The bad news we’ve all had to accept: We can’t go to Africa (or anywhere) this Memorial Day. But the good news? Questlove and The Roots are bringing their inaugural Africa Day festival right to your living room so you can experience the joy, culture and music of the continent.
This is a 24-hour virtual event, officially begins at 12:00 am EDT on Monday, May 25, with an introduction from Naomi Campbell at 11:50 pm EDT on Sunday, May 24. After that #TheRootsAfricaDay will feature live performances, DJ sets and conversations from some of the biggest artists across the globe. Questlove kicks off the program with a 2-hour live DJ set.
Campbell, who has frequented the continent for decades and supports many charitable initiatives there, recently told ESSENCE of her connection to Africa. “I miss the continent. I miss Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya. They’re all so different but the one common thread is that I feel grounded and I feel peaceful when I’m in Africa.”
At the center of #The RootsAfricaDay programming is “The Bridge: A discussion in the Diaspora,” co-hosted by Black Thought and Tina Farris, cofounder of the content series The Bridge. Their discussion includes guest speakers: Nasty C (South African), Tobe Ngiwe (Nigerian-American), Mereba (Ethiopian-American) and Bobi Wine (Ugandan).
The day-long concerts will also feature performances from African music acts like Sean Kuti (Nigeria), Mereba (US, Ethiopia), D’Banj (South Africa), Moonchild Sanelly (South Africa), Ayo (Nigerian-German) plus a heavy rotation of global deejay sets. They have tapped sound selectors Makeda (Rwanda/Jamaica), DJ Zinhle (South African), Juls (Ghana) and many more to spin from their respective homes throughout the event.
Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day) is a celebration of the independence, freedom and liberation strife of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) from its creation on May 25, 1963, in the fight against colonialism. Select programming from #TheRootsAfricaDay will stream on the ESSENCE’s Facebook channel on Monday from 10:00 am to 1 pm ET and air simultaneously on The Roots’ YouTube channel throughout the day.