Afrochella returned to Accra’s El Wak Stadium for the 6th time this December, bringing thousands of revelers from across the diaspora to its fields and top Afrobeats artists from across the continent to its stage.
“Since 2017, it has been an incredible honor for us to host Afrochella in the beautiful city of Accra, Ghana – a place I’ve called home since birth,” says Abdul Karim Abdullah, CEO and Co-founder of Afrochella. “The unwavering support from the continent, the diaspora and our fans from all around the world has been the driving force that has kept us going year after year.”
This year saw artists from Congo to Nigeria rock the crowd with HighLife classics and Afrobeats chart-topping hits. Stars like Albi-X and Pheelz hit the stage with viral hits like “Finesse,” while artists like Gyakie and Eliane brought a soulful vibe.
“I’m bringing African girls in R&B,” says South African R&B star Elaine. “I think it’s still a very much marginalized space in the music industry, so it’s good to have a platform and to be able to speak for all of those that are still trying to get to this place. So I feel proud and I feel very happy and I hope to see more African girls, South African girls, R&B girls, and alternative girls on the lineup.”
“Last year the energy was fire. This year it’s 10 times bigger,” says Ghanaian R&B and afro-fusion singer Gyakie of her second time hitting the Afrochella stage. “The African culture is really loud here. When you enter this place, you can just feel like this is Africa. I love the culture. I love the stage. I love the crowd.”
In addition to the music and African cuisine food trucks, this year’s festival-goers were treated to activations from international brands, including a first-ever Fenty Glow + Go Beauty Bar to commemorate the launch of Fenty Beauty in 8 African nations.
“Fenty wants to be part of the African story. They really believe that if you don’t have an African strategy, you don’t have a broad strategy,” Vanessa Azar, Regional Manager for Fenty Beauty in Sub-Saharan Africa, tells ESSENCE. “We really wanted to make something that is remarkable and that marks the African spirit.”
Azar stresses that, unlike other brands, “when Fenty does a launch, they want Africa to launch on the same dates.”
After crowd-rocking sets from Fireboy DML, Stonebwot, and Shatta Wale on night one and Kidi, Asake, and Burna Boy on night two, Abdullah shocked the crowd with a surprise announcement.
After thanking everyone for their attendance and continued support, he left festival-goers stunned, stating “this is the last Afrochella.”
“As we reflect on the past six years, we know that the impact that we’ve made on the continent has opened so many eyes and unlocked even more doors to the endless possibilities that Africa has to offer,” he tells ESSENCE exclusively.
But Afrochella fans need not fret. Though the festival may have come to a close in the iteration that fans are most familiar with, there is more in store.
“As we announce 2022 as our last year under the Afrochella name, this doesn’t mark the end for us,” Abdullah says. “We want people to know that Afrochella was the foundation that helped amplify, elevate, and celebrate African creatives across music, art, fashion, and food and will be the stepping stone to create even more spaces for our people to dream, to build an AfroFuture.”
“As we take this time to evolve and expand – we know that the future remains bright for Africa and we’re elated to see where the next adventure takes us.”
Take a look at more snaps from the festival below: