New York’s blackest and baddest summer festival is poised to make its annual return to the lawn of Commodore Barry Park, transforming Brooklyn into its most littest form for a whole weekend. Afropunk has carved out a sacred tradition of highlighting the diversity of Black music and has, without exception, had consistently some of the best lineups to bless our ears.
The event will take place over two days, between August 24 and 25, on the lawns of Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, New York. See our picks for must-see acts you need see to at the 2019 AfroPunk Festival.
Jilly from Philly is still going strong since her debut in 2000. The neo-soulstress has paved the inroads as one of R&B’s most supreme vocalists reshaping neo-R&B. She has gifted us with too many iconic soundtracks to each and every one of the many heartbreaks of life, from “Gettin’ In the Way,” to “A Long Walk,” and “He Loves Me.” This is definitely one stage you don’t want to miss, and as the headlining act, Miss Jill is surely going to bring it.
As one of alt-R&B’s brightest stars, FKA is no stranger to Afropunk and there’s no better place to experience her in all her surrealist glory than at the annual festival. FKA is the literal embodiment of everything that the festival strives to represent as triple threat singer, dancer, and visual artist. Her critically-acclaimed LP1, LP2 and M3LL155X projects solidified her as one of R&B’s most avant-garde acts. The London-born artist made a return to form after a three-year musical hiatus with her latest single, “cellophane,” this past April that took FKA’s experimental sonic influences to a new level.
Nao, born Neo Jessica Joshua, has been bubbling under the radar as one neo-R&B’s most underrated voices. The Jamaican electro-funk songstress made a splash with “Bad Blood,” off her debut album For All We Know, followed by two singles “Nostalgia” and “Another Lifetime.”
But it’s given the British singer-songwriter time to perfect her self-described “wonky funk” sound, exemplified in her latest piece of work, Saturn; a spiritually poetic ode to modern day love. The Jamaican electro-funk songstress posses a distinct mellow yet cherubic register that is transcendental as evidenced in “If You Ever” and “Orbit.”
If you don’t know Tierra Whack, it’s high time you get familiar with the XXL 2019 Freshman of the Year honoree. She has been on a roll and is only picking up more steam after wrecking the rap scene with her illusory and trippy debut album, Whack World. Consider her the allegorical brainchild of Missy Elliott on steroids. Tierra’s lyrics come at from you all sides and become even more magical once the double entendres really sink in.The Philadelphia native raps with a sense of brevity and realism whose pen game is matched by a few -- despite just being 24.
Ravyn is the love child of Chicago R&B and Motown-influenced pop essence embodied in her 2018 single “Sticky.” The 20-year-old describes her futuristic soulful sound as pixie dust and pops of color, and with her airy vocals, she’s a breath of fresh air. A chance meeting with producer Monte Booker in 2014 kick started her career and now the Atlantic signee is slowly but surely staking her claim as the new wave of R&B.
Leikeli47 is a Virgina-born and New York-raised rapper with an enigmatic presence. The rapper made waves with a string of releases that put her penmanship and creativity on full display. So much so that Roc Nation’s honcho Jay-Z took notice and put her twerk anthem “F**k the Summer Up” on his Tidal playlist in 2015. After a string of mixtapes and singles, Leikeli finally put out her first full length project Wash & Set in 2017 to much fanfare followed by the socially-conscious, Acrylic.
Fader described IAMDDB as a “blaze of sunshine on a summer afternoon" but Diana De Brito has a more stripped down take as a 21-year-old trying to catch all the good vibes and live her life. Describing her sound as urban mixed with influences of her dual Portuguese and Angolan heritage, the Lisbon-born rapper and singer is one hit away from blowing up so you better peep her before the wave passes.
Don’t let the pint-sized beauty fool you. Rico Nasty, neé Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, isn’t afraid to well...get nasty. The DMV rapper carved out a niche on the independent circuit as one of rap’s most weirdest and eclectic voices before linking up with Atlantic. If anime was a walking and talking breathing life form, it’s basically Rico Nasty. She tells it like it is and can nimbly switch between baring her soul on tracks to candy-dipped freak anthems.
The OG of punk Blackness is back and better than ever. From the moment she stepped foot onto the scene, Santi White has always defied perceptions of what it means to be Black. The Philly native subverted expectations and has continued to influence generations since her 2008 introduction on Santigold.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns