CEO's Note: My Black American Journey to Ghana's Premier Music Festival

As a Black American, attending Afrochella in Ghana was an experience unlike any other. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I was struck by the energy and excitement of the city. The festival, which takes place in Accra, is a celebration of African music and culture— it brings together thousands of people from all over the continent and beyond.  Afrochella is more than just a music festival… it is a place of unity and empowerment for Black people around the world.

As I made my way through the crowds of people, I was struck by the sense of unity and community that was palpable in the air. Despite coming from different countries and backgrounds, we were all there for the same reason: to celebrate the music and culture of Africa. And as we danced together to the beats of Afrobeat and hip-hop, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and connection to my heritage.

In addition to the music and dance, what really struck me about Afrochella was the hustle and energy of Accra. I visited Accra as a teenager and to see the growth in the infrastructure, merchants, and tourism is exciting.  As an emerging city, there was a sense of possibility and potential in the air. Everywhere I looked, people were working hard to make their mark on the world. Whether it was the entrepreneurs selling handmade crafts and jewelry at the Accra Arts Centre, or the young professionals networking in the lobby of our hotel, there was a sense that anything was possible.

Getting around the city improved significantly as well. Ubers could be reached within 5-10 minutes of most major destinations, and hotels had guides, drivers, and concierge teams ready to assist us.  My days consisted of delicious West African food at Buka Restaurant, shopping at Oxford market, and visiting with new friends by the pool. Despite my best efforts, I was underprepared for the after-parties lasting until 5 am or later — I must admit I was asleep by 3:00 a.m. each night.

The city had endless activities, rich cultural centers, and cute places to grab a bite to eat.  Though I did stumble on remnants of classist undertones through dress codes that caused our group not to be able to enjoy our reservation at a non-Ghanaian restaurant, overall I felt the warm welcome and openness of the Ghanaian community.

Attending Afrochella was a beautiful experience. Everywhere I looked, I saw people using their talents and skills to create something new and exciting. As a tech and media entrepreneur, I could immediately see how fintech and technology focused on infrastructure could have the biggest impact on the acceleration of enabling growth.

The trip to Ghana will leave me inspired, empowered, and motivated to make a greater impact in my work and personal life.

Morgan DeBaun is the CEO & Founder of Blavity, Inc. which includes Travel Noire.