NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2021 — The worlds of culture, entertainment, business and education converged at The Birthright AFRICA Gala, co-chaired by GRAMMY® Award-nominated multi-platinum rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, and actor Jidenna; award winning entrepreneur, Tastemakers Africa CEO & Founder Cherae Robinson and Temwa Gondwe, Manager of Intra-African Trade Initiative at Afreximbank – African Export and Import Bank took place on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 6pm EST.
The Virtual Gala celebrated the 5 Year Anniversary of Birthright AFRICA, a collaboration between Sudanese-American education innovator Walla Elsheikh, Co-Founder and CEO and global education leader Diallo Shabazz, Co-Founder, who collaborates with partners to provide free educational trips to Africa for youth and young adults of African descent ages 13 – 30 to explore their cultural roots and legacy of innovation within the U.S. and Africa as a birthright for free.
The Birthright AFRICA Gala was virtual with in-person watch parties in Brooklyn, NY at the Tastemakers Africa House with a live simulcast airing to Republic Bar and Lounge in Accra, Ghana. The hybrid gala included: live music performances by Jidenna and songstress Carmen Rodgers from NYC; video performances by Ray Hodge and Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, and special shout-out from actor/model Boris Kodjoe; NYC Watch party festivities include cocktails served up by Uncorked and Cultured and Bed-vyne as well as a culinary variety of African dishes by Teranga and sounds by Nana Kwabena.
The inaugural benefit honored three dynamic changemakers building the bridge for the African diaspora community to connect to the continent including: Chief Marketing Officer for NetFlix and Co-Founder of Full Circle Festival Bozoma Saint John; African Ancestry Co-Founder & President Dr. Gina Paige and African Diaspora Development Institute President and Founder H.E. Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao.
This October will also launch the Birthright AFRICA nationwide outreach for the first time to select 12 young people of African descent to join Jidenna for the first cohort of Birthright Scholars to return to Ghana since the Covid-19 pandemic began..2019 was titled The Year of the Return with hopes for 2020 to kick-off Beyond The Return but was preempted due to the pandemic. The December 2021/January 2022 Birthright Scholar cohort will experience “The Return of the Return” as they embark on the life-changing impact of returning to the motherland and get the special opportunity to connect and reflect on the journey with Jidenna, who recently joined the Executive Board of Birthright AFRICA. Eligible candidates can register at: https://birthrightafrica.org/birthright-scholars/ Funds raised at The Birthright AFRICA Gala will support covering all travel-related costs for this end of year Birthright Scholars cohort to experience the transformative power of returning to the ancestral homeland and up to 500 young people of African descent in 2022!