Afropunk Festival is a music festival held annually in Brooklyn, New York City since 2005. It was held in Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park in 2015, and expanded to Paris and Atlanta that year. Taking its name from James Spooner's 2003 documentary film, Afro-Punk, the festival originally sought to provide black people an opportunity to build community amongst the predominantly white punk subcultures. The festival shifted to include soul music to attract a wider audience, bringing in headliners like Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz, and Gary Clark, Jr.. Musical performers now represent a variety of genres, primarily known to reflect African-American culture.
It should be noted that though the festival came from James Spooner's vision, he has said in numerous occasions that it has strayed far from his original vision, such as promoting mainstream acts that do not fall in line with the D.I.Y. punk ethos and / or have sexist and homophobic messages. Spooner himself does not employ or curate any part of the festival nor does he receive any of its profits.
O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and filmmaker. He began his career as a member of the hip-hop group C.I.A. and later joined the seminal rap group N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes). After leaving N.W.A in December 1989, he built a successful solo career in music and films. Additionally, he has served as one of the producers of the Showtime television series Barbershop and the TBS series Are We There Yet?, both of which are based upon films in which he portrayed the main character.
Ice Cube is noted as a proficient lyricist and storyteller and is regarded as a brutally honest rapper; his lyrics are often political or socio-political, as well as violent, confrontational, and aggressive, and he is considered one of the founding artists in gangsta rap. He was ranked #8 on MTV's list of the 10 Greatest MCs of All Time, while fellow rapper Snoop Dogg ranked Ice Cube as the greatest MC of all time. AllMusic has called him one of hip-hop's best and most controversial artists, as well as "one of rap's greatest storytellers". In 2012, The Source ranked him #14 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time. In 2014, About.com ranked him No. 11 on their list of the "50 Greatest MCs of All Time".
Thomas DeCarlo Callaway (born May 30, 1974), better known by his stage name CeeLo Green (sometimes rendered as Cee Lo Green or Cee-Lo Green), is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and businessman.
Green came to initial prominence as a member of the Southern hip hop group Goodie Mob and later as part of the soul duo Gnarls Barkley, with record producer Danger Mouse. Subsequently he embarked on a solo career, partially spurred by YouTube popularity.
Internationally, Green is best known for his soul work: his most popular was Gnarls Barkley's 2006 worldwide hit "Crazy", which reached number 1 in various singles charts worldwide, including the UK. In the United States, "Crazy" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Its parent album St. Elsewhere (2006), was also a hit, peaked at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart and number 4 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart. Gnarls Barkley's second album, The Odd Couple (2008), charted at number 12 on the Billboard 200.
In 2010, Green took a hiatus from working with Danger Mouse, and released a solo single titled "Fuck You!", on August 19. The song became a successful single, with the radio-edit version "Forget You", reaching the top spot in the UK and the Netherlands and peaked at number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Its parent album, The Lady Killer (2010), saw similar success, peaking within the top five of the UK Albums Chart and debuting within the top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, receiving a Gold certification from the BPI in the UK. His next two singles, "It's OK" and "Bright Lights Bigger City" were also hits in Europe. From 2011 to 2014, Green was a judge and coach on American reality television singing competition The Voice, appearing on four of its seasons.[a] In 2013, Green reunited with the rest of Goodie Mob, to release their fifth studio album Age Against the Machine. In 2011 he did a concert with Prince in Madison Square Garden.
He worked as a voice actor in the animated feature Hotel Transylvania (2012), and also appeared in a few television programs and films—including his own show, The Good Life, on TBS. Green has endorsed 7 Up, Duracell, M&M’s, and sake brand TY KU. His work has earned numerous awards and accolades, including five Grammy Awards, a BET Award, a Billboard Award, and a Brit Award.
Janelle Monáe Robinson (born December 1, 1985), known professionally as Janelle Monáe (/ /), is an American musical recording artist, actress, & model signed to her own imprint, Wondaland Arts Society, and Atlantic Records. After making a mark with her first unofficial studio album, The Audition, she publicly debuted with a conceptual EP titled Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), which peaked at number 115 on the Billboard 200 in the United States.
In 2010, Monáe released her first full-length studio album, The ArchAndroid, a concept album sequel to her first EP; it was released by Bad Boy Records. The album received critical acclaim and garnered a Best Contemporary R&B Album nomination at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. The song "Tightrope" was also nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the same ceremony. With this industry recognition, the album has also been more successful commercially, officially reaching the number 17 spot on the Billboard 200.
Monáe's music has garnered her six Grammy Award nominations. In March 2012, "We Are Young" by Fun., on which Monáe appears as a guest vocalist, reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, her first appearance in the US Top 10. In August 2012, Monáe became a CoverGirl spokeswoman. On September 10, 2013, she released her second studio album, The Electric Lady, to critical acclaim. Boston City Council named October 16, 2013 "Janelle Monáe Day" in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, in recognition of her artistry and social leadership.