Soon after i bought tickets to Afro Punk i saw a bunch of different things that happened that made me want to sell those tickets. And I've been very vocal about those things in the past. Since selling the tickets didn't happen however, and since I'm not one to waste my money, especially on tickets I've had nearly all year, I went. Upon attending and posting photos from my week end there I have received numerous DMs and emails asking why I would have a problem with white people at Afro Punk (or any Black space) or why I have a problem with Afro Punk itself. So here it is-
Afro Punk used to be great, it lived up to its name and has always been a place for Black people that identified as punk or wore unique and eccentric things that they are normally extra oppressed for embracing. Anyone who was Black and didn't want to conform stylistically. It was also for every other Black person because not only is it filled with amazing fashion and hair but love for our culture and each other as well. We need those safe spaces because we don't have a lot else. But like every safe space, every conversation, and anything that uplifts Black people it always gets infiltrated by whiteness. Someone asked me if it was the appropriation I had an issue with or the white presence. And its both. Of course I don't want to see you wearing me as a costume in a place that is supposed to be for Black unity. But I also don't wanna see your face in a space that should be for Black unity. Especially hoards of you with other white people because why even go if you don't have Black friends to rock with? That would be better. More than the white presence tho I have a bigger problem with what that white presence creates. Once white people become involved in anything it usually becomes more about money. Its original purpose covered over and now the white dollar is held at the forefront.-
Some months ago MIA who was supposed to be on the list as a musical performance. She decided to, after booking a job with AFRO punk, to make a statement about why she hated the Black Lives Matter movement. Instantly i thought in my head "That's cute coming from a woman who we didn't ask, but okay." She said basically that Black people need to do more to fight for Muslim lives, that we don't care about Muslim lives, and that we need stop separatism among minority races, that ALL lives matter. Quickly obviously, many of us responded to her about her ludicrous statement. Because not only have Black people been repping Muslim lives since before the first Civil Rights movement but to say that Black Lives Matter doesn't care about Muslim people straight up ignores BLACK Muslims. Its basically feeding into the colorism and prejudice that non Black Muslims perpetuate against Black Muslims. And it's negating all of the work we have done to uplift Muslim people. Despite all of that however, Black people do not need to run the movement for ALL People Of Color. That is not our job, we are allowed to uplift ourselves fully without worrying about anyone else. Especially in a time when we are currently target practice for white america. Everyone loves to hop on Black backs as we run to freedom. They prefer to do that before they try to uplift their own "Oh Black people got us", no we do not got you, we're tired.-
All of this would have been expected and overall just another day had Afro Punk not agreed with her and released a statement saying that she was right. That "Black Lives Matter should include all minority races" you know...despite its name. Despite the fact that technically MIA should have never even been on the line up because why would you have an event called AFRO PUNK and have any artists that weren't Black? And despite the fact that every minority race wanting a piece of our movement has a known history of being anti Black so instead of trying to capitalize off of what we built they should build their own/fix their own. But back to the topic of capitalization, once white people get involved with spaces they were never intended to be, things happen like this and are than justified instead of corrected because if they bashed MIA they would lose part of their white audience. Meanwhile they didn't care that because of what they were doing they were losing part of their Black audience. So many Black people in their comment section of Instagram and Facebook saying "Was just about to buy tickets, so glad I didn't." They lost AFRO tickets to Afro Punk and it took them too long to care. Finally, way later, they released another statement, saying she was no longer going to be headlining the show. It's interesting how long it took. How much they must have weighed back in forth what they could risk by doing it even while the trust of Black people was on the line.
So it's not just white people showing up to our safe spaces and wearing us like we are a Halloween costume and suddenly thinking they need to dress like they came from Africa, its about what the white presence causes. So stop asking me why I don't want white people in our safe spaces, ask yourselves, if you are white why do you want to keep infiltrating them when you have so many of your own? There are so many music festivals that cater to white audiences so that the only real reason white people would want to go so bad to a Black space would be to see the culture that they lack. Because diaspora is real and in the process of colonizing people of color white people lost their own cultures now they exist in a world with power without substance. Like having loads of cash and no bank account or wallet to keep it in. White people hoard power because that's all they have. The thing to do wouldn't be to keep infiltrating Black spaces because you lack culture it would be use your own spaces and find your own culture. Its as easy as a DNA test to find where you come from/feel connected to something. Its actually easier for white people than us. My DNA test won't tell me what tribe I come from just country. At the very least if you decide to go to a Black space you shouldn't be rolling up with no Black people and in an African tribal outfit, dreads, hotep symbol necklace, and Nigerian makeup. At the very least be respectful. At the very least let us have something that's fuckin ours and go learn about your European history.
Signed, a bitter black woman that hates all y'alls shit but still danced my ass off at Afro Punk