Attend a live film screening of the award-winning documentary, Afro-Punk ,followed by a live virtual presentation and Q&A session with the filmmaker, James Spooner. This event is in the 3rd Floor Community Meeting Room at the Central Library.
Afro-Punk (2003) is an award winning documentary film directed by James Spooner, 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 scores of 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 color, 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.
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. James’ debut graphic novel, The High Desert was named in Publisher’s Weekly best of 2022 and is available now. His 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. James 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 from Soft Skull Press entitled, Black Punk Now. James lives in LA with his partner, Lisa, and their dog, Rumi, a chocolate labradoodle.
Photo credit of James Spooner: Magda Wosinska