“In a system dominated by the illusion of White Supremacy, there is a need for the affirmation and celebration of those who exist on the margins.”~Afropunk
The first-ever AFROPUNK festival in the Midwest stands out for a variety of reasons. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, the home of Prince, there’s more block parties and large outdoor performances than one person can attend, but few things as large that explicitly feature Black performers. But it’s also not just another music and beer meet-up.
AFROPUNK’s array of live events and experiences aim to build community through joyous expression, thought-provoking discussion and celebratory musical performances. As their Miami installment celebrated the mixture of Afro, Latin, Caribbean, and Black communities, AFROPUNK’s spokesperson say that they’re aiming to highlight “the Twin Cities’ roots of raw music spanning back to the 1950s” and the area’s “rich culture of Black artists and creativity.”
In doing so, Minneapolis-St. Paul musicians—rappers Blood $moke Body, future soul musicians MMYYKK & The Blackbeat Theory, First Ave Best New Bands of 2021 EVV and Papa Mbye—will be sharing the stage with R&B singer Ari Lennox.
The musical selections follow AFROPUNK’s evolving ethos that originally started in the early ‘00s with a young Black presence in the glaringly white punk scene that grew into a larger movement and national festival. The whole thing takes place specifically on Juneteenth weekend of June 18-19.
BLOOD $MOKE BODY are thrilled at the opportunity: “We’ve had experience doing a national level festival before with Soundset. It’s a very unique experience. Getting to perform in front of that many people with that kind of sound system is euphoric. Afropunk has been a culturally iconic event and from the first time we even heard of Afropunk we knew we were perfect for it because we were deeply involved in the punk scene back in the day. We even had multiple OG’s tell us we gotta play Afropunk sometime in the future so this feels like the result of years of manifestation.”