If you told me, we are going to gather 60,000 people of multiple mix backgrounds in a park by the Old Navy Yard across from the projects for two days in Brooklyn … I’ll be like “yeah right”. But unbelievable to my eyes, that’s what happen at Afropunk 2012 & more….
In 2006/07 Matthew Morgan approached 7ONE8 to built him a social network. Yeah “one more social network”, I thought, “everyone wants to be a MySpace”. But from that first project our collaboration with AFROPUNK consisted of more then a website, we worked day and night on merchandising, promo design, digital design/programming, content strategy and event branding. One of the many events being the AFROPUNK FESTIVAL that actually started in a parking lot in 2006 across from BAM with only 500 kids.
To this day, thankfully through the recession, a Hurricane that put the city on lock down and know Trump, AFROPUNK has kept rocking.
In the spring of 2012, Afropunk open offices at Free Candy where a kick-a** staff of over 10+ people had the responsibility of running a 10k+ online community, 6 social media networks, online contest, events, exclusive content, video, photography AND (oh yeah) a yearly FREE festival with headliners like Erykah Badu to Bad Brains. All hands were on deck …
Weeks before the festival and everyone completely fried, a looming question kept popping up about promoting really loud via our digital channels the fact that the festival was FREE. We didn’t hide it in any web or print promotional material. But just like when you are about to have a party and get cold feet thinking no ones coming … Some of us got a bit scared. We very quickly decided not to make FREE the focus. What we did highlight was the mixture of talent from music, food, skating, fashion and food with the awesome faces of the AFROPUNK community. It also helped to know that our social media overall numbers grew from 6,000 to 20K in 5 months. We also produced a 10k plus print campaign consisting of flyers, brochures, merchandise and street posters. Not to mention held two online competitions for Battle Of the Bands and AP Tattoo Ink competition.
My gut said a good amount of people knew. But truly did not know how many. Till day two of the festival that I saw lines around the park all the way to the BK bridge … did I finally have a slight clue. Reality actually hit me when I was running thru a crowd of 60,000 SCREAMING fans (consisted of Skate boarder dudes, hirokjyku girls, LES hipsters, BK bohemians) trying to get a NYTimes reporter 3x all their ages to the “hot box”, where photographers were shooting Janelle Monea ripping the stage.
I slept for two days after the festival.
Thanks to the amazing work from event production, sponsorship, business development, street promotions, volunteers, web content creators and web/print design team, AFROPUNK was blessed with the most amazing reviews from Rolling Stones to MTV. My favorite quote being,
“The festival represented a utopian face of Brooklyn and of New York City: as a diverse, welcoming, unpredictably multicultural picnic.” ~ THE NEW YORK TIMES
It gets me all emotional (tear) because my personal agenda for 7ONE8 has been to represent all the different background/cultures that the 718 area code encapsulates. And this definitely felt like an accomplishment for me personally. Not to mention also all the incredible work by the tireless, sleepless nights, can’t stop won’t stop “Jiu Jitsu Ninja” Matthew Morgan and incredible empowered manifest goddess Jocelyn Cooper, the creators of AFROPUNK