AFROPUNK has become a destination for Black people of various backgrounds to express themselves boldly in a safe space free of criticism and violence. However, a trio of Black activists attending the annual event was asked to leave a backstage AFROPUNK event and allegedly slammed verbally by one of AFROPUNK‘s co-founders over a t-shirt and its critical slogan.
For context, read this excerpt from our sister site Madame Noire:
For years, Ericka Hart’s image has been used toward the marketing of Afropunk’s annual summer festival in Brooklyn, New York. Hart, a sex educator and racial justice advocate, has a look photographers are eager to capture and it speaks to the sense of liberation the event tries to promote.
As one of the more recognizable attendees, Afropunk asked Hart to give an interview about the event. After spending three hours at the festival in Commodore Barry Park, Hart, her partner Ebony Donnley and their friend Lorelei Black stepped into the VIP section where Hart’s interview was scheduled. After the interview, the three decided to hang out in the area for a few minutes to finish their drinks before leaving VIP.
As they were doing so, a feminine presenting person, as Ericka describes, walked briskly—almost ran up to her partner—looked at his shirt and asked, “Well why are you here then?’
Hart’s partner, Ebony Donnley, was wearing a shirt Hart had crafted that read:
“Afropunk sold out for white consumption.”
According to Hart, Matthew Morgan, one of the event’s co-founders, allegedly got confrontational asking why was Donnley at the event as another person at the festival also allegedly did.
AFROPUNK issued a statement earlier today (Sept. 4) and we’ve shared an excerpt below:
Being activists is hard, uncomfortable, and sometimes complicated. There was an unfortunate incident at AFROPUNK Brooklyn with Ericka Hart and her partner/friend Ebony Donnley, and friend Lorelei Black were asked to leave a backstage area of the festival which was for talent and working staff. The couple/friends were escorted back to the VIP section where they stayed for the rest of the evening. We have great respect for Ericka and Ebony and would never kick them out of AFROPUNK.
We are sorry that Ericka and Ebony feel mistreated. That was not, nor has it ever been, our intention. We have supported Ericka and her activism for many years. We celebrate her voice, her activism, and her Black body. She is a part of our AFROPUNK community.