Questlove, Naomi Campbell To Headline 24-Hour Roots Africa Day Festival on Memorial Day
Naomi Campbell

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.”

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The Roots’ production company, Two One Five Entertainment, and The Bridge, which is executive produced and curated by Tina Farris and Suede present: #TheRootsAfricaDay. The celebration on YouTube will feature 24 hours of DJ’s, performances, messages of hope, faith and powerful conversations from around the world and around the corner! Essence will host a Watch Party on their Facebook Page providing a peek into the 24hour experience on May 25th from 10:00AM – 1:00 PM ET. Special Thanks to Aya Chebbi Youth Envoy of the African Union, Ilwaad Elman of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center and Ndaba Mandela of the Mandela Institute for Humanity for your consultations and Nelson Makamo for the use of your paining “Modumokgole” Respect to the numerous DJ’s, Artists, Managers, Crew and everyone in the Diaspora who donated their time freely to this event in the true spirit of Ubuntu. AFRICA IS FOR EVERYONE See the full lineup below (in EDT): DJ Sets: 11:50 PM Sunday May 24th – 12:00 AM Tuesday, May 26th. Naomi Campbell Kicks off the event: 11:50 PM (Sunday May, 24th) Questlove: 12:00 – 2:00 AM @batida_apresenta_qualquercoisa : 2:00 – 3:00 AM @kkaybie : 3:00 – 4:00 AM @contactmakeda : 4:00 – 5:00 AM @jeunelio : 5:00 – 6:00 AM @boddhisatva : 6:00 – 8:00 AM @djzinhle : 8:00 – 10:00 AM @iamdjedu : 10:00 – 12:00 PM @djsoupamodel : 12:00 – 2:00 PM @djmalvado_oficial : 2:00 – 3:00 PM @djtira : 3:00 – 4:00 PM @poizonivythedj : 4:00 – 6:00 PM @julsbaby_ : 6:00 – 8: @djmohogany : 8:00 – 9:00 PM @nanakwabena : 9:00 – 10:00 PM @questlove : 10:00 – 12:00 AM The Bridge: A discussion in the Diaspora: 9:00 – 10:10 AM Co-Hosted by @blackthought and @tinafarristours Guests include: @tobenwigwe @mereba @nasty_csa @bobiwine Artist Performances: 10:15AM– 12:15 PM Artists include: @bigbirdkuti @mafikizolo_africa @blinkybillmusic @sebastianmikael @micasamusic @ayomusic And More To Be Added!

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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.

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