Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa are the leading the charge on the Black Star Line festival, a major music gathering to be held in Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana, on Jan. 6, 2023. The Chicago-based artists made the announcement over the weekend in front of Ghanian fashion collective Free the Youth’s flagship store.
“When Vic and I started our careers and started touring, we did shows all over the U.S.,” Chance said. “Eventually we started touring in Europe [and] we did shows in Asia, South America, Central America, but we never had a chance to play our music for the people who support us the most. When we came here and touched down and felt the love that we received and the fans that we got to connect with, the understanding for the need for the connection became apparent to us. We need a music festival bringing major artists to Ghana. This is what we’re working to create.”
“Everything we’re doing is with the goal of uniting and building a bridge between black people of the diaspora and the globe with the continent,” Mensa added. “And Ghana is the gateway to all of that.”
“Me and Vic have a vision of a connected global network of black people Ghana, from Nigeria, from Burkina Faso, down to South Africa, to Brazil, to the islands, to the U.S to the U.K.,” Chance said. “To the black people that are everywhere in this world, we need connection.”
The festival’s location in Black Star Square is significant, as the area symbolizes Ghana’s escape from colonial rule in 1957 under the leadership of its first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah was guided in his dedication to an Africa free of imperialism by early civil rights trailblazer Marcus Garvey, whose Black Star Line shipping line serves as the festival’s moniker.
The announcement came as part of Chance and Mensa’s second trip to Ghana this year, during which they were accompanied by eight Chicago-area students. “World. Us. We invite you to West Africa,” Chance said. “We see the biggest artists in the world coming down for a shared experience. We see 38,000 people — a sea of black folks standing out there.”
Chance’s next album, Star Line Gallery, is due later this year. His recent singles include “A Bar About a Bar,” “Child of God” and “The Highs & Lows.”