This February, AFROPUNK and Lincoln Center come together for their largest collaboration to date, a 2-day festival takeover at the new David Geffen Hall and Alice Tully Hall. Audiences can expect an immersive multidisciplinary experience that represents the razor’s edge in music, art, poetry, dance, performance art, and much more—all celebrating Black women throughout history, and proudly featuring Black women artists from around the world. As AFROPUNK continues to redefine the multicultural experience, this world-renowned, Brooklyn-based festival has expanded its reach and its mission to include a wide variety of events, partnerships, documentaries and programs that aim to uplift, educate and create space for marginalized communities, particularly a safe space for Black alternative culture. This can’t-miss, taste-making experience promises to represent the epitome of the AFROPUNK ethos.
Performers include Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter India.Arie, Tony Award-winning actress and playwright Sarah Jones, NAACP Image Award-nominated poet and activist aja monet, critically acclaimed artist Mereba, former The Voice contestant and recording artist Kimberly Nichole, renowned choreographer Ebony Williams (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Ciara), and rising singer-songwriters UMI, Danielle Ponder, and Celisse.
About the Performers:
India.Arie is an acclaimed singer and songwriter. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 23 nominations, including Best R&B Album. Her album Acoustic Soul debuted at number ten on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Within months Acoustic Soul was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The lead single, “Video” attained commercial success peaking at 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and becoming her highest-charting song in the region to date.
Sarah Jones is a Tony® Award-winning solo performer, writer, comedian and activist that has been called “a master of the genre” by The New York Times. She recently made her debut as a director with Sell/Buy/Date, in which she also stars. The film, executive produced by Oscar winner Meryl Streep, world premiered at the SXSW film festival as an opening night selection.Jones is mainly known for her multi-character one-person shows, including Broadway hit Bridge & Tunnel, originally produced by Streep, and the critically-acclaimed play Sell/Buy/Date, which inspired the film. She has also appeared in various film and TV projects, including co-starring (along with Elisabeth Shue, Giovanni Ribisi, and Julie Delpy) in the Netflix series, On the Verge. Renowned as “a one-woman global village,” Jones has given multiple main-stage TED Talks garnering millions of views, performed for President and First Lady Obama at the White House, and gave a performance at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as the first artist on its stage normally reserved for heads of state.
aja monet is a surrealist blues poet, storyteller, and organizer born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a recipient of the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam poetry award. Her first full collection of poems is titled, My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter on Haymarket Books. Her poems explore gender, race, migration, and spirituality. In 2018, she was nominated for a NAACP Literary Award for Poetry and in 2019 was awarded the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award for Poetry for her cultural organizing work in South Florida. Monet also co-founded a political home for artists and organizers called Smoke Signals Studio. She facilitates “Voices: Poetry for the People,” a workshop and collective in collaboration with Community Justice Project and Dream Defenders.
Mereba is a multifaceted artist with the life story of a rolling stone. Her unique blend of r&b, folk, and hip hop makes space for a new voice found in this wise young storyteller.
Kimberly Nichole has been slaying stages for over a decade. Her career catapulted when she became a Finalist and breakout star on Season 8 of The Voice where Christina Aguilera served as her mentor. Her show stopping performances received standing ovations from the coaches every week and even landed her on Billboard’s Top 100. Since then, she made her Broadway debut in the limited engagement of Rocktopia where The New York Times praised her performance in the show. And in 2019 she was cast as The Acid Queen in The Who’s ‘Tommy’ at the John F Kennedy Center of Performing Arts; Broadway Series.
Umi leads with peace. With this intention, the 23-year-old singer builds a space for healing in her music. Umi’s voice is a soft landing as her vocals gently call listeners to be reflective or embrace the range of their emotions. She’s been releasing music since 2017, including an earlier EP Introspection. Now she arrives with her debut album Forest in the City, after releasing the single, “Sorry.” Over 14 tracks, Umi offers an ode to returning to the abundant safe havens we all have within us.
Danielle Ponder is both empowering and a powerhouse. In 2020, NPR described her music as anthemic while compassionate; soulful, while bold and strong. For 5 years, Danielle worked as a public defender where she provided criminal defense to the indigent community. While working as a public defender, Danielle also toured Europe and scored an opening spot with George Clinton. After five years as a public defender, she made the gutsy decision to pursue her No.1 passion — music. This year, she’s had appearances on Late Night with Seth Meyers, CBS This Morning, tours with Marcus Mumford, Amos Lee, St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Leon Bridges.
Celisse is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer, and spoken word artist. Her deep and varied career has seen her in concert with many notable musicians such as Mariah Carey, Graham Nash, Melissa Etheridge and is a founding member of Trey Anastasio’s Ghosts of the Forest. In addition to her time on tour, she has performed alongside Kesha at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, Jon Batiste on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, and played lead guitar for Lizzo on Saturday Night Live.
Ebony Williams is a renowned dancer and choreographer, known for her incredible work with artists like Beyonce, Rihanna, Doja Cat, Ciara, Alicia Keys and countless others. She was also featured in the Misty Copeland book, “Black Ballerinas, My Journey to our Legacy” book and in the Boston Globe as one of “Boston’s Black Female Success Stories.”