Afropunk Festival is a community that brings people together through art and music. This summer’s event features a wide array of genres and very talented women. It takes place over two days in Fort Greene, Brooklyn on August 25 and 26. This celebration of music and culture also takes place in Paris, London and Johannesburg, with variations on the line-up. EBONY has put together a list of must-see female artists at the 2018 Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn.

Janelle Monáe

The singer, dancer, songwriter is no stranger to Afropunk. As a vocalist and performer, she knows exactly how to mix old school influences with her ultramodern essence. She will most likely be dressed in her black and white attire and dish out new tunes from her latest album Dirty Computer. Just like the contrast in her outfits, Monae can go from energetic James Brown-esque dancing to sultry and soulful onstage.


The musical duo is made up of 20-year-old Cuban, French twins named Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz. The two singers combine pop, hip-hop and electronic influences in their singing. Naomi plays percussive instruments while Lisa-Kainde plays the piano. They are the daughters of late Cuban percussionist Angà Diaz and their father’s Yoruba culture deeply impacts their sound and vocals.


This indie-pop and R&B artist is inspired by smooth vocals from singers such as Aaliyah, Lauryn Hill and TLC. Her full name, Yunalis Binti Mat Zara’ai and she is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has collaborated Usher for her breakout single “Crush,” and her latest album Chapters also feature the track “Used to Love You” with guest vocalist Jhené Aiko.

Wicked Wisdom

Fans will see Jada Pinkett-Smith in a different light when she takes the stage with her heavy metal band at Afropunk. The Hollywood actress is unapologetic and relentless onstage as she delivers vocals that blend melodic singing with sonic shrills and guttural screeches. Even though the band Wicked Wisdom hasn’t released new music in 12 years, the set is worth checking out for the band’s intense dynamism. It will be a Smith family gathering, her children Jaden and Willow will also be performing at this summer’s festival.

Nova Twins

Another band that puts the “punk” in Afropunk is the London twosome Amy Love and Georgia Smith. They have a mangled sound that is filled with angst, distortion and funky bass lines. Nova Twins are an acquired taste but will appeal to fans of heavier genres of music and might even win over those who aren’t. Their sound is like a splash of frigid cold water but in a good way.

Lion Babe

This pair from New York City consists of singer Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman. The style of Lion Babe can shuffle from disco to neo-soul to pop and alternative R&B. Onstage, Hervey exudes sensuality and playfulness, her vocals can go as soft as a purr to a boisterous, harmonious roar and everything in between. Hervey also happens to be the daughter of actress Vanessa Williams.

Sho Madjozi

Rapper and songwriter whose real name is Maya Wegerif, from the Limpopo Province in South Africa, is shaking things up with her style and lyrical flow. She’s bringing Xibelani, an indigenous dance of Tsonga women in her province, to Afropunk. Her bright and lively stage presence is sure to win over the Brooklyn crowd.


“Psychoacoustic soul” is the genre on the artist’s Facebook page of this UK singer and sums up the vibe of her music. After all her one of her latest songs is titled “I Wish I Missed My Ex.” She has been a supporting touring act for artists such as Ed Sheeran and Emelie Sande. Her lyrics are personal and wistful, and her honeyed voice transposes between soul, R&B and a hint of reggae.


This R&B, electro-pop, Brooklyn-based duo is made up of singer Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny Kravitz) with drummer and producer Jimmy Giannopoulous. They have opened for musicians such as Lilly Allen, Azealia Banks and Miley Cyrus. Lolawolf creates a vibe that is entirely their own. Their music and lyrics can be dreamy, strange and just straight up savage, perfect for the varied Afropunk crowd.

Erykah Badu

This vocal and lyrical powerhouse is a headliner and for good reason. She grew up in the Chaka Khan school of soul music and her onstage presence stays true to her influences and her eclectic style. Badu is of the most genuine performers you can see live and whether you like it or not she is going to do and say whatever she feels like onstage. (If you like Erykah Badu also check out Jamila Woods who will also be performing.)