Production by Richmond Ekow Barnes for WB Group. Photography by Ernest Ankomah.
Ghana continues to prove that it is truly the gateway to Africa and a dynamic nation that is eager to share its rich culture and traditions with others. The latest case in point is the Black Star Line Festival which took place in the country’s capital in early January.
The festival, conceived by Chance the Rapper and Chicago-born artist Vic Mensa—who is of Ghanaian descent—was birthed from a shared vision for uniting residents of Africa with its descendants throughout the diaspora.
Set against the historic backdrop of Black Star Square, the first edition of the festival saw over 50,000 partygoers from all over the world. The celebration saw iconic performances from an A-list roster of artists from the Mother Continent and beyond. The night kicked off with a performance by Manifest, whose opening act was a lesson in bridging the gap between the new kingpins of African music and veteran artists. His performance with Ghanaian Hip-Life legend, Obrafour, got the crowd excited as many experienced the legend’s live performance for the first time in person.
The Asakaa Boys music collective kept the energy alive with infectious hooks and sinister beats highlighting their trademark Kumerica sound—a unique Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born drill music genre. Other artists that took the stage were Tobe Nwigwe, Sakordie, R&B singer Jeremiah and Grammy-award winning artist Erykah Badu. T-pain’s emotive performance was one of the night's standouts. The two-time Grammy-award winner artist delivered powerful renditions of his hit songs like "Good Life" and "Buy you a Drink.".
Both Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper led an epic showdown during their various sets. The duo amplified their dream of connecting African people across the globe during their performance, much to the delight of the audience.
While the music was the headline act, an overall sense of community at the festival was palpable, as people from all over the country and beyond came together to share in the experience. Friendships were formed, memories were made, and for many, the festival became a place to connect and share in the spirit of Africa.
The array of stylish looks donned by the festival-goers also kept the party alive. While some remained traditional in their style of dressing, other attendees fused modern looks with indigenous accessories. From vintage concert tees and handmade jewels to elaborate dresses, revelers prioritized self-expression of the highest level with their idiosyncratic looks.
Below, see all the camaraderie, sights and style at the first edition of Ghana’s Black Star Line Festival as documented by Accra-based photographer, Ernest Ankomah.