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Deft punk

Talented line-up for Afropunk London festival features Kojey Radical, Willow Smith and Little Simz

20 July, 2017 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Islington rapper Little Simz will perform live at Afropunk London on Saturday

IF ever anything merits straying across London, Afropunk London is it. Taking place at Printworks in Surrey Quays this weekend (July 22-23), this year’s festival, which has grown into an international event, originating in Brooklyn, now with offshoots in Paris, Atlanta, London and Johannesburg, has a mammoth and exciting line-up – the talent on the bill is immense.

Cali six-piece The Internet, LA producer/singer/bassist Thundercat, London’s own Kojey Radical, BBK founder and grime artist JME, Islington rapper Little Simz, singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas, edgy US singer/actress and daughter of Will and Jada, Willow Smith, and UK music royalty Jazzie B… the list goes on.

This is one festival where scheduling means everything. But don’t expect a hippie-flowers-in-your-hair fest, this is something a little more meaty.

While music is at the centre of this multi­cultural event, the programme extends way past this.

There is the Spinthrift Market, selling arts, crafts, tattoos trinkets and more, the Bites and Beats food festival, combining tastes from around the world with food trucks and pop-up restaurants, art exhibitions and the introduction of Battle of the Bands with Soundcloud and the Roundhouse giving homegrown artists the chance to perform at Afropunk and further develop their talents by winning the chance to take part in a four-day programme of tuition from industry experts, ranging from studio time to advice on PR.

While the lowest-priced tickets are sold out, at the time of writing there were still £50 tickets available for each day, as well as weekend passes for £90.

This being a very modern festival, those who got involved early enough have also been able to earn tickets by signing up to the Afropunk Army, from where participants can earn points by fulfilling various orders to spread the word via Digital Advocacy on their personal social media channels. The aim is for participants to leverage their social networks to generate awareness and support for the work of chosen organisations, causes, initiatives and social movements.

All of this feeds into the political side of the festival, which is ever-present.

Those who earn 1,000 points from their digital advocacy earn a weekend pass – it’s worth bearing this in mind in case the same programme runs next year as early registration is recommended in order to have sufficient time to clock up the required points.

There’s also an app for those who want the very latest info on the festival.

This year’s programme includes:


Live acts: The Internet, JME, Thundercat, Danny Brown, The Heavy, Little Simz, Saul Williams, Corinne Bailey Rae, Kojey Radical, Nadia Rose, The Bots, Liam Bailey, The OBGMs. Beats & Riddims by: Jazzie B; Don Letts & The Bots; Blacktronica; Jazz Re:Freshed; FAM.


Live acts: Lianne La Havas; NAO; Willow Smith; Petite Noir; Sate; Connie Constance; Kiah Victoria; Mahalia; Black Orchid and more. Beats and Riddims by: Clara Amfo; Hannah Faith; Jamz Supernova; Gal-Dem and Born N Bread.

Tickets and further info on Afropunk Fest are available from


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