To close out 2019, hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to Accra, Ghana to celebrate the conclusion of The Year of Return, the country’s tourism push that took place in the 400th year since the first African captive was brought to the United States as a slave. Though the occasion’s roots might be a call for somber reflection and reverence, the tone of the whole affair, particularly at the end of December, was also one of celebration and homecoming.
Afrochella, a music festival and celebration of African culture, was one of the many events during this time where Black attendees from all over the world were able to rejoice in just that. And wherever Black people go to express their creativity, joy, and culture, there is beauty. Lots of it. Afrochella, which celebrated its third year, was no exception.
On December 28, thousands of people came not only to take in the musical artists (it is a music festival, after all), but also to immerse themselves and relish in their beautiful Blackness. The mood was, of course, decidedly Afrocentric, a safe space for Black people to express their unique beauty rooted in traditions from all over the continent (particularly West Africa), and the diaspora. In their looks, it is clear to see the melding of different worlds that are all connected, not just through blood and history, but through traditions and notions of beauty preserved and evolved, sometimes in the face of adversity. The resulting display is a reminder of the diversity of Blackness, of African-ness, and how important it is to celebrate it, not just in Ghana, but all over the world.
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