Three individuals who attended the Afropunk festival in Brooklyn were booted from the VIP section for wearing sloganed t-shirts bringing to question the event’s corporate turn. 32-year-old Ericka Hart, her partner Ebony Donnley, and friend Lorelei Black were removed from the VIP section due to the following message enscribed on Donnley’s shirt: “Afropunk sold out for white consumption.”
Hart, a prominent the Afropunk community from its inception, tweeted about the messy affair in a series short form posts. After accounting for details in the exchange with event security, Hart launched into a discussion over the festival’s transformation since becoming a for-prit event. Hart labelled the incident in question as an example how “black people are policed” on private property.
Hart speaking on behalf her partner (due to her platform) believes in a right to protest with a dissident voice. “(Its) an experience many Black and POC long time participants have been feeling,” she told The Fader. “If Afropunk is for Black people, about resistance and really standing by their hashtag #speaktruthtopower, why would this T-shirt be an issue? How is it “power to the people” and also “his house?””
The Afropunk festival which was once held on a voluntary basis on a small patch land in Brooklyn, has now expanded to become a full-blown arts and culture festival, as far reaching as Paris, London and South Africa.