Eleven years since its initial launch in Brooklyn, AFROPUNK took to Alexander Palace on Saturday and made its debut in London. Headlined by Grace Jones, the one-day festival was a true celebration of diversity and equality!
With help from i-D and Soulection AFROPUNK curated a line-up that brought together some of the most unique artists from across the spectrum of punk, hip-hop and soul. Performances from the likes of Loyle Carner, Lady Leshurr, Laura Mvula, Goldlink, Vodun, Purple Ferdinand and Kwabs to name a few were highlights as well as the long anticipated live UK debut of TDE’s first lady SZA. 2014’s Mercury award winners Young Fathers, were standouts with their eclectic and flawless set on the ‘No Hate’ stage.
It was Brixton born beatmaker Gaika who captivated the audience with his fresh and fearless sound, delivering a high energy set, blending hip-hop, dance-hall, garage and bass heavy productions. We all felt it and a few of us even said it – Gaika is making music we’ve been craving to hear, but never actually knew it. Performing to an audience who had either recently discovered Gaika or were literally being introduced to him for the first time, he is the epitome of the ethos of AfroPunk.
It was during this weekend that I finally got my live introduction to the sound of H09909 with their punk, metal sound layered with rap. A little heavy at first, but within two minutes I was hooked and the crowd were totally absorbed, rocking out and moshing hard. H09909 had a commanding presence that left a lasting impression.
Climaxing with the whole crowd flooding to the ‘No Hate’ stage, we all watched Grace Jones close the day in mesmerising style – covered in body paint and effortlessly holding the room – it was the perfect performance to end the first #AFROPUNKLondon.