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2019: the year in afropunk stories

December 23, 2019

Damn, that was a long year. And… daaaaamn, we published a lot of great work. To celebrate the fact that it’s almost over, we decided to compile a few of the pieces we felt proudest of by writers we love working with. Kings and queens. Angels and demons. Current events and history. Hate-read and love-read. Utopias and dystopias. Art and politics. (But not music — we’re gonna do that list tomorrow.)

Follow the links to more of these great wordsmith’s great words (for AFROPUNK and elsewhere).

The list appears in chronological order.


Michael Gonzales, “In The City: The Warriors 40 Years Later” – On the occasion of the great New York film’s anniversary, an appreciation about how it shaped a generation. (More by Michael Gonzales for AFROPUNK.)

Clarkisha Kent, “It’s Time To Be Honest About How Black Women Have Kept R. Kelly Relevant” – As Surviving R. Kelly and #MuteRKelly hit the feed, Clarkisha Kent wrote a searing story about who the singer’s supporters were (and are). (More by Clarkisha Kent for AFROPUNK.)

Kierna Mayo, “He’s Out of My Life: Letting Go of Michael Jackson”  – The bomb shell that was Leaving Neverland elicited some huge reactions, and Kieran Mayo’s was enormous. (More by Kierna Mayo for AFROPUNK)

Keystone/Stringer/Getty Images

Zama Mdoda, “‘We Deliberately Spread HIV/AIDS in South Africa'” – Zamalisa Mdoda wrote about the allegations put forth in the film, Cold Case Hammarskjöld. (More work by Zama Mdoda for AFROPUNK.)

Myles E. Johnson, “Nipsey Hussle and Mourning the Transformations That Never Happen” – Mourning a real one, and all the real ones who will never write their great next chapters.

Artwork by Kendrick Daye

Erin Elyse, “Black Utopias: My Pussy, My Paradise” – We devoted a month to Black Utopian spaces, and Erin Elyse went there. Yup! (More by Erin Elyse for AFROPUNK.)

Ashley Shackleford, “Giving Birth To Language” – In a year when the singular “They” entered the dictionary, Ashley wrote about how non-binary identity is constantly erased by binary thinking, language, and ways of being.

Diana McClure, “Contemporary African Art Through African Eyes” – A conversation with by Black Chalk & Co., an interdisciplinary collective founded by Zimbabwean artist/scholars Tinashe Mushakavanhu and Nontsikelelo Mutiti, who curated the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York. (More by Diana McClure for AFROPUNK)

Nick Douglas, “Juneteenth: On the Freeing of the Last Slaves in Texas” – Nick Douglas explored the historical events — and President Lincoln’s actions — that led to General Order No. 3 in Galveston, on June 19th, 1865. (More by Nick Douglas for AFROPUNK)

Toure, “Kanye, Tr*mp, A$AP Rocky and Proximity to Power” – As A$AP Rocky rotted in a Swedish prison and Mr. West again played Tr*mp’s pawn, Toure wrote about how the love he once had for the great soft rapper was fading. (More by Toure for AFROPUNK)


Staceyann Chin, “What Toni Morrison Taught Me About  Love and Death” – The great poet eulogized the legendary writer: “If I can love anyone fiercely, without the narrow confines of our worst need to control each other, it is because I read ‘Sula’ and it burrowed under my skin, and seeped deep into my blood.” (More by Staceyann Chin for AFROPUNK)

George Johnson, “The History of Plantations Is Not a White Memento” – A loud AF declaration from the AFROPUNK columnist: “Keep your DAMN weddings off slave-era prison camps and burial grounds.” (More by George Johnson for AFROPUNK)

Renell Medrano

Emil Wilbekin, “Antwaun Sargeant Discusses The New Black Vanguard” – AFROPUNK’s head of content talks to the great young photographer and critic: “”I was seeing young, Black photographers working internationally, rethinking photography by putting Black concerns, Black people and Black desires in the center of those pictures.” (More by Emil Wilbekin for AFROPUNK)

Kendrick Daye

Jourdan Ash, “Where Are the Black Women in Sextech?” – There’s a growing billion-dollar industry based on technology for the purpose of sexual pleasure, but why are Black women being excluded from this gold rush?

Andre D. Wagner/Universal Pictures

Taylor Hosking, “Queen And Slim Explores New Black Love Gender Roles” – The equality created in Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe’s film is a hope, a rumination, a foreshadow, and a promise for the future of Black love. (More by Taylor Hosking for AFROPUNK.)