Alexander McQueen said “youth culture now really looks back and embraces the past, but keeps it contemporary but not sticking to one particular style.” This past weekend, I attended another year at Afropunk Festival and the fashion scene of today’s youth paid homage to 70’s style, disco fashion, raging punk threads, and just pure mixing of styles of varying decades.
Afropunk Festival is a music festival held annually in Brooklyn, New York since 2005. Upon waiting in line with my younger sister and older cousin, my eyes had a literal visual feast. There were girls mimicking African face paint featured in Beyoncé’s “Sorry” music video, men dressed in platforms and dashikis, women with flowers adorned in their hair, and a bevy of younger children rocking John Lennon sunglasses with matching 70’s themed attires.
Anyone who’s been to Afropunk, knows that during the festival’s two days, creative inspiration is at an all-time high. This year there was a strong resurgence of accepting one’s heritage and promoting black self-love. Many of those in attendance showcased outfits that spoke positive messages like “black girls rock”, “flexin in my melanin”, “black power”, images of black beauty in the shape of chocolate covered woman with a huge afro, and so on. Being a spectator this year had me think to myself, are we in a new black renaissance?
There is a movement within the black community, specifically today’s youth, that unabashedly promotes being comfortable in and proud of their black skin and culture. As, someone born during the time when straight hair, real and unreal, were the norm, and getting a perm touchup was just proper maintenance, I was profoundly shocked at the lack of straight hair present during this festival. Afros, curls, big over the top dreads, and other flamboyant styles were the dominant looks.
Even during one of the Afropunk after dark events that I attended, Tacos n Chill, hosted by CRWN magazine, continued the outpour of black self-love. I was able to talk briefly with Lindsey, the editor in chief for CRWN. She explained that Tacos n Chill was a meetup for Afropunk attendees to meetup, drink, eat, and share good vibes. The event was also a means to promote CRWN’s first print edition of their magazine, with cover girl Whitney White, aka Naptural85.
It seems that today’s youth wants to do away with European beauty standards, while promoting a message of self-love. I hadn’t felt more proud of being black in a long time. My sister’s generation are “woke AF”. It’s truly a beautiful thing. Reflecting on their attitude about their style choices is very reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s culture. Today’s youth are more socially progressive and politically aware. Promoting political messages in their fashion, technology, and art.
What a time to be alive.
Featured Image Credit: C-Heads