Afropunk

 

Afropunk: Afro-punk (sometimes spelled Afro-Punk, Afropunk or AfroPunk) refers to the participation of African Americans and other black people in the punk and alternative music cultures. Afro-punks make up a minority in the North American punk scene (via Wikipedia)

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When I first stumbled across this word, it was like, FINALLY. A word that best encapsulates my personality, my style, and my interests! Embarrassingly enough, I used to be that black girl that attempted to volumize the crown of my hair in order to resemble a Scene Kid. But that was never meant to be with 4c curl pattern. I was the black girl that listened to The Used, Taking Back Sunday, and Fall Out Boy. I was the black girl who was incredibly uncomfortable with my musical tastes being sniffed out by a fellow black person who would shoot me a quizzical look because what I listened to was, “white music”. If I wasn’t popping to Laffy Taffy or whinin’ to a T-pain ballad, I didn’t qualify as black enough.

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BUT my oh my how the times have changed and how pleased I am with the change. Realizing that there is a community of black people who hold the same interests as me makes me happy enough to hug every stranger I see (and that says alot coming from an introverted city girl). It’s just so refreshing! It’s not just that they are black people who like punk/rock/indie, they are a group of melanated people who love those genres while also embracing  and remaining true to the the black/African aesthetic. That means Afros and septum piercings. Dashikis and studded black biker boots. Head wraps and velvet chokers. This is one of the main reasons why I view fashion as more than just pretty clothing. I have the ability to take a political stance through what I wear. I have the ability to preface you on what I’m going to be about before you even speak to me. I can defy your preconceived notions about whatever you think about Blacks, Africans, labels, music etc etc. I take this form of communication quite seriously.

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As I grow well into my 20s, I’ve grown to embrace my coily texture, African American history, and African ancestry in the social and musical arena. I’ve just learned to stay affirmed in my black identity as a whole. I’ve come to accept that I can love Afrobeats, Hip Hop and Indie Rock all at the same time. I’ve learned to enjoy the flexibility of knowing how to Azonto pretty decently in one space and headbanging to a Foo Fighters jig in another. I’m not a black person who likes “white music” nor am I a black person that only likes Hip-Hop, I am a multi-faceted black woman who simply likes what I like. I have no need to conform for I have been uniquely and fearfully made.

 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

xx

-A

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P.S. They have an Afropunk Fest in Paris and NY, lets cross our fingers for an LA one!

 

 

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Winter Lookbook: Spring Edition.

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Hai guize,

It’s been a while, I know. And I’ve missed posting and creating content for this space. But sometimes life just calls one to take an unintentional amount of time away from things, so one must go-eth, with the flow-eth. Anyway.

My friend McCall (the photographer of this shoot) and I tried to find the middle location of the LA River and we failed. That’s pretty apparent in the photos. We ended up finding the river, but only the tail end of it somewhere in Ladera Heights I believe. So after breezily walking through a fence opening that said, “Do Not Enter” we found this cozy little spot tucked right next to the end of the river. Also, for those who aren’t familiar with the LA river–there is no river. If you haven’t been on social media, watching the news, or keeping up with basic current events, California is in a severe drought so the name itself is…whats the word? Oxymoronic? Ironic? Both? Need to double check, but if you’re interested here’s an article about how Americans abuse the word “ironic” in the English language (don’t be that guy).

Alas, I digress.

These two outfits aren’t anything special really. They’re just outfits that I would find myself casually wearing on a day out on the town. I originally planned for a winter lookbook, but when California decided to be 86 degrees all week I had to quickly come up with Plan B.

Outfit #1 is something I’d wear to class or to do work in a cafe. Also I’m always using my bike to get around so I need my outfit to be optimal for all types of possible movements that might occur. There is nothing more irritating than feeling restricted in your own clothing. These thrifted mom jeans have basically been my second skin since I purchased them. As I get older, I’m finding that I’m slowly getting over the skinny jean style (I just need my legs to breathe). And of course, a velvet crop top complements dang near everything. I don’t care how many eras the fashion industry wants to go back (right now the runway is pretty reminiscent of the 60s) I am a 90s girl through and through.

