Question: What does Afropunk stand for these days?
Matthew Morgan: Freedom. It’s something that I felt when I came to New York and put on our first show and was so excited. When I got into the punk scene here, the emotion that I felt was incredible. Being in a room with a bunch of like-minded people and having no inhibitions about getting in and moshing. It wasn’t violent or aggressive. It was fun. A lot of people are restricted by how clean their jeans are, or they don’t want you to step on your sneakers. Not so much now, but that was a big thing, particularly with a lot of people of colour.
Jocelyn Cooper: Your personal space is very different as a person of colour.
Matthew Morgan: There’s nothing freeing about that, so being able to stretch out and touch people was just incredible.
Question: The name Afropunk could be a bit misleading for someone who’s never been to the festival, because it’s very inclusive and there’s all kinds of music, including hip hop and soul.
Matthew Morgan: The definition in the film was black punks, but if you really look at it, it’s about identity. You can be a Latin kid in an Irish neighbourhood and struggle with identity issues and be the only kid. You can be a not-straight kid in an all-straight environment and be the only kid.
Jocelyn Cooper: Young people who come to the festival get that.
Matthew Morgan: We don’t want people to grab on to certain elements and come along with certain other views. If you’re there and you really don’t get it, then there’s no point in you being there.