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This is How Ghana Enlightened African-American Stars to Dispel Stereotypes About the Continent, Africa

Ghana is on the lips of every African American with an interest in Africa after dozens of Hollywood stars visited in December at the invitation of the Ghana government through international celebrities Boris Kodjoe and Bozoma Saint John.

93 celebrities including Anthony Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Michael Jai White, Idris Elba, Cynthia Bailey, Naomi Campbell, Jidenna, real estate mogul Jay Morrison, media personalities Mike Hill, Ebro Darden, Isha Sesay and many more were in the country for the week-long Full Circle Festival to connect to their African roots.

With some stepping on the motherland for the very first time, the trip, while leaving cherished memories also enlightened them about the real Africa – which is not synonymous with poverty and war as always shown by the international media.

With a very rich history and spectacular historical places to visit, some of the stars shared their experiences and the knowledge they gained when they visited Ghana.

Scroll through to read some of them:

Diggy Simmons 

“Perhaps I’m ignorant. Perhaps I have been for some time now. Many of my perceptions, or misperceptions rather, were overdue to be rightfully shattered. It’s a shame—as one with many friends from Cameroon, Nigeria, and other countries throughout the continent of Africa—that I have remained so unaware. These friends raved about their homelands, and somehow their praise fell upon deaf ears, in part due to that as a child, Africa, to me, seemed branded as less than alluring. The media and my societal narrative has often viewed Africa with a lens of violence, poverty, and underdevelopment. This portrayal has caused generations of Africans to abandon their own heritage and traditions. During my trip to Ghana, I can’t say I’ve ever felt more comfortable in a space. I don’t think I stopped my Shaku from the time I got off the plane. Every stereotype that’s been perpetuated never pointed to me feeling this free. I was also fortunate enough to visit the slave dungeons in Cape Coast—small quarters where over a hundred of my potential ancestors were held captive on any given day with no nourishment, suffering in their own feces and urine. As heartbreaking as it was to stand on those grounds, my takeaway—apart from feeling both inspired and devastated—was a galvanized sense of pride. I felt as if I gained a more authentic and emboldened sense of self, furthering my own understanding of endurance through my ancestors’ plight. Thank you to @boriskodjoe @nicoleariparker @badassboz @thedebonairdisciple @nathanyahhalevi for the introduction to my truth. My year couldn’t have began with more clarity.”

Gillian White

“I couldn’t post this for awhile…I think because, emotionally, it broke my heart and the pain I felt for my ancestors was real…so real….and it took time for me to truly process this entire experience. Sitting on the edge of the castle, looking out at this magnificent sea was breathtaking but at the same time extremely heartbreaking because I knew this same magnificent sea carried boats of my ancestors who were shackled, tortured and stolen from their land to be sold as slaves in America. 
We were led down into the dungeons where they were held…it was stifling, unbearably hot and dark with only a tiny window with a sliver of light coming through…hundreds were forced in here like cattle…many died and the others who survived were kept among the dead sometimes for months until it was time for them to be taken away. I took it all in…the smell of the dungeons…the stains of blood and sickness forever engraved into the stone floors…I felt the walls where the holes still remained that held the shackles…closing my eyes, my mind could hear the cries and wails of mothers and children, elders and men….and I broke. A mixture of tears of anger and sadness ran hot and fast down my face and I ached inside for the souls of all that 
were taken from their Motherland. I can’t even explain how seeing my two daughters in tears, embrace and hold each other once we came out made me feel…it completely overwhelmed me. To learn about the transatlantic slave trade in grade school, to watch documentaries on it in high school, to imagine it as I read about it in books in my Howard University classes, could NEVER amount to the real lessons I learned actually being there…and I’m so glad our daughters got a chance to truly understand and feel the enormity of the African slave trade…something they never would have learned simply in a 2 page basic summary in a school history book. They took us away to never return, but we did…we did. So blessed to have this experience with everyone who was a part of the #fullcirclefestival.

Gabourey Sidibe

“This is what we were doing in #Ghana. We were returning home. #FullCircleFestival (Camera work is shotty because I was crying but hearing him is more important than seeing him)”

AJ Johnson

“I am excited to unleash this renewed power and ready for how God plans to use all that is in me in 2019 and beyond. This trip was beyond every prayer and bigger than all of my dreams. I’ll be back home soon, Africa, but time to visit the US.”

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