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lauryn hill, grace jones, and lenny kravitz to headline afropunk

The subversive festival has some big changes in store...

Emily Manning

After taking the show on the road to Paris last month with Willow and Jaden Smith in tow, the Afropunk Festival will return to its Brooklyn home, Commodore Barry Park, for August 22 and 23. Festival organisers have just announced the main event's line-up, and it's honestly way more exciting than some of the bills some so-called blockbuster summer fests have in store for this year.

Grace Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Lauryn Hill and Danny Brown have all been named as festival headliners. And the first wave announcement also confirmed Kelis, Suicidal Tendencies, Kele, Thundercat, Cakes Da Killa, Gold Link, Petite Noir, and Kaytranada.

While the festival's lineups have been consistently dope since its 2002 founding, there are some big changes in store for Afropunk this year. In addition to the Paris festival, organisers have added October dates down in Atlanta, although that lineup has yet to be confirmed. Also new this year is the first ever Afropunk Ball, at which the legendary Jones will pull up to the bumper as the headlining performer. The ball will benefit the Afropunk Global Initiative, which advocates for "a holistic, democratic and enlightened representation of people of coluor within all facets of society with the goal to create unique programming that encourages diversity in media."

But the biggest change is how to actually get in. While the event used to be free, 99 tickets for this year's festival must be purchased or earned by performing community service as a part of the Afropunk Army. Festival hopefuls must complete tasks like landscaping, meal preparation, or advocacy to snag their spot in the crowd.

Recently, The Washington Post published a dirge for the American music festival following a lackluster Sweetlife, the annual DC-based music festival organized by popular salad chain Sweetgreen that's presently peddling a Kendrick Lamar-themed salad called Beets Don't Kale My Vibe. (When Lamar brought up Sweetgreen's CEO to perform m.A.Ad city during his headlining set and the head honcho didn't know any of the words, he was promptly booted off stage and replaced by a female fan who killed it.) Given this epidemic of overpriced and underwhelming festivals, we're glad to see Afropunk keep up its tradition of subversive spirit and substantive, electrifying lineups. 

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Text Emily Manning
Photography Greg Chow via Flickr Creative Commons