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Afropunk Brooklyn 2017
Photograph: Nicole Fara Silver

The five best things we saw at Afropunk Brooklyn on Sunday

Written by
Time Out New York Music

The second and final day of Afropunk Brooklyn 2017 brought sunny skies, comfortable summer temperatures and plenty of worthwhile music, from the retro soul stylings of headliner Raphael Saadiq to the hardcore punk of Burn. Even against competition from MTV’s VMAs and some show called Game of Thrones, the fest drew plenty of people ready to dance away the remaining hours of the weekend to a closing DJ set by Kaytranada. Its two days proved just enough to fill the weekend and leave us looking forward to next year. Here are the five best things we saw.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Afropunk Festival 2017


Photograph: Nicole Fara Silver

Los Angeles-based rapper Kevin Abstract took the stage to perform songs from his excellent 2016 project American Boyfriend. But he’s been nothing but busy of late: Since June, he’s released two mixtapes with his hip-hop boy band BROCKHAMPTON, which also has its own Viceland show. Accordingly, for the second half of his set, Abstract brought out the collective members to rap songs from their Saturation mixtapes, swarming the stage while chiming in their parts on songs like “Gold” and closer “Star,” the best and possibly only rap song to reference Agent Cody Banks, which they played twice.—Andrew Frisicano

2. Anderson .Paak’s genre-agnostic jams

Photograph: Nicole Fara Silver

There’s no doubt singer-drummer Anderson .Paak is a dazzling showman with a deep well of memorable R&B/hip-hop songs. With his band the Free Nationals, he’s near unstoppable. Like the best jam bands, the crew chopped apart cuts from his albums Yes Lawd! and Malibu, adding Curtis Mayfield bounce in one moment and a slinky reggae bass line the next without losing the songs' heart.—AF

3. The glorious soda that is Ting

Photograph: Clayton Guse

The best thing to drink at Afropunk wasn’t a cocktail, a beer or a bottle of water: It was Ting, the Jamaican grapefruit soda that stalls across the park were hawking. The soft drink is popular throughout the Caribbean, and its omnipresence at the fest was playfully fitting. If you’ve never tasted to goodness that is Ting, you’re missing out—it’s well-balanced, refreshing and perfect for wetting one’s palate during a weekend filled with funky tunes.—Clayton Guse

4. Kaytranada’s late-night dance party

As the festival wound down Sunday night, Montreal producer Kaytranada provided strong motivation for sticking around: A low-end-heavy DJ set filled with house, disco and his own dancey hip-hop productions including Chance the Rapper’s “All Night" and "Glowed Up.” The latter, a collaboration with Anderson .Paak, was aired by both artists from their respective stages before bringing the pair together for one more go round. Judging by the dance-offs happening near the bar, they could've gotten away with at least one more.—AF

5. Afropunk’s welcoming spirit

“It’s so good to see so many black and brown faces out there” is a sentiment we heard multiple times from the stage, from Princess Nokia, Solange and others. At a time when most music festivals cater to as broad an audience as possible, Afropunk has found success is sticking to its roots: booking artists of color, creating a positive atmosphere and relying on its audience—at this point, a community—to respond. The importance of such community has never been stronger, and this weekend it turned out.—AF

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