"There are people who willingly assign themselves to boxes and there are people who feel like they have never fit into them," states Saul Williams, one of our rare true cultural leaders. In our rapidly shrinking world of originality, where every "cool" party in town has the same twenty people and every magazine cover the same five celebrities, there is an antidote to global homogeneity and it's called AfroPunk Fest. Saul (a regular headliner) and AfroPunk are synonymous for StyleLikeU in terms of the injection of inspiration that we get from their box-smashing ideologies. "We are hybrids -- we are all multiracial. But at the end of the day, it's poetry, music, and art -- that's what we're about," Saul says of the festival, which is packed with the most innovative style and soul energy on the planet.
"People have to be strong and realize their power," says Saul, who manifests his mastery in an African print jacket from Rwanda (his wife got it for him), archetypal rings, arm candy that screams worldly, spiritual being, and Damir Doma woven leather shoes that kill the game in their class-meets-classless sensibility. Following Saul is the veiled Bella Smith, proudly announcing her "death on arrival" (i.e she kills everyone with her swag when she shows up). There's also Nehemiah, of NJ Street Klan, in his luxe Christian/Muslim moment and Gideon Wildflower, who, in a pencil skirt and tucked-in button-down, made it known that the world needs "more acceptance of itself and less poisoning of itself." There are cameos by some of our favorite artists too: Mykki Blanco in boxer shorts, the Skins's Bayli in DIY jeweled overalls, and more.
There is a culture where youth is actually wildly abandoned in their sartorial expression, and it pours out of the woodwork during the AfroPunk Fest. "Take off the uniforms," Saul exhorts. "I don't have a fucking definition of punk. We need anarchy."
Elisa & Lily