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Most Innovative Companies

Afropunk

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2016When Matthew Morgan and James Spooner held the first-ever Afropunk Festival in 2005, it had a clear mission: to create a community for black punk rockers, who so often felt unwelcome in the traditional punk scene. Since then, the festival has diversified, both in terms of its music acts and its audience; the 2015 festival, held in Brooklyn, featured everything from punk to R&B to pop, with the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Grace Jones headlining. Some have criticized this apparent gentrification of Afropunk--2015 was the first year that the organizers charged for entry, for example. But the festival has still managed to retain its rebellious, activist spirit, with an “Activism Row” set up on the event grounds featuring booths where nonprofits can connect with attendees. Organizers also created an earned entry option for fans--they got a free ticket in exchange for volunteering at certain local organizations. With the festival’s growth in popularity and cultural impact--not to mention the new revenue stream from ticket sales--Afropunk's organizers took the festival to Paris and Atlanta in 2015, and may expand to more cities this in 2016.
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