NaturallyCurly is coming to Afropunk!

I almost couldn't believe it when it was announced that I could actually make it there, but once the reality set in, the magnitude of my travel/festival inexperience did too. I'm not really trying to last-minute any of this, or get caught without something I know I need—there'll be cameras, co workers and future connections everywhere!

a blond boy scout and a girl scout with an afro look off into the wilderness

 If nothing else, I absorbed the scout 'Be prepared' mantra.

Since I'm approaching this as strategically as possible, I've been in the process of making sure I had all my bases covered since the day we got the news. Nothing says "fun" like approaching a festival with military precision...right? Well I'm doing it anyway. So what I have covered includes:

Securing Sensory Feeds

I "became my mother" about some time in my early teens. I'm ahead of my time, as it happens, no big deal. Bonus: it's keeping my physical health, if not my sanity, preserved! I plan to be pushing my way to the front of the musical acts as per usual, jumping around, and walking the equivalent of a marathon in search of food and shiny things. That all takes preparation in order to prevent injury though. I'm all about packing multiple pairs of earplugs to save my hearing, some Dr. Scholl's inserts to save my (also mature for their age) joints, and these ingenious hooks to keep my glasses on my face through all the sweat and headbanging!

I could honestly pop my head off and throw it at someone, and these would keep the specs on.

Keeping Ibuprofen on hand is also a must, provided I can also keep snacks within reach to counter the side effects. The food line up at Afropunk suggests I can do that fairly well, so I expect to be all set. As far as keeping my head on straight during a new experience, I'll be taking my passionflower and chamomile extracts to help keep me a little more grounded, as well as an extra portable battery pack for my phone to keep me connected and give me an out whenever I need a break. Part of growing up is realizing how much you act like a toddler, but also prepping for it!

Engaging Defenses

April B Fact 28: Extreme temperatures make me shut down entirely. I'll grant you that Brooklyn's forecast is an amazing 79-62 degree range this weekend, I can't process that, I'm too Texan. But balmy weather or no, it's still going to be me outside all day, melting like the Witch of the West. That means packing a water bottle, my trusty fan(s), full sized sunscreen, some extra BO blocker from my favorite hippie, and a UV ray protective parasol to tote around.

Icing on the cake, I finally had a good enough excuse to treat myself to an otherwise impractically small backpack so I could keep everything on hand and out of my way. So long crossbody lopsided shoulder pain, hello equalized mild discomfort!

Stabilizing the outer perimeter

Okay, this is AfroPUNK, not AfroRenaissance Faire. Technically, I don't need to put in any effort to look "extra good", I just need to be comfortable, enjoy the music, and rock out, so I can travel light with minimal prep, right?

...yeah, no, that's totally incorrect actually.

As much as it is an antithesis to some parts of punk ethos, getting elaborate is just as much an integral parts to others—especially the artistically confrontational, eye catching ones. But because I'm scared for my good accessories—ie the very breakable or loseable ones—picking out the best things to travel with AND stand out in was more of a hassle than I was expecting.

I stopped by Michael's, Ross, and consistent favorite, Secret Oktober, to continue crafting looks for the weekend that would still let me walk around comfortably, dance horribly, and spin kick people in the face as needed.

Secret Oktober/April B

To that end, I didn't hit the corset rack up. This time.

Hangar Clearing

What better way to get ready to be a guest somewhere else than to get your own home company-ready? Irony aside, I really AM deep cleaning the house in anticipation of Future April's return!

Normally I wouldn't do this for a weekend trip, but I'm expecting this excursion to take a lot out of me. We're also headed to Texture on the Runway soon after (deep breaths) so if I'm going to come home exhausted, it'd behoove me to listen to my instincts and get all my chores done before returning.

Crashing in fresh sheets, and an incensed room after a long flight and all the exhausting shopping I'm planning to get done sounds like heaven, and as of writing, I haven't even checked in for my flight yet! Maybe tonight I can even leave myself some spiked lemonade to come home to.

Airway Excavation

In all of this world's hustle, stimulation, and stressors, it's important to slip away, take a good deep breath and then scream until your throat bleeds.

TriStar Pictures/Total Recall

This is how 85% of all metal bands get started.

Despite the potential for a domestic disturbance mishap, I have to get things up and out, and that includes the gutteral screeches that well up from within me and start chain reactions of animals looking up and running away outside (I assume). Not only am I managing to rattle some of the travel anxiety out of my lungs, the extra noise is mood boosting! I'm also getting my lungs shaped up for all the running around by ramping up my fitness in the hills around the NaturallyCurly office. Of course the 'Lose X amount of weight in time for event Y' mentality is super unhealthy for you, but what I'm actually trying to do here is shake off at least a little of the walking around rust before I get into the park for real. Rest is important, but pooping out early is not in the itinerary...even if it would lead to some more prime primal screaming.

Final Debriefing


A lot of what I've covered will seem extra basic to quite a few of you. All y'all with frequent flyer miles racked up won't really get much out of this except for the sneak preview of how great I'm going to look. But outside of one summer visiting family my freshman year (hi Auntie, hi Rina) I've never flown anywhere for ANYTHING as an adult. I literally just bought my first suitcase, YES for a weekend trip, don't judge me.

Now my first time back on a plane is going to a giant punk rock Afro-centric extravaganza, the size and scale of which I've never experienced. I hate to say it, but it's legitimately intimidating. But I'm prepared, I'm fabulous, and I'm excited!

Want to follow along as we walk, talk, and rock? Keep up with us on Instagram @naturallycurly. Stay tuned Curlfriends, and we'll see you there!