Photo Credit: Sean Jamar
Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 ©Sean J. Rhinehart For more of me: http://seanjamar.com/

Afropunk 2014: Another Beautiful Weekend Orbiting Planet Brooklyn

We’ve still yet to see the swimming pool. We’re not even sure the pool exists anymore, but Virago Magazine was thrilled to descend upon Planet Brooklyn’s Cosmic Freaks n’ Geeks Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Afropunk. If you’re not familiar, GET WITH IT, because Afropunk is one of the few places where burgeoning artists and seasoned veterans alike get to showcase their stuff. If you ever wanted to feel like you were at Black Woodstock, then this is your home.

Some stand out moments resided with Bad Brains, who were introduced by NYC Mayor De Blasio’s daughter, Chiara.

 

 

Valerie June crooned in her folky Joan Armatrading/June Carter, Tennesse-style Moonshine blues kinda way, while Lianne La Havas flew like an angel over the crowd with her ethereal and moody vocals.

 

SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Valerie June - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
Valerie June. Photo Credit: SeanJamar.com
SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Lianne La Havas - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
Lianne La Havas. Afropunk 2014. Photo Credit: SeanJamar.com

Body Count wailed with undeniable levels of thrash and a mosh pit that would have intimidated any seasoned head-banger, but not the guy pictured here who’s wielding a real-life machete.

SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Body Count - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
Body Count Mosh Pit. Photo Credit: SeanJamar.com
SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Body Count - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
Bodycount. Photocredit: SeanJamar.com

Meshell Ndegeocello was graceful and powerful as usual and D’Angelo (who declined photography) tore it up with Fishbone with a stirring rendition of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1973 Thankful n’ Thoughtful, with D’Angelo on clavinet and Roots Mark Kelley on bass.

SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Meshell Ndegeocello - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
Meshell Ndegeocello. Photo Credit: SeanJamar.com

The Internet of the Odd Future collective brought in the thunder of the young ones, proving that soul ain’t lost.  Syd tha Kyd has got some pipes and really doesn’t give a f$#k. We love her.

SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; The Internet - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
The Internet

One breakthrough performance that totally rocked our world, however, was that of Ms. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. If you thought a one hour set couldn’t feel like an entire spiritual experience, then Sharon set about to teach you. Her energy was at an all-time high, busting out the James Brown Camel walk, Ride the Pony, The Wobble, The Twist, the Mashed Potatoes, the Tina Turner shimmy and giving a whole group of women the opportunity to shake if for themselves.

But just when you thought Sharon might play her last tune and shimmy right outta there, she brought it down for a second and talked about her loss of faith during her cancer treatment.

SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014

 

 

I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. No hair. No eyebrows. And then I went on facebook and twitter and they were saying, “Sharon, come back!” So this is a revival. I am so full of joy. I am so blessed. So I ask you now, what would Tina say? Cancer! Get on up and get on out!

Then she and the Dap Kings brought it right back up with “Money” and closed it all out with “100 days, 100 nights.” It was church.

 

SeanJamar.com: Afropunk Festival - The Bands - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014 &emdash; Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Afropunk Festival - Commodore Barry Park - BK USA - 2014
Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings

 

 

The legacy of Afropunk continues and it would make pioneers like George Clinton, Tina Turner,  Sun Ra, Betty Davis and Jimi Hendrix proud.

Click on the link for more awesome photos of Afropunk 2014!

About Kristen Demesilda

Kristen Demesilda
Writer and Photographer for Virago Magazine, Kristen grew up listening to vinyl and highlighting the dictionary. Her work has appeared in IrockJazz.com, The East Harlem Journal, Boston's Culturehive, the Ithacan and other publications. Her love of music cannot be eclipsed by her love of words. She's been coined the "Akira Kurosawa of Blogs" by such people as herself. An aspiring musician, she has a serious penchant for peach-flavored anything, multi-tasking, slow-paced thrillers and dreams of going back to South America, laying on the beach, and drinking from a coconut.
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