Words by:

To celebrate AFROPUNK’s arrival in London last month, we launched an Open Forum for statements of individuality and identity.

The responses we got were creative, open and personal – demonstrating the unique AFROPUNK spirit. From the submissions we received, we’ve selected eight which can be read below. Framed around three open-ended questions, topics range from the recognition of the African diaspora to the diversity of London in 2016.

For more words on the inaugural AFROPUNK London, check out Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff’s review of the festival and Bex Shorunke’s exploration of #BlackGirlMagic at AFROPUNK

Katoucha
jacquespervertie.tumblr.com

We need freedom of expression because life would meaningless be without freedom of oneself. The world must understand that no matter what, African, Afro diaspora is around the world for a reason. Don’t fight it, accept it. I love life above anything else, haters can proceed to the left…

Matthew Jacobs Morgan
@mattjcmorgan

We need freedom of expression because without it nothing changes. During the most revolutionary times in recent history, music and art were at the forefront of change. My London is colourful and open, with wafts of food from all over the world when you walk down a high street. I want the world to understand how easy it is not to be hateful – go to AFROPUNK if you want to be surrounded by creative, open, beautiful people of every shade, physical ability, sexuality and gender.

Anique Crystal
@AniqueCrystal

As Madonna said, ”I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams.” People feel more secure and respected by the state if they are able to speak their minds a little time and consistency can build a great foundation for something with meaning. I want the world to understand that Black Lives Matter.

Ben Driver
adaptform.tumblr.com

Expression of any form has historically been a great commentator of society, a reflection of the detailed lives we lead, whilst also informing us all how it could be different. Without the freedom of expression we will never know what it is to genuinely question something for the sake of progress. The world needs to understand that by focusing on a single aspect of an individual’s personality, they are at risk of restricting them to that one thing and to the detriment of that one thing. Be proud of your ethnicity, sexuality, gender, community, culture but know that the only label that should be allowed to define us is “HUMAN”. The world needs to recognise that time needs to be taken to understand the intricacies of who we are and to not be afraid to make time for it! Be an anomaly, but be one actively and with passion regardless of whether that is taking to the streets and shouting about something worth fighting for, or by being the quiet creator using the canvas of your choice to bring ideas to life, ideas with genuine meaning and with great impact.

"Expression of any form has historically been a great commentator of society, a reflection of the detailed lives we lead, whilst also informing us all how it could be different"

Adora

We are all individuals, some us choose to embrace our freedom and share our joy visually. My London is a patchwork quilt of diversity and I want the world to understand that different is fine.

Amina Martucci
@shadow.intimates

Why keep in the feels when you can express them! How are you supposed to grow as a human if you keep your personality hidden? Express and show them colours, London is a playground full of diversity. Don’t take life so seriously. This is your playground, take control and work on your dreams.

Natty Kasambala
@nattykasambala

If we can’t project and share then we suppress and stifle. My London is hard at times and soft at others. But all the time, it reflects yourself back at you and teaches you who you are and also who you are not. I want the world to understand the sheer size of itself. If we all stopped to think carefully about the fact that each individual of the billions of us is a human exactly like ourselves with their own unique, constant experience, then maybe we could begin to understand the beauty in our diversity and stop fearing it.

Anonymous

How can you learn about all perspectives of the world if your voice is the only one you hear? My London is real, in trouble and growing. I want the world to understand that silence can be just as bad as it can be good. There are people in your life who will make you want to be better. When you find them keep them close. Be the type of energy people want to celebrate.