The Brooklyn edition of Afropunk wrapped up yesterday with a stellar performance by Raphael Saadiq (seen above)—just one of the 44 musical acts to take the stage at Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene this weekend. Anyone familiar with the annual festival knows that the music is just one element of it—it’s the beauty, the vibrant street style, the inclusivity (no racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ageism, ableism, or hatefulness allowed), and the activist slant that make Afropunk—now in its 15th year—a hotbed of cultural connectivity and openness.
Those of us lucky enough to attend the fest (ahem, yours truly) witnessed a veritable platter of hair, makeup, and mani inspo, from Solange and her gravity-defying curls to newcomer Quiñ, who downright killed it in a diamond bikini top and slicked-backed strands. Nails were no exception, both in terms of the performers and the attendees. In order to keep the Afropunk spirit alive well after it’s over and channel some of our favorite musical acts, we looked to nail expert Gracie J, a Queens native whose celebrity client roster includes model Karrueche Tran and Orange Is the New Black’s Dascha Polanco. She’s also the lead manicurist for TNT’s Claws, having designed more than 300 sets of nails across 10 episodes in the first season. (That’s a lot of talons!)
Here, the mani pro serves up four different nail art looks inspired by Afropunk icons SZA, Solange, Princess Nokia, and Serpent With Feet, the latter of whom has been known to rock a killer black mani during his performances. Click through the slideshow above to get inspired.