Since Afropunk began 15 years ago as a free Brooklyn gathering centered on James Spooner’s “Afro-Punk” documentary, the festival has expanded to five cities, become a street-style destination and gathered hundreds of thousands of fiercely creative Black folks for music, food, merch and community. This weekend (August 25 to 26), favorites including Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, Miguel, Pusha T, and The Internet hit the stage at Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park. Up-and-comers including H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, Jamila Woods and Coco & Breezy were also on tap. The festival’s Activist Row housed Color of Change, Brooklyn Community Services and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation among others. Over the years, some folks have wondered if a $75 festival with top-selling acts still counts as “punk.” Here are 20 shots by photographer Kadeem Johnson that prove that, despite its popularity, the Afropunk crowd hasn’t lost its independent spirit.
Kadeem Johnson is a New York native with a deep passion and knack for street photography, styling and creative direction. His photos have been featured in Ebony Magazine, GQ, Vogue and Travel + Leisure.