Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa’s 2023 Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana, made its historic inaugural debut with a jam-packed week of events and panels at cultural centers throughout Accra, all culminating in an explosive concert –– combining music, art, and culture. The free gatherings provided opportunities for education, enrichment, and cultural diffusion. On Friday, Jan. 6, 52,000 fans attended the monumental concert. The music & arts festival was set in the historic Black Star Square and aimed to bridge Black people and artists of the Diaspora and the globe with the continent.
“The Black Star Line Festival is more than just a celebration of Black culture and music, it’s a chance for the Diaspora to come together as a community and remind ourselves of the power that lies within us,” says Chance the Rapper. “It’s an opportunity to honor the legacy of those who came before us, and to inspire and uplift each other. It’s a historic event and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Black Star Line Festival.”
The historic Black Star Square is a monument to the political freedom that Ghanaians fought for and won in 1957. Ghana was the first Sub-Saharan African country to free itself from colonialism under the leadership of its first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah –– many nations on the continent soon followed. Dr. Nkrumah was inspired by Jamaican-Born revolutionary Marcus Garvey, who believed in a free Africa and a global connection between the people of the continent and Black people globally. When Dr. Nkrumah developed Ghana’s flag and principles, he insisted that these principles were crucial for the forward mobility of its people.
The festival title’s origins were inspired by civil rights leader Marcus Garvey’s iconic Black Star Line. Founded in 1919 and operated by Black people, the line would link America, the Caribbean, and Africa, to global shipping and tourism opportunities. The Black Star Line was a symbol of pride for Africans and Black people in all ports of call. After nearly 40 years, the Ghanaian government launched their fleet with the same name, in homage to Garvey, and even added a black star to the country’s new flag.