After last year’s kick off events at Terminal West, the Brooklyn-based movement is bringing an extremely impressive and diverse bill to our city. Noteworthy acts include: D’Angelo & the Vanguard; Flying Lotus; Santigold; Thundercat; Death Grips; Public Enemy; Tyler, the Creator; Saul Williams and Danny Brown. Fans of a variety of musical genres should not have any issues finding artists they’ll appreciate, though it should be noted that festival-goers looking for local talent might be disappointed. This year’s Afropunk Fest, the first official festival to held in Atlanta, will only have four local acts for the entire two-day event: neo-soul crooner Curtis Harding, party-punk quintet Baby Baby, luxury trap purveyors Vavlt Boyz and R&B dance king Rahbi.
Founded in 2003, Afropunk has been one of the main news outlets for everything punk, hardcore and alternative in some of the locations where black culture has thrived. The movement, as they call it, is an attack on the perception that musical genres, and subsequently the subcultures that derive from them, has an overreaching influence that goes beyond racial and ethnic boundaries. Afropunk has held a primary focus on the happenings of the black punk and alternative scenes in Paris, London and New York, particularly Brooklyn. With the emergence of Atlanta as, what some have deemed, the center for a new black cultural and arts Renaissance, it’s rewarding to see a festival of this magnitude expand into our city. However, with so many worthy artists to choose from, it seems odd that the festival organizers didn’t choose to put greater emphasis on highlighting Atlanta by incorporating more local acts into the lineup. There certainly was ample time for promoters to plan and it would appear there is room on the bill, so what gives? At least there’s always next year.