afropunk paris: we see you diaspora
By Erin White
July 15, 2019
Hands down my most favorite part about working for AFROPUNK is getting to see and meet all of you. Because without you, the heart and soul of AFROPUNK wouldn’t exist. It’s the powerful, creative, brave, and genuine souls that come to our festivals that make everything we do throughout the year so worthwhile. This year in Paris, I had the pleasure to meet some of the loveliest members of the community, and talk to them about what makes being part of our community so special and why they came to celebrate the diaspora with us.
What’s so unique about AFROPUNK Paris is the incredible international community that the festival draws. Instead of being solely about the Black Parisian experience, the gathering is an exploration of all Afro-pean culture and the African diaspora at-large. We asked you about that, and here’s what some of y’all had to say:
What brought you to AFROPUNK Paris?
I came here to AFROPUNK Paris to pre-launch the brand in this sacred space that shares the values that I believe in. My brand is Maison Tribale, it’s an ethical and humanitarian fashion brand. I designed the brand here, in France, but we produce clothes in emerging countries to give back. I started the brand to build my ‘African Dream’ as a woman from Senegal.
Why are you in Paris for AFROPUNK?
I’m here at AFROPUNK Paris to celebrate Black people in fashion. So, I know that Paris has a very vibrant fashion scene. You can encounter a bunch of sartorialists who come from throughout the diaspora. And I just wanted to make my mark here at AFROPUNK PARIS.
Why is this a special outlet?
There’s something deeply emotional satisfying about feeling apart of a larger international community. So, it’s just that notion of sisterhood here in Paris is so similar to the sisterhood I feel in New York, it’s great.
Chioma Ngwudo / Photo by Chris Saunders
What made you want to come to Paris and not Brooklyn, for example?
Well, it’s not instead of but in addition to. We’ll be at both. Paris is a capital for fashion and culture and I love being able to see so many different parts of the diaspora represented. I feel like French African and French Blacks are very different from the Anglo-African perspective. So, seeing those similarities and differences is very beautiful. I’m excited to celebrate that and see the fashion here and the people here. And then also practice my french a little bit.
How do you express Black Girl Magic on a daily basis?
Just by being my truest self in my business. And in my everyday life. Having my own business has been such an amazing and empowering experience. I think there are so many opportunities to get lost in it and being forced to focus on the numbers, but I try to remind myself daily that I’m a person people can turn to for an example of what they can do by going out on faith and do their own thing without necessarily looking at all the risk. People can say “Hey, I can do that too” or “I have something to share with the world that’s valuable and that people are interested in.
My business is called CC’s Closet NYC we do gorgeous African-inspired clothing and accessories. All of our products are actually handmade in Nigeria. My sister and I design them and we partner with artists there to bring those designs to life. We want to make sure we’re having a positive economic impact in Africa where a lot of our inspiration comes from. And also being able to celebrate being Black women through our culture and clothing. Which is what CC’s Closet represents.
Lionel and Anthony
Why are y’all at AFROPUNK Paris today?
We’re here because we know about the empowerment of AFROPUNK Paris and we just wanted to see great artists like IAMDB, LIZZO, Solange. We came for Solange. We are waiting for you, Solange. We love you, Solange. (Anthony)
What does it mean to have an afrocentric festival in Paris?
This is very interesting because they’ve never done anything like this before. This is probably the first festival [here] with so many Black people and Black artists. First AFROPUNK was in Brooklyn, South Africa, the UK and now Paris, so it’s very good to see now and Paris we can have this kind of event. (Anthony)
We are really PROUD to welcome the AFROPUNK festival in Paris, it’s awesome. Especially because today is [Bastille Day]… we are very proud to be here with you all. (Lionel)
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