The 2019 Full Circle Festival is in partnership with Essence Ventures thus dubbed Essence Full Circle Festival. It will take place in Accra in December and complete the Year of Return commemoration – marking 400 years since the first enslaved Africans, mostly Ghanaian arrived in Jamestown Virginia as part of the transatlantic slave trade.
The specially-curated, week-long immersion will enable engagement between U.S.-based cultural influencers and business executives with Ghanaian and regional leaders and communities, including explorations of history, cuisine, music, fashion, beaches, nightlife, commerce and more.
In an interview (video) on Hot 97 online with Ebro, Boris Kodjoe described how the festival began with his family and later grew to one-hundred and twenty people, mostly Hollywood stars in 2019. Boris added that the festival was in 2019 seeking to bring about 500 people to experience Ghana. He also touched on the Importance of returning to Africa and how the Full Circle Festival was going to touch all corners of the African continent.
ESSENCE Ventures in an article published on their website also outline how they are taking another major step towards supporting cultural ownership and economic collaboration through the launch of the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival.
They outline the focus of the festival on a three-part mission to:
(i) support cultural ownership and economic collaboration among Africans on the continent and people of African descent in the Diaspora;
(ii) connect Black communities globally for the exchange of ideas and shared objectives that leads to cultural monetization and community reinvestment;
(iii) facilitate the learning and discovery of the many facets of Africa’s beauty, excellence and opportunity globally.
For Essence, their partnership in the annual ESSENCE Full Circle Festival is to create an experience that “will focus on showcasing African nations increasingly as global destinations by highlighting their critical roles as ancestral, spiritual, cultural and commercial epicentres.”
“This partnership recognizes Ghana’s role as a beacon for people of African descent in this Year of Return,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019, is a conscious effort to cement our pan-African legacy. Throughout the Year, the Tourism Authority has worked with several partner organizations to welcome home our brothers and sisters from the Diaspora. The Essence Full Circle Festival is a welcome addition to the activities and will hopefully become one of the legacies of the year which celebrates African resilience.”
The 2019 ESSENCE Full Circle Festival will include the first-ever ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa, which will convene entrepreneurs, executives, entertainers and government officials to discuss how new opportunities for economic development and cultural exchange can be created.
“In furthering our mission to serve Black women deeply across the globe, ESSENCE is honoured to answer the call to ‘Return’ with the creation of the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival, beginning with Ghana and subsequently extending across the continent,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc. “We are grateful to be able to use the power of our platforms and the influence of our networks to positively impact narratives about Africa, as well as positively impact the people of Africa and the Diaspora through cultural and economic exchange.”
About 2018 Full Circle
The inaugural Full Circle Festival also included the participation of President Akufo-Addo and took place in Accra in December 2018, led by Full Circle Festival, LLC partners Boris Kodjoe, Patrick Kodjoe, Bozoma Saint John – all of Ghanaian descent – and Nicole Ari Parker. More than 120 invited guests including business executives, influencers, and celebrities from the United States travelled to Ghana for cultural engagement and ancestral reconnection, resulting in nearly 10,000 positive social media posts and half a billion media and social impressions, as well as an estimated economic impact of more than $70 million in tourism revenue.
— ESSENCE (@Essence) September 24, 2019