The 13th annual Afropunk Festival, which returns to Brooklyn’s Commodore Berry Park on August 26 and 27, distinguishes itself from previous iterations with a new component: artist-curated stages, including one from Solange Knowles

The festival line-up was announced yesterday (April 6), and it confirms that Saint Heron—Knowles’ digital content platform that frequently highlights emerging artists—will have its own stage at the festival. Acts featured on the stage will include fellow genre-benders KingSampha (who sings on “Don’t Touch My Hair” chorus), Thundercat and Sinkane, as well as other to-be-announced special guests. Neither Solange nor the festival confirmed if she will be one of those guests.

Canadian artist Kaytranada will oversee another artist-curated stage with singer-songwriter Nao, drummer and producer Karriem Riggins, turntablist J-Rocc and others. 

Like previous Afropunk festivals, this year’s lineup boasts a mix of established and rising Black musicians across genres, including R&B artists SZA and Willow Smith, blues/rock singer-guitarists Gary Clark Jr. and Son Little, metal band Louder than Quiet and British grime MC Dizzee Rascal. Two R&B acts with radio-dominating hits in the 1990s, Soul II Soul (“Back to Life”) and Macy Gray (“I Try”), will also play the festival.

Built out of a 2003 documentary and subsequent digital platform focused on Black counterculture, the Afropunk Festival grew from a free concert into an international phenomenon with annual stints in Brooklyn, Atlanta, Johannesburg and Paris. This year’s festival responds to contemporary political strife with the theme, “We the People.” 

“Since its founding, the Afropunk Festival’s meaning has stemmed from a desire to connect people who shared a mindset, first in the neighborhoods of New York, then throughout the U.S. and finally around the globe,” reads yesterday’s announcement. “That mindset is less concerned with the contrariness of genre than the strength and unity of otherness.”

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