Fans expressed concern for the festival's changing culture.
Afropunk received an onslaught of backlash after one of their attendees called them out for their intolerance. Ericka Hart broke down the events that led to her dismissal from a section of the festival along with her friends. She claimed that the reason for their being escorted by security was the text on Ebony Donnley's shirt, which read "Afropunk sold out for white consumption."
The festival has finally decided to address the situation in an official statement, although specific details that upset the fans who heard of the incident are omitted. The shirt mentioned above isn't referred to at all. Afropunk sums up the situation to the attendees being removed from an area intended for performers.
"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."
They apologize for the hurt feelings they caused and identify themselves as one of Ericka's champions.
"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."
This statement comes after the organizers seemed to address the situation with social media posts that said: "Afropunk doesn't drag Black people," and "Afropunk doesn't Police Black bodies." Commenters were both livid and unimpressed. The uploads were deemed as "passive aggressive."
The statement maintains the festival's original mission of lifting up the Black community, including its marginalized groups.
"The AFROPUNK platform was conceived to celebrate Black excellence and create a safe space for Black folks who are marginalized men and women, gender non-conforming, and those considered other by white heteronormative powers that be. We give our AFROPUNK community a voice, a platform and a space to express themselves and be their authentic and unapologetic selves."