Celebrating its 10th anniversary of calling on world leaders to bring an end to extreme poverty by 2030, The Global Citizen Festival returned this year with twin shows held simultaneously in New York City’s Central Park and the monumental Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana.
This festival, to date, has been the world’s longest-running global campaign to end extreme poverty, bringing together millions of people whose voices are amplified by the world’s most prominent artists.
The celebration in Accra, Ghana was a night of music and purpose that brought together about 2,000 showgoers – a mix of Ghanaians and people from around the world. On the stage were changemakers, including United Kingdom-bred Ghanaian actress Michaela Coel who spoke on issues of gender-based violence, climate change, and investing in the future of women.
“As happy as I am to be here with all of you, all of you action takers, there’s a sadness that lingers within me because while we’re all here, girls are missing out on education. Girls are suffering the consequences of climate change, “ the I May Destroy You creator added.
Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo mentioned the launch of the African Prosperity Fund that would fund strategic and transformational projects on the continent, with regard to the areas of infrastructure development, education, health care, and technology, among others.
A slew of international and homegrown music artists ranging from SZA, Stormzy, Usher, Uncle Waffles, Stonebwoy, Gyakie, and Sarkodie graced the stage, lending their voices to the cause through performances that got the crowd bursting with excitement. Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems also expressed her dedication to empowering more women through her craft.
“Women need more chances. I feel like, if you love someone, you show them off, and I want to show women off because they deserve it, “ she said before taking to the stage for her crowd-moving performance. SZA took the crowd aback with her soothing voice during her performance. “I will do all that is within my power to make sure that we can save the beauty of Ghana and all parts of Africa,” SZA concluded warmly at the end of her set.
Usher’s performance was, however, a masterclass in how to do collaborative work to bolster homegrown talents. The Atlanta-raised icon put on a show that spotlighted established and emerging talents in the African music scene such as Tiwa Savage, Oxlade, and Pheelz, who was spotlighted during his portion of the show.
While the music and advocacy were paramount, so many outstanding looks filled the grounds of the Black Star Square. Embracing the art of self-expression through dressing was central to many looks. From alté-chic to craft core down to grungy looks, the character-heavy dressing was at its peak. Trendy hues of color pop and micro-minis were ubiquitous, while Y2K reigned supreme through sunglasses, low-rise denim, silhouettes, footwear, and more.
One festival-goer opted for a colorful marble print slip skirt paired with a stringy midriff-bearing bracelet with sage green platforms. Another gave a new meaning to the early aught girl band look with her cerulean velvet co-ord set with clear biker shades framing her face.
Fortunately, Essence was there to capture all the ambiance of the fete from the stage performances down to the sartorial elegance of all the global citizens in attendance. Ahead, check out some of our favorite street-style moments from the “Global Citizen Festival Accra” event documented by Ghanaian photographer Fiifi Abban.