Afropunk 2012: Janelle Monáe, TV on the Radio, Toro Y Moi, Pharrell Williams — Photos
Afropunk Pharrell Williams

Photo by Rebecca Smeyne for MTV Hive.

“Every beautiful person in the borough is here right now.”

With these words, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio kicked off his band’s headlining set at the Afropunk Festival Sunday night in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. As Hive’s photo gallery shows, he wasn’t kidding. The festival, a free two-day gathering now in its eight year of existence, encompasses many things — live music, a battle of the bands, BMX and skateboarding competitions, craft markets, food trucks and more — but the uniting element, larger than the sum of its parts, is style. A unique fashion-forward fusion of hippie, punk, raver, rasta, African tribal, and (dare we say) hipster, the colorful looks on display were dazzling. Even the security guards, outfitted in black tuxedos, looked sharp.

The Afropunk festival was initially inspired by a 2003 documentary of the same name, which chronicled a developing subculture of black musicians and fans within the hardcore and punk scenes. Highlights of the Sunday lineup included returning act Janelle Monáe, whose popularity caused a near-riot, TV on the Radio, Toro Y Moi, Reggie Watts, Body Language, and Flatbush Zombies. (Gym-Class Heroes were scheduled for Sunday as well, but canceled due to illness.) Hive spotted Pharrell Williams backstage, watching TVOTR’s set. Also of note: We overheard fans discussing the presence of a U.F.O., which upon investigation, turned out to be an intrepid videographer’s drone-mounted camera. Check out the gallery below:

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