When Chance the Rapper visited West Africa earlier this year, he initially thought the trip with fellow Chicago hip-hop artist Vic Mensa would be just a vacation trip.
Instead, the Grammy winner connected on a deeper level with his Mensa father’s family in Ghana and other natives of his homeland. I immersed myself in the art scene and learned more about the country’s rich history of being the first sub-Saharan African country to free itself from colonialism.
After making a few more trips to Ghana, Chance decided to create a free concert series and visual arts show so others could experience the country’s vibrant culture as he did. Over the summer, Chance and Mensa brought eight students from Chicago to Ghana to learn more about Africa.
“I felt so free in Ghana… I want others to feel the same way,” said Chance, who will host the first-ever Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana in 2023 with Mensa. January 6th performance by Chance, Mensa, Erykah Badu, T-Pain, Jeremih, Sarkody, Tobe Nwigwe, Asakaa Boys and M.anifest.
The event will be held at Accra’s Black Star Square, a monument to the political freedoms won by Ghanaians in 1957. The festival’s title was inspired by civil rights leader Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line, founded in 1919 and run by blacks. Helped connect global shipping and tourism opportunities between the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.
Garvey inspired Chance’s music video “YAH Know” featuring King Promise and his upcoming album “Star Line Gallery” due out next year. He has already released several other new music videos, including “Child of God,” “Bar About a Bar,” and “Hi’s and Lows,” with Joey Bada, and has used ” It’s called album art in Africa.
According to Chance, Nyla Opiangar’s “Child of God” artwork will be on display at the festival. He said his new “song is a candid reality of black life.”
“Artists have great graphics and album covers and a single artwork released every day by great artists,” he said. “But the only time you can see it is in this little inch-by-inch depiction. The ability to interact with them within enhances people’s understanding of music.”
Chance said he hopes the festival will help bridge the gap between blacks abroad and Africa.
“I think the story of founder independence in particular is something every black person should know,” he said. With this connection and interaction, I think people have a chance to see this in action. ”
Initially, it was difficult to get promises from well-known music artists to travel and perform in West Africa. With few sponsors, much of the cost of funding the free concert was out of pocket.
But the Chance team found a way to make travel more affordable for travelers through a partnership with United Airlines, which is offering discounted fares to Ghana for one year.
It took a lot of work to put on such a short event, but Chance believes the festival will be a success for the next 50 years. In the future, we would like to host festivals in other countries such as Jamaica and Haiti.
But for now, Chance’s focus has been on attracting more people to Ghana. Ghana is where he can envision where his family will live after his daughters start college.
“I wish I could live there now,” said the rapper, who has lived in Chicago all his life. I want to.”