\\ Five women who will be doing things differently at AFROPUNK London

AFROPUNK is more than a festival; its championing of afro-culture and fluidity create a space of acceptance, no matter your race, orientation or gender-identity. In another breath, the sonic diversity of the line-up speaks volumes. In celebration of AFROPUNK and the women who will be representing the festival in London this weekend, we pick out five ladies from the line-up who are doing things differently.

\\ Willow

Willow released her first single when she was 10 years old. Whip My Hair became an anthem or an agony, depending on your stance. As her musicality has developed however (she’s still only 17), she’s continued to explore ways of exploring her identity in ways that would intimidate most other teenagers. In Organisation and Classification, she declares; “I am the oldest one up in my mind but not in real time/ I’m just a teenager/ But I feel angrier than a swarm of hornets/ They call us whores but it’s just because we do just what we want and don’t look back once.”

\\ Nao

When googling an artist for the first time, it’s always interesting to see what appears at the top, and what it says about the artist’s identity. For NAO, it’s the National Audit Office. Beyond that however, she’s a vocalist who’s accomplished the ‘cross over’ from neo-soul to pop in a credible way that compromises the values of neither scene. Boyfriend is ridic catchy.

\\ Little Simz

Little Simz is nestled in the hearts of anyone who knows the struggle of running a successful independent music career. She’s a role model for women and indeed in fact anyone who wants to create their own path as a musician (note: not simply ‘rapper’) without following a patriarchal system. She continues to build a huge following for herself in the States, where she says she feels more understood as a musician than she does in the UK. To the Brits who haven’t yet realised the weight of her impact; educate yourself at AFROPUNK.

\\ Mahalia

From the British midlands, Mahalia draws spoken word and her experience as an actor (she was in Brotherhood) to the forefront of her musical expression. Raised on a diet of Erykah Badu and the Fugees, she’s been signed to a label since the age of 13 (she’s 17 now), but has been taking things slow. She told I-D, “It’s been so important to me to finish school and get my qualifications. I really wanted to give myself and my music time to develop and grow”. Smart moves.

\\ Kiah Victoria

Kiah Victoria has appeared on Broadway’s Lion King and even as part of Postmodern Jukebox’s ongoing Youtube series. Over the last year she’s begun to reveal her own music; soul-pop tracks with rhythmic verses. She could be America’s answer to Lianne La Havas, but with New York swagger.

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JS | Tina Edwards

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