Truth and Inspiration: Photos of Afropunk 2019
Afropunk 2019 celebrated black music and culture with performances by FKA twigs, Kamasi Washington, Brittany Howard, the Suffers and more.
Kamasi Washington's powerful band closed out Afropunk's Gold Stage on Sunday, 25 August, which was once again held in Commodore Barry Park. His blistering saxophone really connected with the audience. I hadn't seen him perform in a couple of years at least -- I had caught his first NYC shows at Blue Note four years prior -- so I raptly watched the entirety of his set which included the transcendent "Truth" from his Harmony of Difference EP. Each member of his band took a solo too, including his pops, Rickey Washington, on flute and Miles Mosley on upright bass.
Ho99o9's Eaddy gave credit to Bad Brains performance at an Afropunk fest five or six years prior as inspiration for his own band. I don't think I had seen the hip-hop cyberpunk group before but their pounding, thrashing music set the mosh pit alight. Perhaps the best advice for anyone jumping into their pit would be to attach a toe tag in advance.
On the complete opposite end musically, the Suffers, a soul/funk group fronted by Kam Franklin performed more riveting music attuned to their Gulf Coast roots. The group's vibrance was only rivaled by the mid-day sun at Afropunk. The Suffers are touring throughout the summer and will continue to play gigs in Gulf states through early November.
FKA twigs performed a sultry set at Afropunk. And just a week or so later, she revealed details of a new album Magdalene coming out this fall (produced in part by Nicolas Jaar) and announced tour dates as well. Tickets go on presale and regular sale this week so check the dates here.
Brittany Howard, lead singer of the Alabama Shakes, will release her debut solo album Jaime this month and ended up being a surprise announcement for Afropunk. She released a video for her first single, "Stay High", in July.
Afropunk's motto for 2019 was #AfropunkWeSeeYou -- which may have been a response to some negative publicity the fest received last year. But in any case, the festival is still a great place to people watch. Check out their quick video recap called "Body Politics" here and check out more photos of people and performers like Danny Brown, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, and more, below.
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