Things to do in Miami: Planet Afropunk Miami at the Urban May 20-22, 2022

Before his set during Planet Afropunk Live: Miami on Sunday, May 22, Grammy-winning producer and DJ Michael Brun floats through Miami-Dade with a big smile. Before signing up for a study session, he visits his grandparents’ house nearby. When Brun speaks, he spices up his other-oriented monologues with a bit of wisdom and altruistic charm.

The 29-year-old Haitian possesses keen perception far beyond his years. His calm disposition never wavers, yet Brun carries the weight of half an island on his shoulders with fervent determination. Since his birth and upbringing in Port-au-Prince, Brun has made philanthropy for his countrymen his life’s work.

“As I have become more successful in my career, my responsibility as someone with a platform and a voice to use for the greatest good has doubled,” he says. New Times. “I’ve made it a big long-term mission of mine to see how I can make an impact in that space.”

As an ambassador for Artists for Peace and Justice, he has spent years advising Haitian youth and providing them with the necessary tools for a proper education. Now based in Brooklyn, he still feels compelled to help the people of his homeland.

At Planet Afropunk, Brun will share the stage with a dozen other international artists in a multi-cultural amalgamation of musical performances. Curated by Brun, this art fusion is Haitian “at its core,” with J. Perry and Kenny Haiti among several zoes in the lineup. Afro-Caribbean rhythms with electronic overlays and modern song structures make up only a fraction of the sounds to come.

click to enlarge Kah-Lo - PHOTO BY SHANE SUBAN

kah-lo

Photo by Shane Suban

Performances of this nature are a staple of Brun’s Bayo Tour series, a collection of high-octane party-type shows with more than 30 unique Haitian artists on display. Bayo (meaning “to give” in Haitian Creole) feeds off lively audiences, serving as a space for underrated artists to flourish in front of a roaring crowd.

Brun seeks to emulate this formula in Planet Afropunk. After back-to-back performances by Bayo in Boston and New York City on May 20 and 21, Miami is the last stop.

Additional acts like Kah-Lo from Nigeria and Shirazee from Benin add a transcontinental dimension to Brun’s Afropunk squad. “I love to represent where I come from in everything I do,” says Kah-Lo. “It’s ingrained in me and I can’t live life any other way. I weave my language (Yoruba) into a lot of my songs, so it always ends up being a part of my shows in some way.”

This is Brun’s first Afropunk appearance, and he hopes to bring close friends to this esteemed hub for black individualists. Through what he calls “the family approach,” Brun establishes a community atmosphere on tour to ensure all members feel heard and welcome. No one is there if they don’t want to be.

click to enlarge Shirazee - PHOTO BY EMMANUEL AGBEBLE

Shirazee

Photo by Emmanuel Agbeble

“Michael is more than a collaborator at this point,” says Shirazee. “I really feel like we’ve tapped into a chemistry and friendship that always makes us create powerful moments every time we connect. From our first moment together with ‘Soweto’ until now, it’s always special and I don’t see it changing.”

Brun has a lot of new music in store and a new album on the horizon. He plans to debut some work with the artists he’s bringing to Planet Afropunk.

As his reputation grows, Brun is more than happy to share the fruits of his labor with those around him. It’s an intrinsic quality that has opened many doors for him since he decided to pursue music full-time more than a decade ago.

“I feel like God [has been] guiding me and the universe [is] supporting me That changes your mindset. It gives you a perspective you can be thankful for. And I am grateful that I can be grateful,” she laughs.

Afropunk Planet Live: Miami. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday, at Urban, 1000 NE Second Ave., Miami; www.planetafropunk.com. Tickets are $100 through seetickets.us.

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