Many critics are quick to label AfroPunk Festival as “The Black Coachella.” That comparison only reaffirms the ongoing appropriation and stereotyping of black culture. It’s possible for anyone to tease their hair into a ‘fro, braid their locks into cornrows, and get dressed up in pro-black attire. But blackness isn’t a costume that can be purchased at UrbanOutfitters or shopped via Instagram.
The annual festival, which takes place in Brooklyn, draws thousands of men, women, and children who are unapologetically black. Janelle Monaé, Ice Cube, Saul Williams, TV on the Radio, and Tyler the Creator were among this year’s musical acts. When attendees weren’t being their carefree selves and dancing throughout the park, they were eating eclectic street food, shopping black-owned businesses, and lending their voices on “Activism Row,” where grassroots and non-profit organizations educated and engaged the masses on racial, political, and gender equality issues.
Photographer and artist Corey Presha captured some of the most vibrant and vocal individuals at AfroPunk. Scroll through to see the amazing street style photos and to read what these festivalgoers had to say about living in their black skin and adorning it however they choose.