Africa Day is primarily an acknowledgement of a continent with a deep history, culture, and a great future. Each year on May 25th, Africans around the globe celebrate Africa Day. The day commemorates the founding of the first union of African countries in 1963. The charter called for greater unity among African countries. It supported the independence of African countries from colonialism and apartheid and promoted economic and political cooperation with a vision that all people on the continent would live freely and in prosperity.
The Africa Day concert is an event that recognizes the next wave and celebrates the new generation of African superstars, an age of talent infiltrating the world. Hosted by renowned singer and actor Idris Elba, the concert is a partnership between him, YouTube, and MTV Base Africa. The 2020 concert was a benefit event with returns going to raise funds for those impacted by COVID-19; this year’s event was devised to bring together millions of isolated Africans. With a heritage from Ghana and Sierra Leone and born in London, Elba considers his role as connective tissue between Africa and the globe, and there’s no better way for him to do this than by creating a platform that showcases and celebrates African Music.
Speaking in an interview with Variety, Idris shared that there has been a false representation of Africa in Film and TV for years. “ Africa is fascinating. A growing economy, growing population, incredible thinkers and innovators, and the narrative needs to be pumped out there. Having moments like this is one way to show people Africa in a contradictory way to the narrative in the mainstream. The Africa Day concert is a tentacle of that narrative. I believe I’ve been planting the seed and pushing the narrative for Africa for a very long time. And I’m going to continue doing that.” he said
The show was skillfully curated into three sessions. Performances, special appearances, and a segment highlighted things you should know about Africa and its people. Hosting the event from Cape Town, South Africa, Elba officially kickstarted the show that featured a handful of artists and comedians hailing from Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Angola, Tanzania, to Kenya. The artists included South Africa’s Elaine, Amapiano rapper Focalistic and Afro Pop duo Blaq Diamond, Nigerian artists performing included Teni, Bella Shmurda, and Omah Lay. Joining them were Ghanaian singer Gyakie and Suspect 95 from the Ivory Coast. Kenya’s Bahati and Tanzania’s Zuchu.
Zandile Tisani, a Johannesburg-based filmmaker with a background in fine art production, styling, and photography, was the performance director of the Africa Day Concert. She artistically set up the stages, outfits, choreography and arranged the performances so that the artists felt in tune with the music and themselves.
Celebrities like Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Angelique Kidjo, Fally Ipupa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and footballer Pierre-Emerick Auyabameyang also made appearances during the virtual event, where they expressed their joy, solidarity, and love for Africa, describing it as beautiful, life, magic, rich, power, and home.
Four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo had this to say, “Music that comes from Africa impacted Music around the world. Every time music is written or played, Africa is at the heart of it.” The Beninese-American singer-songwriter, actress, and activist are noted for their diverse musical influences and creative music video—a legend in the music world.
“ What a year of achievement it’s been for Africa and its people. We launched a trade agreement where 3.4 trillion dollars will see African countries trading and co-operating better. In sports, we dominated the UFC, and we also got a new head of the International Trade Organization. So many Africans who’ve impacted Africa and the world and don’t get spoken about enough. We’re about to change all that! ” said Idris
Watch the Africa Day concert here.