Project Seminar I:
Subcultures are created by doing something different than the norm and being unashamed to do so, despite opposition. During the early years of the the punk and alternative community, you didn’t usually see persons of color in the mix. Fast forward to the early 2000s, James Spooner, created a documentary entitled ‘Afropunk’ which highlighted people of color in the punk world, enjoying the music, fashion and liberal political ideals. After the documentary aired and the creation of the Afropunk site and music festival, media outlets were quick to jump on the bandwagon and report on the resurgence of pop culture’s “newest trend”. The irony of the ‘underground resurgence’ of blacks in punk culture is that punk and rock music got its roots from R&B, blues and gospel music which derived from early black culture. To me, there was never a resurgence. In my experience, there have always been people of color that didn’t listen to what they were “supposed to.” It may just have remained underground due to outside culture deeming hip-hop, rap and R&B being ‘black music’ and rock, punk and pop being ‘white music.’
I have chosen the alternative fashion in the Afropunk movement as the theme for my series because of my introduction to the Afropunk festival and culture through the media in recent months. I loved how afrocentric the festival had come to be. At the same time I appreciated its roots in the punk culture, as well as how the two blend together in this community. I felt strongly about using my roots in the realm of fashion to do beautiful studio photographs of the range of hair colors, body modifications and clothing choices of those that are punk or alternative. I tried to pull out the personality of these individuals as well as their connection to the subculture, whether they identify as Afropunk, black alternative or neither. Overall, my series has educated and opened my eyes to a subculture that sparked my interest and has given me a community that I feel I could belong to.