Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Africon
Africon 2023 Invites the Diaspora to Los Angeles this May
The visionary co-founders behind Amplify Africa are preparing for the third installment of Africon. It is a multi-day live conference experience. Each year the event brings together leaders in culture, entertainment, innovation and more from the global Black diaspora.
Born during the pandemic in 2021 as a virtual event, Africon transitioned to an in-person conference last year and is continuing strong in 2023.
The Inspiration Behind Africon
Damilare Kujembola and Timi Adeyeba, both natives of Nigeria, sought to create community through Africon’s parent company, Amplify Africa. Amplify Africa is a 360-degree culture company that curates live experiences, such as events and parties. The brand also includes a media division and a creative agency.
“As an African immigrant, one of my biggest things was trying to find ways to reconnect with the continent here [in America],” Kujembola told Travel Noire in a recent interview. “Whether it was through food or events, throughout my schooling, I was always looking to reconnect back with the continent. Those things kept me grounded.”
As entertainment lawyers, Kujembola and Adeyeba noticed the lack of representation of African talent in mainstream media. The duo originally founded Amplify Africa in 2015 to create opportunities for African immigrants and first-generation descendants. The organization later expanded its reach to the diaspora as a whole, acknowledging the lost and unknown history of Black people born in other parts of the world.
What to Expect
Last year’s lineup included an impressive roster of talent from speakers to special guests. Abdul Abdullah, the founder and CEO of Afrochella, Jidenna, a recording artist, and Rema Morgan Aluko, the vice president of software engineering for Fandango, are just a few of the big names in 2022. Africon is committed to keeping the star-studded energy going this year as well.
The schedule of events for 2023 includes an unofficial welcome day and two days of conference programming. Nelson Mandela’s grandson, along with a to-be-announced VIP guest, will host an Africa Day reception during the 4-day event.
One of the highlights of the highly-anticipated weekend is the annual Afroball gala, hosted in partnership with the U.S. Congress. During the evening, Africon will award people of African descent for their accomplishments and advancements across industries. Among others, the ceremony will honor Olamide Olowe, who is the founder of the beauty and skincare brand Topicals. Olowe is the youngest Black woman to raise $10 million for her startup company.
With African talent dominating every facet of entertainment, it’s fitting that nightlife and music are part of the conference experience. Kujembola promises “some of the best parties in the African diaspora from different parts of the world.”
The weekend’s itinerary concludes with a music festival featuring a performance by Nigerian Afrobeats singer Asake, who will headline the event.
Africon Brings The Diaspora To Los Angeles
When asked about the decision to make Los Angeles the host city for Africon, Kujembola said that one of the main reasons was to create an experience similar to the Detty December festival in Ghana that is more affordable.
“There are a lot of people who can’t afford to get that cultural experience of tracing their roots and reconnecting with the continent,” Kujembola said. “For us, we wanted to bring that closer to home, and that’s why we’re doing it in the U.S.”
Kujembola also wanted set Africon in a space that was a destination for everyone across the world, and Los Angeles is a city that he feels is transient in nature.
“It’s a destination for people not just in the U.S., but [also] from Canada, the UK, and the continent as well. We wanted to pick a place that would feel like a destination,” he said. “Outside of that, it’s the entertainment capital of the world.”
Africa To The World
Africon attendees will have the opportunity to engage in panel discussions and master classes. Important topics, such as duality, oneness as members of the African diaspora and being Black in America’s healthcare system, are slated for the conference schedule.
Entrepreneurs and career professionals will enjoy encouraging conversations with leaders who are breaking glass ceilings and climbing the corporate ladder. Investment opportunities in Africa and the state of African entertainment for global audiences are also planned for the weekend.
The range of master classes includes education around funding to scale, immigration and the outlook of the diaspora in tech from the perspective of leaders in the industry. Additionally, financial health and investing in real estate on the continent are two popular subjects the conference will address through its programming.
“The journey to connect with the continent is not a one-time thing. It’s a journey. For us, we can only hope to ignite interest within the global Black diaspora in connecting back,” Kujembola shared about his hopes for Africon’s impact. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it starts from having open conversations and creating safe spaces for people to talk about stories that we, as a people, haven’t been allowed to tell.”
Africon 2023 will take place in Los Angeles on May 25 to May 28, honoring the 60th celebration of Africa Day, an annual international celebration commemorating African independence and the formation of the Organization of African Unity.
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