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How Thousands Of Diasporans Gathered At Ghana’s Capital For Inaugural Black Star Line Festival

Rappers<a href=httpshowafricacom> <a>Mensa<a href=httpshowafricacom> <a>and Chance Photo Erika GoldringWireimageGetty Images

 

On Friday, more than 50,000 people, including diasporans, gathered at Ghana’s Black Star Square in Accra for the inaugural Black Star Line Festival. The free open-air music festival was founded by Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa, a Chicago-born Ghanaian.

Other notable performers at the event included Erykah Badu, T-Pain, Tobie Nwigwe, and Ghanaian stars such as Sarkodie, Asakaa Boys, and M.anifest. The concert was the culmination of activities held earlier in the week by Mensa and Chance to bring the diaspora together to contribute their resources and skills to the development of the African continent. Panel discussions, fine art exhibitions, and nightlife events were among the activities.

On Thursday, ahead of the January 6 concert, comedian Dave Chappelle and Chance spoke at the University of Ghana. Chapelle, who was also at the concert on Friday, said it was “great” to be in Ghana. He expressed his desire to relocate to the West African country several months ago.

Dennis Haze, who came from Washington DC for the concert, told the BBC that “Its beautiful to see the Black American culture and African culture unite.”

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Ghana’s government launched the “Year of Return” initiative in 2019 in an effort to encourage Africans in the diaspora to return “home,” commune, and reactivate their love for their roots and people. That year also marked the 400th anniversary of the first African ship to arrive on the shores of the Americas, specifically Virginia.

Chance arrived in Ghana for the first time in January 2022, in response to Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo’s call for the diaspora to return to the’motherland.’ What was supposed to be just another vacation for Chance turned out to be much more than he had anticipated. He quickly became immersed in Ghana’s music culture and learned about the country’s rich anti-colonial history. He has visited Ghana three times since his first visit there. He decided to organize a free concert and art event so that others could enjoy Ghana’s diverse culture as much as he did.

The tagline for Chance’s concert is inspired by Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican activist and political leader who founded the Black Star Line, which became a source of economic opportunities and inspiration for black workers between North America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Mensa, who co-organized the concert with Chance, told Forbes that he has visited his family in Ghana since he was 11 years old. But it wasn’t until 2020 that he began to travel to Ghana on his own and cultivate relationships in the fields of music, fashion, and art.

“In those moments, I’ve started to recognize the immense privilege that I have to be in direct communication and conversation with my ancestry, as obviously something that’s been stolen by most of the people closest to me in life,” he said.

The rappers hope that the Black Star Line festival will help bridge the gap between Black people abroad and in Africa, they told AP.

“I think that specifically, the story of the founder’s independence is something that all black people should know,” he said “There are no free sub-Saharan African countries until 1957. I think they should know about the revolutionary leaders on the continent and abroad. I think that if we had this connectedness and this interaction, people will actually have a chance to see this.”

 

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Written by How Africa News

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