This weekend, Brooklyn will celebrate the underground, DIY enthusiasm of Afro−punk culture, with everything from film to music to skating taking over downtown Brooklyn.
Held July 3 to 12 in and around the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the fifth annual Afro−Punk Festival will feature political documentaries, free live music, a skate park, and – a Brooklyn staple –a block party, as it brings together the diverse youth involved in the punk scene and opens doors onto alternative black culture and experience.
It all kicks off this weekend on July 3 with screenings through BAMcinematek, and more to follow July 4–8.
July 5 is dedicated specifically to the work of Spike Lee, with, among others, a screening of “Do The Right Thing,” which marks its 20th anniversary this year and, as a result, has inspired much reflection in the media.
Another major component of the festival – Afro−punk music – kicks off July 4 at the GGMC Car Park (corner of Lafayette and Flatbush avenues), with performances by Whole Wheat Bread, Pure Hell, The Objex, and American Fangs, among others.
On July 5, Earl Greyhound will be the main draw, and then on July 6, there’s Saul Williams, Janelle Monae, and Dallas Austin Experience leading the pack of the more than 40 bands playing the festival.
Lastly, another crucial element to the festival this weekend, is a skate park in the middle of Brooklyn.
One of the main objectives of the festival is to bring skating and BMX culture to city youth, so celebrate your independence July 4 by participating in a skate clinic or watching BMX demos, which continue throughout the weekend at the car park.
July 5 ushers in skating and bike competitions, with a BMX Best Jump Contest, as well as an URBANX Battle for the Streets, where skaters will compete in an official game of “B.I.K.E.” (like “H.O.R.S.E.” but on wheels) and “The Longest 180 Contest.” Then on July 6, it’s a State Best Trick Contest, hosted by Steve Rodriguez of 5Boro.
The celebration ends with a block party blowout on July 12, on Clinton Avenue between Myrtle and Willoughby avenues, with live music from Jon Forte, Joya Bravo, Maiysha, and Shinobi Ninja, DJs, local artists and artisans, and food.
Last year, more than 30,000 people experienced the Afro−Punk Festival, so what are you waiting for?
For more information, go to www.afropunk.com.