Chance The Rapper And Vic Mensa Launched The Black Star Line Festival in Ghana: 7 Things To Know

Chance The Rapper And Vic Mensa Launched The Black Star Line Festival in Ghana: 7 Things To Know

Black Star Line Festival

Vic Mensa, left, and Chance The Rapper finalize planning the night before the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana. (Photo: Instagram @vicmensa)

Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa started their New Year by hosting the inaugural Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana. Attendees are still boasting about how dope the multi-day cultural experience was.

Here are seven things to know about the Black Star Line Festival.

1. Chance and Mensa created the festival to promote unity among the Black Diaspora.

The Black Star Line Festival was first announced in Sept. 2022 after Chance made multiple trips to Ghana to visit Mensa, who is Ghanaian American.

Both Chicago natives, the duo said during their travels to Ghana, they came up with the idea to host a festival in Africa to unify the Black Diaspora and honor their roots.

“We’re just at a point in time where technology, trade, culture, everything is pointing towards further connectedness with Black people globally, not just from the U.S. and the continent, but also from the islands, from the U.K, from around the world,” Chance said during an interview with TV3 Ghana. “And me and Vic are just in the business of creating spaces for Black people to enjoy events.”

“In my travels here, coming to visit Vic, together we had this idea of doing a concert of traveling festivals that would bridge the gap between the Diaspora and the continent,” Chance continued.

“Right now, it’s like we’re really focusing on connectivity and global Blackness, affordability and breaking down the barriers between us across oceans,” Mensa added. “Having been doing this for nearly a decade … we come to realize as Black artists we’re performing all over Europe 10 times over … We’re going to places we never heard of before we come and perform in where we’re actually from.”

2. The festival also pays homage to Marcus Garvey and his vision of Pan-Africanism. 

The festival’s name was inspired by legendary Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, who worked for years to get his Black Star Line Shipping Company afloat. He had a vision to connect Black people across the globe and take them back to Africa.

The “About” section of the festival’s website states, “100 years after Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line Shipping Company sought to traverse the divide between us by water, the Black Star Line Festival aims to accomplish that same goal by art and expression.”

3. Held Jan. 2 through 6, the Black Star Line Festival featured various events.

The Black Star Line Festival was more than just a concert. It boasted an entire week of panels, summits, parties, conversations and more. Events included a BBQ and ticket giveaway; Black Star Line & Revolt Summit; several conversations with Chance and influencers from Ghana; a pre-party, skate session, etc.

It concluded with a free concert for the public.

4. A wide range of artists, speakers, intellectuals and other influencers participated in the festival.

The Black Star Line Festival concluded on Jan. 6 with a free concert in Ghana’s historic Black Star Square. According to reports, over 50,000 people were in attendance.

Mensa said it was important to him and Chance to bring together a blend of “Black talent, musicians, fine artists, [and] intellectuals to come to Ghana at the top of January for this cultural experience.”

In addition to Chance and Mensa, the closing concert featured artists Erykah Badu, T-Pain, Sarkodie, Jeremih, Tobe Nwigwe, Asakaa Boys, M.anifest and more. Comedian Dave Chappelle and media personality Sway also made appearances.

5. Chance said it was important the Black Star Line Festival was accessible to people from all walks of life.

Not only did Chance and Vic make the concert tickets free, Rolling Stone reported they also worked out a deal with United Airlines to offer discounted fares to Ghana for one year.

The duo didn’t want high costs to stop people from being able to attend the festival, so they funded everything themselves. Though challenging, Chance said he preferred it that way.

“God. It was definitely not super easy, but I like to do stuff without financial sponsors. I like to be able to say what we want to say and have the messaging that we want. It was on my heart to make it that way,” Chance told Rolling Stone. “There’s no title sponsor giving us millions of dollars or anything, there’re out-of-pocket expenses for something that’s going to be historic. And it’s hopefully the start of something more.”

6. Mensa said he felt a duty to use his “privilege” of knowledge about his ancestry to highlight the land of his father.

“In recent years I’ve just come to really grasp the weight of the privilege that I hold to have that direct conversation and connection to my ancestry,” Mensa told Boardroom. “That’s something that has been stolen from most of us in this nation [America] and most of the people closest to me. Being that I have this privilege, I just started to realize that privilege comes with responsibility and opportunity.”

He also spoke out against the Diaspora Wars taking place among Black people across the globe.

“In many ways, the divides between us as Black people from the continent, to America, to the islands and beyond it is all manufactured by the same people who profit off keeping us separated,” Mensa said. “And being that I have this position in between those worlds of the diaspora and the continent, I felt it was time to turn it into something.”

7. Chance and Vic have plans to continue the Black Star Line Festival in different countries that are home to members of the Black Diaspora.

“[The festival is] something that I envision that rolls on for years to come. It’s not necessarily always going to be contained to Ghana,” Chance said. “In the future, I hope to bring it definitely to Jamaica, eventually to Haiti, to the US, to all places where Black people live, which is the whole world.”

Chance is dropping exclusive footage from the festival on Jan. 13 at 11 a.m. on YouTube. View it below.

PHOTO: Vic Mensa, left, and Chance The Rapper finalize planning the night before the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana. (Photo: Instagram @vicmensa)