK is significant in the sense that it is a celebration of unity within a movement that has been around, in one way or another, since 1971. Many punk historians agree that the Detroit band Death, which was made up of three African American brothers who went from funk to hard rock after being inspired by performances by Alice Cooper and The Who, is the earliest example of the Afro-punk spirit.
What is interesting about Death is that their story is somewhat similar to that of Bad Brains, a group of musicians that were into jazz before deciding to veer into punk. While the formal American punk scene was developing in the 1970s, the Afro-punk movement took a bit of a sideline into hardcore; nonetheless, punk musicians in the United Kingdom were paying close attention to Afro Caribbean rhythms. To this effect, The Clash were inspired by the reggae sounds played by Jamaican immigrants, and they incorporated that musical style to great effect.
Throughout the 20th century, the contribution by African Americans to the punk was very significant, but the Afro-punk movement back then was very fragmented. By comparison, the Black Rock Coalition was very organized and ready to welcome those within the Afro-punk sphere, but more needed to be done. By the time rapper Ice-T started recording and performing hardcore thrash with Body Count in the early 1990s, the cat was out of the bag and something needed to be done about the Afro-punk scene.
Enter Afro-Punk: The Rock, a groundbreaking documentary about this venerable experience, which was still deep in the underground until the film was released and hit the festival circuit in 2003. Thanks to that film, Afro-punks from around the world saw that this is a beautiful scene that needed to become a movement, which is now centered around the annual AFROPUNK Festival.
The film and AFROPUNK Festival are everything that director James Spooner and his producers ever wanted. Thanks to their vision, we not only have the Festival but also modern films such as Dope, which features an Afro-punk background theme, and the 2013 documentary A Band Called Death.