Afro-Punk

Afro-Punk

It feels like, as the film progresses, that the director is biting off more than he can chew. What this film tackles is race, identity, culture, subcutlures (esp. punk, obviously), and everything that goes with it. In its short run time, there's no way the vastness of these topics can be properly addressed. Similarly, the huge number of interview subjects means that few of them are fully revealed to us. The film is more of an outline than a full documentary, it seems.

Still, it has some wonderful insights, both into the topics at hand and the people speaking. It does not shy away from depicting the racial tensions, monocultural flaws, and general ugliness of punk rock, but it also has moments of pure adulation and appreciation for the subculture. The film lets the interviewees speak honestly about their experiences as outsiders, both in a broader sense and within the punk scenes they found themselves in. In the end, no definitive statement is made, but there's a sense that punk rock both reflected the overarching racial paradigm in that African-Americans/black people were/are still Othered among the predominantly white subculture and that the accepting, DIY, misfit nature of it created a safe and/or welcoming place for these kids that are the subjects of this film. Anyone passingly aware of punk rock's weird diversity issues would not be surprised by either of these facts.

Other than the lack of time to explore all of this, my other complaint is that it also didn't give the music as much a focus as I would have wanted. I do love punk rock, and hearing more of it is always welcome.

December count: 63/100.

Sally Jane liked this review