Much has changed about the Afropunk Festival since 2005, the year it started as a free weekend of hardcore concerts and skateboarding in a paved lot in a still-gentrifying downtown Brooklyn. Since then, Afropunk has expanded into an international brand, with festivals in cities like Atlanta, Paris, and Johannesburg. The original Brooklyn flavor has evolved into a multistage, ticketed event taking over a 10-acre park, with a musical lineup that’s been broadened beyond strictly punk rock in order to attract a larger crowd. Still, one essential aspect of Afropunk survives: the spirit of the people who attend. Attracting a diaspora of fans styled in their boldest, the festival still serves as a stage where black people are encouraged to freely express themselves — no matter their age, size, sexuality, or gender identity. 

words by Dawnie Walton, GETTY IMAGES.