20th Anniversary: Afro-Punk + Director Q&A 2003
James Spooner / 67 mins / English / Rating 15
We are delighted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of James Spooner's Afro-Punk, an award-winning documentary exploring the roles of African Americans within what was, then, an overwhelmingly white punk scene across the United States of America. The film focuses on the lives of four African Americans dedicated to the punk rock lifestyle and its values, interspersed with interviews from Black punk rockers from all over the United States. Fans of the film and the music inspired an alternative movement that later became the annual Afropunk Festival.
Afro-Punk explores the lives of Black youth within a white punk subculture, with the aim of expanding notions of Blackness and reclaiming rock's roots by providing a platform for Black artists that were not given the opportunity elsewhere. Growing up bi-racial on the streets of New York City, Spooner discovered and connected with the punk music scene and its culture, but also felt alienated from both his white peers in the scene and the Black community outside the scene. After examining the world of hardcore punk in America at the time, and noticing the lack of people of colour, along with the absence of dialogue around race despite its activist leanings, he began to question what it means to be Black within alternative scenes.
A pre-recorded Q&A with director James Spooner hosted by Adam Murray will play shortly after the online screening of the film.
Content Notes: This film contains strong language that some may find offensive and is geo-blocked to UK region only.
About the Director
James Spooner is a graphic novelist, tattoo artist, illustrator, and filmmaker. He directed the seminal documentary Afro-Punk, which premiered at national and international film festivals, including Toronto International and The American Black Film Festival. James also co-founded the Afropunk Festival, which currently boasts audiences in the hundreds of thousands around the world. His debut graphic novel, The High Desert, was named in Publisher's Weekly best of 2022 and is available now.
Spooner’s work has been recounted in various publications, including NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Vice, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, MTV, NBC News and Variety, and he was a recipient of the ReNew Media Rockefeller Grant. He is an ongoing guest curator for the Broad Museum in Los Angeles and previously programmed for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Spooner is also a contributor to RazorCake Magazine, and he continues to screen Afro-Punk at colleges around the country, giving talks on punk and Black identity. He is currently co-editing an anthology with Soft Skull Press entitled Black Punk Now.
Adam Murray is the founder of Bristol Black Horror Club, a critic, and a regular programmer with film collectives and festivals, such as Come The Revolution, Cinema Rediscovered, Cables & Cameras and Commonhand. He is also a member of Universal Magnetic Radio Show. His programming interests focus on Blackness and the African diaspora on screen. With a particular passion for exploring Mixed-Race identity, Global Hip Hop Culture, Science Fiction: Utopia/Dystopia, as well as exploring Black Horror with Bristol Black Horror Club.
SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER
Kayus Bankole is a founding member and key creative force within the musical group, Young Fathers. The band have attracted critical praise the world over - winning the Scottish Album of the Year prize twice, the Mercury Prize and myriad other esteemed accolades. Comrades and collaborators of Massive Attack, Young Fathers have been heralded for their genre defying, uncompromising music and visceral, unforgettable, coruscating, live performances. Orbiting around the band, Kayus has deftly turned his hand to spoken word, exhibition curation, cultural conversations, contemporary dance and realms beyond.
Friday 11th November 2022 / 6pm for 10 days / Online
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AiM x Decolonise Fest Punk Mixtape
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Decolonise Fest centres the experiences of punx of colour, who we define this as people who are descended (through one or both parents) from the original inhabitants of Africa, Caribbean, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Australasia, North America, and the islands of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, and of Romany Gypsy or Traveller heritage.