As people rally across the world for Black liberation, AFROPUNK, the world-renowned festival and movement, is using technology this year to bring together the largest virtual gathering of the worldwide Black creative community in one, curated online space for the first time in its 15-year history.
PLANET AFROPUNK – the theme and destination of this year’s Black cultural explosion is taking place on October 23-25. AFROPUNK’S 2020 festival pays homage to the reality that the upheavals experienced over the course of the year are far from novel; they have been central to the Black experience across space and time, which is recognized in this year’s theme, “PLANET AFROPUNK: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE IS BLACK.”
Through PLANET AFROPUNK, a space that has been curated for the global Black community to explore and celebrate the depth and breadth of what it means to be Black on this planet. As the engine room of the Black experience, PLANET AFROPUNK is a fluid, digital space designed to embrace the plurality of black stories and individualities that are experienced through Black music, art, conversation and activism, across borders and continents.
Following the events of this year, PLANET AFROPUNK has been designed to encourage the continued live interaction, activism and debate on racial justice normally associated with its physical festival. There will be space curated to explore everything from politics and social justice, meditation and Black self-care, through to the trend-setting cultural hot-takes emanating within the Black community. With this year’s festival taking place just ten days before the US 2020 presidential election, the intent of these conversations will be to bring momentum to community engagement, find collective solutions to long-standing issues affecting the Black community and to, most of all, encourage the AFROPUNK community to vote.
PLANET AFROPUNK will create new ways to experience the next generation of Black creativity, music and culture through the support of this year’s many partners, who will power AFROPUNK’s iconic digital destinations, alongside BOSE, who will be fueling the music for AFROPUNK’S festival on the Pink Stage. This year’s digital destinations include:
Ideaville, powered by Target, will be one of the most exciting and anticipated destinations at PLANET AFROPUNK. With keynote speakers, AFROPUNK Solution Sessions and luminary interviews, Ideaville will empower connections between people, ideas and solutions. With AFROPUNK, Target will spotlight Black voices and stories, while creating a safe space for all of AFROPUNK’s communities, featuring a Black Queer Town Hall and community soap box.
Bites&Beats will return this year presented by Grubhub, which will be offering virtual festival-goers access to Black-owned restaurants in North America, which will serve-up curated menus for this year’s festival.
Art & Times will create an immersive gallery experience, celebrating hand-picked work from South African artists in collaboration with Esprit, showcasing how unusual and original combinations create something truly unique.
Hair & Beauty Village will explore all of the facets of Black hair through the eyes of creators, innovators, visionaries and artists to manifest conversations, creativity and community. Hair plays a central role in the identity, self-concept and political consciousness of Black people, and Maui Moisture will be powering important conversations on-platform for festival-goers.
Activism Row will generate discussions on prison reform, the failings of the criminal justice system and the systemic racism and segregation plaguing the school system with Ben & Jerry’s, which is leading the social mission to eliminate injustices in Black communities. Non-profit organization AARP will also be celebrating Black roots and activism through a video tribute and encouraging voter registration.
As a result of these unique partnerships, PLANET AFROPUNK will be a completely free virtual experience for its entire global audience, made solely possible by its brand partners. Festival-goers will be given an option to donate money to organizations including Black Futures Lab, Color of Change, Movement for Black Lives, Equal Justice Initiative, Fair Count, and The Bail Project among others.
By enabling Black culture to be surfaced in new ways through technology, AFROPUNK is opening up a unique space to create the most polarizing conversations that are needed in pop culture.
Nichelle Sanders, Strategic Advisor at AFROPUNK, said: “Being Black on planet earth is like science fiction. It's crazy. With the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others, we have seen the pain and trauma of the past resurrected, and all while suffering through a global pandemic. But, as Black people, our unity and creativity are our greatest weapon against oppression and adversity. To convene a global family reunion at this moment in time is therefore essential.
“Now more than ever we need the resilience and creativity of our community to keep our culture alive and thriving. In creating PLANET AFROPUNK we’ve designed a safe space for our community to celebrate and inspire, cry and shout, and to heal and motivate one another. AFROPUNK’s approach to activism and fighting oppression has always been to celebrate Black music, art and culture – and ultimately Black joy. The AFROPUNK community is global, and we’ve built this planet to connect seamlessly. All across the world we are connecting in sameness and in difference to discover the joy in our Blackness, but also in the visual and musical artists and authors. And this is what AFROPUNK enables.
“We can’t wait to see the faces, hear the voices and connect the AFROPUNK community - as unique, expressive and unapologetic as it is - to each other. Welcome to PLANET AFROPUNK!”
For AFROPUNK, music, art, supporting Black-owned businesses and in-depth conversations will be the foundation of this global community’s three-day virtual reunion. There will also be opportunities to circulate the Black dollar at this year’s all-digital Spinthrift Market with AFROPUNK’s community of small businesses, artisans and restaurants, as well as a chance to focus on mindfulness and restoration at AFROPUNK’s first-ever Radical Self-Care destination.
Spinthrift Market will feature a curated selection of black owned vendors from around the world. Guests will discover makers and creators across many different product areas including beauty, fashion, wellness, gifts, services and more.
PLANET AFROPUNK’S 2020 line-up will be announced in the coming weeks and will feature headline artists from around the world. The festival will be streamed at PLANETAFROPUNK.com with exclusive content on Facebook Live from October 23 to October 25.