Taking place at the Movenpick Hotel on December 31, the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa has a mission to create new opportunities for economic development, cultural exchange and how the private sector can help sustainably drive this development and transform African communities on the continent and across the Diaspora.
The Forum, a centrepiece of the weeklong ESSENCE Full Circle Festival activities, will convene entrepreneurs, executives, entertainers, influencers and government officials to establish an agenda driving economic and cultural collaboration among Black communities globally.
The ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa will partner with additional African nations to further this mission, and upcoming cities will be announced moving forward.
The ESSENCE Full Circle Festival takes place from December 27, 2019 through January 3, 2020 and will commemorate the Year of Return, honour common heritage and celebrate African ancestry, culture and achievement.
It will unite more than 200 influencers and business executives from the United States and across the Diaspora with Ghanaian and regional leaders and communities via a cultural exploration of history, cuisine, music, fashion, nightlife, commerce and more. Local collaborations have been key in helping to curate the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival experience, with Ghanaian businesses and brands such as Giraffe & Co., Gold Coast, BBnZ, Kollage & Glitz, Sankofa Chips, R&R Luxury, DUNK, Joselyn Dumas Foundation, Studio Online, Best AM, linkn solutions, Enosh by Design and more.
In addition to the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa, engagement activities during the week will include cultural and heritage experiences in Cape Coast, Kumasi, and Ada, city tours of Accra, local events including the Beach Polo Cup and Afrochella, New Year’s Eve celebrations and a Service and Exchange Day in Accra on January 2 that will include volunteer initiatives as well as entrepreneurship and creative industry masterclasses. Packages and tickets are available for the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa and various social activities, including New Year’s Eve celebrations, at www.essencefullcirclefestival.wrstbnd.com.
The ESSENCE Full Circle Festival is a venture between Full Circle Festival, LLC – founded by Boris Kodjoe, Bozoma Saint John, and Patrick Kodjoe, all of Ghanaian descent, and Nicole Ari Parker – in partnership with Essence Ventures, an independent consumer technology company – founded by Liberian entrepreneur, investor and social impact innovator Richelieu Dennis – that merges content, community and commerce and is the parent company of Essence Communications, Inc.
The inaugural Full Circle Festival took place in December 2018 and brought more than 100 guests to Accra for cultural engagement and ancestral reconnection, resulting in an estimated economic impact of more than $70 million in tourism revenue for Ghana. Under the newly-formed partnership, the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival is focusing on a three-part mission:
(1) supporting cultural ownership and economic collaboration among Africans on the continent and people of African descent in the Diaspora;
(2) connecting Black communities globally for the exchange of ideas and shared objectives that leads to cultural monetization and community reinvestment; and
(3) facilitating the global learning and discovery of African nations as ancestral, spiritual, cultural and commercial epicenters.
ESSENCE FULL CIRCLE FESTIVAL QUOTE SHEET
His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana: “This partnership recognizes Ghana’s role as a beacon for people of African descent in this Year of Return. 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.”
Richelieu Dennis, Founder and Chair of Essence Ventures: “As someone born and raised in West Africa and who has spent adulthood in the U.S., there is no greater joy than forging partnerships with a purpose rooted in the elevation and the promise of the people of the African continent and the Diaspora. My family and I spent three decades building a global beauty business and business model that empower, among others, women Shea butter processors in Northern Ghana – women just like my grandmother. We believe economic inclusion is a human right, so we are thrilled to bring the first ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa to the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival. Our continued goal is to be catalysts and connectors for long-term economic empowerment, growth and cross-sector job creation in Black communities globally through increased engagement, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment.”
Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc.: “In furthering our mission to serve Black women deeply across the globe, ESSENCE is honored to answer the call to ‘Return’ with the creation of the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival and the first ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa, beginning with Ghana and subsequently extending across the continent. 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. We are thrilled to celebrate the Year of Return and our African ancestry, culture and achievement in the vibrant country of Ghana as we reconnect over our heritage, connect over new experiences and co-create viable opportunities for the future.”
Boris Kodjoe, Co-Founder of Full Circle Festival, LLC: “It’s so important that as people of African descent, we see and feel the beauty of the continent and the majesty of our people for ourselves. There isn’t a more transformative and empowering experience than to honor the Year of Return and its 400-year history while in Ghana reconnecting with our cultural heritage, celebrating our ancestry and co-creating our future with our brothers and sisters on the continent. I hope that our ESSENCE Full Circle Festival partnership will ultimately encourage more people to visit nations across Africa, as well as serve as an example of the impact that can be made when we join in the spirit of collective purpose and progress.”
ESSENCE Full Circle Festival partners include SheaMoisture, Microsoft, Conservation International and the Office of Diaspora Affairs