Afropunk Brooklyn 2022 created a much needed space for Black folx during NYFW and highlighted a Renaissance for Black hair
Afropunk Brooklyn, “A celebration of Black joy and a testament to the resilience of the Brooklyn community” came back after a three year hiatus last weekend. The festival brought beautiful Black people across the diaspora together for a music festival, but more importantly, for me at least, we experienced a natural and Black hair renaissance.
Beyoncè did warn us that a Renaissance was coming, and after attending Afropunk I don’t think she was only talking about her album. As soon as I walked through the gates I saw a Black woman dressed as a fairy, hair covered in flowers on my right, and supermodel Ebonee Davis styled by Moshoodat, to my left. Both women effortlessly exuded confidence and joy, and their distinct hairstyles felt like a tribute to the space Afropunk created for them. A space where Black people are not only safe to experiment with their natural hair, but encouraged to. Where alternative hairstyles can lead to a feature in Vogue and pastel purple dreads can get you written up in Essence (or NaturallyCurly) ;)
Surrounded by other Black people who wore their hair in both intricately made and natural styles, wearing my hair in its most natural state felt less a symbol of diasporic resistance (as it often has in the workplace and many public spaces) and more like an easy belonging.
From makeshift kitchen salons to the local shop owned by a family friend, hair salons have been one of the few places Black women could bring their full selves, and wear their natural hair without judgment. But what happens to Black hair and creativity when we have more spaces to experiment? More spaces to exist without judgment and to belong? Afropunk gives us a preview of this, and it looks a lot like a renaissance for Black hair.
At a festival where the Roots and Burna Boy are headliners, it makes sense that Black creativity would thrive at Afropunk, especially when it comes to hair. Here are 10 hairstyles from Afropunk that feel like Black hair is experiencing a Renaissance.
1. Ebonee Davis with a long weave mixed with locs style
2. Black women with red hair is having a moment
3. A natural afro will always be a revolutionary style
4. Locs are an ode loving your Blackness.
5. If any hairstyle represents a Renaissance of Black hair, these Purple and pink locs with half-up half-down space buns might be it.
6. Waist-length braids with loose ends, you will always be famous.
7. Bandana under a cap? Say less.
8. UNIQUE. Three friends. Three hairstyles.
9. 90’s Clips in natural hair>>>
10. Besties rocking distinct, dyed styles
All photos taken by Kiana Tipton for NaturallyCurly