Here’s a curated list of recommended acts to see at this year’s AFROPUNK Fest! We also interviewed Nova Twins and FUCK U PAY US on the importance of AFROPUNK as a platform for Black musicians.
AFROPUNK festival is upon us and this means celebrating beautiful and Black music, art and culture. Brooklyn is gearing up for a weekend full of innovative artists, empowering panels and dope music to jam out to! A festival that has curated spaces for the Black diaspora, it has been known as a “radical act of self care” and an inviting environment for people to come and be simply who they are. Headlining this year are heavy hitters like Erykah Badu, Tyler the Creator and Miguel. If you’re looking for a guide of badass shredders this weekend, look no further. Check out our curated list of folks you can’t miss this year!
Also, don’t forget to check out our special mini interviews with two of the badass bands playing at AFROPUNK Fest this year!
Frontwoman of the nu-disco band, Escort, Adeline Michele holds her own on Afropunk’s stage this weekend. The Parisian-born dreamy vocalist and bassist brings disco-soul to the forefront and sure to capture AFROPUNK audiences. Check out her latest single!
English musician and singer Mahalia started playing guitar at open mics at age 12. A year later she was signed to Atlantic Records. The industry veteran’s sleek voice and strong presence is sure to catch eyes and ears at this year’s AFROPUNK.
The electrifying sounds of Chanese Elife’s music fuses soul, R&B, EDM and trap. The self described “harlem-bred, 6-stringed, chip-toothed singing magician” is ready to shred at this weekend’s festival!
One to keep your eye on is the vocalist and guitarist, Kat Dyson, who will make an appearance at AFROPUNK’s Power Jam. The phenomenal musician was featured as a guitarist and vocalist with Prince and has performed with George Clinton, T.I., Celine Dion and Bo Diddley, just to name a few. Power Jam will feature new voices, legacy giants and legends to highlight the impact Black women make in music and culture.
Emerging artist Sophia Urista joins AFROPUNK Fest’s Power Jam this year. The multifaceted musician and vocalist is ead singer of NYC based band “Rebel and The Titan” and the recurring front woman for the 9 piece brass band “Brass Against”. Catch this amazing artist at this year’s fest!
Also joining AFROPUNK’s Power Jam is the passionate self-taught guitarist Felicia Collins. Known for being lead guitarist and vocalist on the CBS Orchestra with the David Letterman Show, Collins’ versatile talents has taken her to work with a variety of bands and theaters.
The astounding Malaysian singer-songwriter joins AFROPUNK fest this year with her invigorating vocals. Mentored by Pharrell, Yuna’s talents has captured the world with her beautiful and innovative ways in creating music. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see her work her magic!
H.E.R. has risen as one of R&B’s most promising artist in the past couple of years. Her vulnerable and raw style coupled has gained her prominent recognition and has garnered collaborations with Bryson Tiller, Lil Yachty and Khalid. H.E.R’s performance is one you need to make sure you watch!
She Shreds had the opportunity to chat with one of AFROPUNK lineups, Nova Twins. The East London punk duo has been changing up punk scene with their unapologetic music. Vocalist and guitarist Amy Love, and bassist Georgia South share a bit on what it’s like to play at AfroPunk.
On Being a Black woman Bassist in today’s industry
Georgia: It feels incredible to be a female black bassist in today’s industry. I feel like we’re reclaiming our space in the rock world. It should be a space for everyone, any gender or race. Our crowds are getting more and more diverse every time we do a show and we love it. I just want to inspire young people to think outside the box they think they may have been given and be anything they want to be whether its a female black bass player or an astronaut. Anything is possible.
On AFROPUNK highlighting Black Women in music:
Amy: They are giving black people a platform and a voice. As the opportunity’s where and still are slim in punk and rock music. They were the first people to pick us up. Matthew Morgan one of the organisers found us from day dot and as supported us ever since. We are really looking forward to playing their Brooklyn event this year!
Its truly an amazing space and the highlights diversity within black culture. No labels, no boxes, just a chance to let your true colours show!
On the instruments they play:
Georgia: I only play a Westone Thunder 1 Bass which is an 80s Japanese brand! Mine’s a super rare passive red one as they don’t make them anymore (I got it off a mates Dad for £100 a few years ago.. he probably didn’t know it was rare haha) I have been searching far and wide to find another one but haven’t been successful so far… I think they’re the best basses – they’re tonally amazing, you can smash a tonne of pedals through it and the pick ups don’t glitch the sound and they look sexy as fuck. I now have 3 Westone basses and 1 Westone guitar… it’s getting out of hand haha! I play a cherry red Gretsch Double Jet, which is great for a thick tone and compliments my pedal board nicely. I have also used an El Maya in recordings at times as they are lovely to play and have such clarity to their tone. I might consider getting one of those for my next.
Fuck U Pay Us (FUPU)
FUPU is a creative resistance punk band ready to be real AF. Their core is unapologetic and bold, Black and queer, and for the people. She Shreds chatted with The Uhuruverse, vocalist and electric guitarist with FUPU.
On the importance of representation of Black women guitarists/bassists:
I think it is important for representation for the children! Femme children need to see role models, Black femme children need to see Black femme musicians. All over the world non Black people are always broadcasting images of Black femmes which are racist, classist, stereotypes and caricatures of Black femmes depicted. When little Black girls see real Black femmes doing the diversity of things that Black femmes do, in this case music, it is empowering and it is liberating and it is inspiring. I hope that little Black girls see FUPU and know they can do anything they want to do independent of any care for male gaze or approval, yt nods or validation, capitalist carrots or rewards—that they too can write their own story and make their own soundtrack !
On AFROPUNK highlighting Black women musicians:
Afropunk is doing all the right things—Afropunk is for and by Black folks and is a platform to highlight Black music. That is an anomaly because everywhere else in the music industry centers yt musicians. Racism is still rampant in the music industry. I see the invisibility of the most talented Black QTPOC (queer trans people of color) and I see the praise and success of far too many average or less than average yt (white) musicians. It’s nothing but racism! And ultimately if we did not have Afropunk, a solid platform that has existed for 20-plus years to give us space we wouldn’t have any and we would possibly never be seen on the world stage.
On what The Uhuruverse plays:
I play on tour the B.C. Rich Warlock (which I call The Corpse Bride). At home I play the Dean Flying V (which I call the Mummy’s Groom—bc it was purchased in the U.K.) I prefer metal guitars.