This photo series documents my first time at the Afropunk Music festival in Brooklyn. Often focused on the human experience, my work slaloms between portrait, documentary, and fashion as it explores the stories of unheard voices; in the past, I’ve engaged with subjects like blackness, home, and sexual identity. As I was preparing to head from my hometown of Montreal to New York for the festival, I realized how much the event encapsulates these themes. In a way, Afropunk—despite its name—celebrates a culture that isn’t tied to a specific land.
Inspired by the eponymous 2001 documentary by James Spooner, Afropunk was created after the filmmaker realized the necessity of creating a space for black people who consistently found themselves in predominantly white spaces. The event, which started as a mongrel film screening and concert, has evolved into a full-fledged music festival, and despite the polarized opinions about those changes, its core has stayed the same.
Afropunk honors the mindset of freedom and acceptance, both of which are tangible on the festival grounds. Stepping into Commodore Barry Park, I was showered by an immeasurable amount of love from strangers. I don’t think the complexity and beauty of Afropunk can be fully encapsulated in photographs, but hopefully these images give you a taste of the magic. Here are a few of the beautiful souls I crossed paths with over the weekend.