Three individuals who attended the Afropunk festival in Brooklyn were booted from the VIP section for wearing sloganed t-shirts illumination 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 of the Afropunk community from its inception, tweeted about the messy affair in a series of short form posts. After accounting for the details contained in the exchange with security, Hart commented on the transformation the festival has undergone since becoming a for-pay event. Hart labelled the treatment she and her partner received as an example of “black people are policed” on private property.
Hart speaking on behalf of her partner (due to her platform) believes in their right to protest in 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 of land in Brooklyn, has now expanded to become a full-blown arts and culture festival, as far reaching as Paris, London and South Africa.