Celebrating the Alternative

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Celebrating the Alternative

Shahadah Tobias, Staff Writer

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Alternative style is associated with fashion, music, and activities that range from a plethora of subcategories such as goth, grunge, and hipster. What makes alternative style stand out is how it separates the person from mainstream culture.
When people think of someone who is alternative, however, the last group of people they think of as participants in this style are black people. I’m here to tell you that alternative black people do exist in every form.
The biggest assumption about alternative black youth is that they want to be white, which isn’t the case at all. There are thousands of black teens and adults who enjoy k-pop, anime, dying their hair crazy colors, and dressing in alternative fashions, they do this not because it seems white, but because they enjoy the aesthetics of it, the diversity in it, and the artistry of it.
Dressing alternatively allows young black people to express themselves and shows that people of color enjoy this lifestyle.
One aspect of alternative black youth culture that exists, is a battle between older and younger generations. A lot of alternative black teens are ridiculed by other black people who either don’t understand the aesthetic quality of these styles, feel that it is a sign of self-hatred for being black, or a symbol of someone who does not appreciate their culture.
Black people, of any age, have had to adapt to popular trends set by white people since the thirties, in order to properly accommodate their differences hair texture and skin tone. Trends in the seventies, eighties, and nineties that became prominent amongst the black community revolved around the hip hop genre.
Today, the Afropunk Festival is an annual celebration that allows black people who participate in the alternative lifestyle while still appreciating and accepting their cultural roots.
The key components of this annual festival are music, fashion, and art. The festival acts as a catwalk for both men and women to showcase their outfits that are a blend of colorful, bohemien aesthetics with traditional African styles. This festival is a huge celebration and upliftment for black people who’s styles and interests never fit into what is considered normal.

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