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Members of the African American Association of Ghana.

West Africa Music & Arts Festival Officially Opens with Soirée

  • Post category:News

The evening of June 19th marked an unforgettable start to the West African Music & Arts Festival (WAMAFest) as the foyer of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was transformed into a venue fit for the occasion. Key speakers at the opening Soiree included Mark Okraku-Mantey, Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Diallo Sumbry, President of the Adinkra Group and the African American Association of Ghana,  and Jasmine Young, Director Howard University School of Business Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business and co-founder of WAMAFest.

The date of the event coincided with the Juneteenth holiday in the United States that marks the date when enslaved Africans in Texas received news that they were free. Mr. Agyeman opened the evening with a heartfelt moment of silence to honor the ancestors, acknowledging the significance of Juneteenth and its profound connection to the African Diaspora. This solemn reflection set a tone for the evening, linking the historical significance of the day with the vibrant celebration of African culture.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey, expressed his excitement for the festival, highlighting the intersection of music and art. “I am excited because it’s about music and it’s about art and it is important to learn the trade with the talent God has given you for free,” he remarked. He emphasized the value of the upcoming conference and masterclasses will offer at WAMAFest, recognizing them as vital opportunities for learning from industry experts.

Jasmine Young, co-founder of the festival, reminisced about her previous visit to Ghana during PANAFEST when she fell in love with Ghana. She thanked all partners and shared her enthusiasm for the value WAMAFest brings. “The West Africa Music and Arts Festival is a unique perspective on the global music and arts industry,” she stated, emphasizing the festival’s role in showcasing African talent on a world stage.

Although Mary Spio, the Ghanaian founder of CEEK VR, was unable to attend, her vision and passion for supporting the arts in Ghana were well represented. Austin Palmer, Director of Partnerships at CEEK VR, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, highlighting the significance of their partnership in bringing innovative storytelling and support to the African arts scene.

The Soirée served as a powerful reminder of the collective effort and shared vision driving WAMAFest. It was a night to remember, setting the stage for the days to come.

See all photos from the event on the Beyond the Return Facebook Page

Ivy Prosper

Digital Creator, Writer, Producer, Speaker