On a balmy, sun-drenched day inside Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park,?Afropunk Festival, the two-day event celebrating—and creating an unimpeded space for—the music and arts of black culture,?is ushering in its 14th year. And it’s doing so the only way it knows how: with a fervent and boundless spirit that inspires its headliners and showgoers alike to conjure the tradition of their heritage and unleash their individualism.
A feast for the senses, visually the annual happening translates to polychromatic, hyper-detailed looks, and lots of above-the-neck revelry.?There are the head-swiveling hairstyles of all shapes and lengths, from buoyant, sculpturally molded dark coils to waist-grazing neon box braids. And then there are the high-octane makeup statements. Intricate, African-inspired face paint, flicks of high-voltage eyeliner, and gothic stamps of lip color are among the array of bold flourishes.
With no shortage of swagger, a slew of rising performers make a point of perpetuating the beauty narrative. From R&B singer Jessie Reyez, who picked up two nominations at the 2018 MTV?VMAs?and just dropped her new remix of feminist anthem “Body Count,” helping secure the half-updo as the style of the summer with her wild raven curls, to Zuri Marley, a scion of reggae royalty striking out on her own with a feature on Dev Hynes’s?new album?Negro Swan?and a trail of freshly peroxided plaits, these seven acts embody the unspoken understanding that at Afropunk, excess and idiosyncratic self-expression?are?a way of life.