If you told us, we are going to gather 60,000 people of 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 our eyes, that’s what we grew Afropunk into in 2012 & more…
In 2006/07 Matthew Morgan approached 7ONE8 to built him a social network. Yeah “one more social network”, Johanna thought, “everyone wants to be a MySpace”. But from that first project our collaboration with AFROPUNK consisted of more than a website, we worked day and night on integrated merchandising, promo design, digital design/programming, content development, 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 lockdown and now Trump, AFROPUNK is rocketing to the powerful and influential brand. In the spring of 2012, Afropunk opened 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.
Our guts said a good amount of people knew. But truly did not know how many. Until day two of the festival when we saw lines around the park, baking up to the BK bridge… did I finally have a slight clue. Reality actually hit when we were running a crowd of 60,000 SCREAMING fans (consisting of Skaters, Harajuku Girls, LES hipsters, and BK bohemians) trying to get an NYTimes reporter 3x all their ages to the “hot box”, where photographers were shooting Janelle Monea ripping the stage.
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. our 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
(tear drop) Because our personal agendas for 7ONE8 has been to represent all background/cultures that the 718 area code encapsulates. And this definitely felt like an accomplishment of that goal. It’s always an honor to work closely with 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