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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!