Whenever I’ve seen pictures of Afropunk, I’ve felt nothing but jealously. The pictures of long ass braids, different shaped afros, face art and the slayage in fashion by melanin-filled women is nothing short of breathtaking.
I’ve imagined what it must be like to be at a festival where it is a unfiltered celebration of blackness - all blackness. A place where black men and women of different shades, sexualities and abilities have a moment where they unapologetically tell the world that they beautiful and beautiful not by society’s standards, but on their own terms.
I have dreamed of the day when Afropunk would arrive in London, so I can stand among black women and hear the British screams of jubilation as we celebrate ourselves on an open field. I’ve dreamed of the day when Afropunk arrives in our multicultural city and I can take pictures and place them all over social media and relive the moment forever and ever.
So when the news broke that Afropunk was coming to London, you could imagine my excitement and the celebration among the black girls I know. Yet my celebration quickly turned to confusion.
Why? MIA is the headline act. Yes, we know she’s no stranger to controversy (yawn, what female popstar isn’t?) And we know she’s always played by her own rules. By when you play by the rules of getting paid to be at a festival that celebrates black culture, after having purposely disrespected black struggles, we need to have a serious conversation.