 

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Outfit #2 was a bit of an experiment. It’s a sparkly velvet dress (no surprise there) paired with an ethereal, light kimono. I wanted to see what an edgier and more relaxed piece looked like together, and might I say that I was pretty satisfied. I think that this look could definitely transform into a “night on the town” ensemble, if I switched my shoes for heeled booties or just some plain ol’ minimalist heels.

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Outfit #1: Shoes: Zara. Rest of the Outfit: Thrifted

Outfit #2: Kimono: Ebay. Shoes: Zara. Thigh High Socks: Charlotte Russe. Velvet dress: Thrifted

Photo Credit: McCall Lanman. Check out her Instagram and Facebook.

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xx

-A

 

Band Review: The Strypes

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I decided to type in “Arctic Monkeys” on Google to see if there were any updates on my favorite band in the whole flippin’ universe. Maybe  Alex decided to start a solo project…or even better, the Monkeys are back in the studio preparing for their next album. But no, no exciting news (Update: The Last Shadow Puppets are going to be in LA soon, so that’s Alex’s latest project). To be perfectly honest, music hasn’t maintained that usual special little crux in my heart for a while now. In addition, I haven’t had much musical inspiration that has translated over into my clothing choices lately, either. Don’t get me wrong, there have been wonderful albums that have dropped and I have given a listen to in the past year (Dre, Kendrick, J Cole…still waiting for Mr. Ocean though) but at heart, I am a true and blue indie rock/rock n roll gal. While I have recently been more in touch with my interests regarding socially conscious and thought provoking rap,  in my personal opinion, there is nothing more freeing to me than listening to a band that makes you feel so electric, so youthful, and so carefree. So much so, that you want to put your hands in the air and be one with the crowd. Cliche, but we’ve all felt this and done this at one point or the other. Music that revolves around social issues, or the intricate realities of the minority experience is meant to be processed internally more often. At least, that is how I ingest it.

Anyway, as I was perusing through the news regarding AM, I saw that there was this up and coming band called The Strypes. Originating from Cavan, Ireland, the 4 man troupe states that their music is heavily influenced by AC–and from what I could see, they also were drawing upon the early visage of the Arctic Monkeys, especially the lead singer, Ross Farrelly. He resembled a 17 year old version of Alex Turner, pre-rockabilly quiff and with an impish stature. I was skeptical to be honest. I understand being influenced by an artist, as most artists are, but the similarities initially had me wary. Until I started to listen to their tunes. When I started off with their most recent album, Little Victories, I was impressed. Their music does draw upon AM, but not exclusively. Their sound is a conglomeration of bluesy, funk-like vibrations combined with the infectious rhythm classic rock n roll. All together creating this unpredictable, yet ear pleasing tune. I can’t explain it any better than that!

From here, I only foresee two potential downsides for The Strypes:

1. The image of the band. Their wardrobe consists of black  suit jackets, black jeans, and a white button up. It’s expected and over done. There is nothing distinguishable about their look, and quite honestly, when I first saw them on my Tumblr feed, I confused them for an 2007 AM album cover.

2. The lead singer’s voice isn’t that distinguishable either. He sounds like every other crooning indie rock artist. The reason why I mention this is because I can pick out Alex’s timbre from 3 miles away, earplugs in, and under the pulsating beat of a Katy Perry tune (granted his buttery smooth Sheffield accent gives him an advantage in this category–nevertheless!). Same with David Grohl. Same with Kurt Cobain. HOWEVER, despite these things, there is lots of room for them to grow. Nothing a little bit of awesome PR can’t do when it comes to their style, and for Ross’s voice, I imagine he is still growing tremendously as a musician, especially as head honcho of The Strypes. Little Victories is only their second album.

I see the potential. I like their sound. I like where they are going. I’m staying tuned.

xx

-A