“The Afro Street Festival is one of those amazing things I’ve come to see. I’m particularly excited about this initiative and how much potential it has to transform a creative sector in a region like ours.” Emeritus Prof (Mrs) Mildred Amakiri
More than a theme unveiling for the Afro Street Festival 2021, the African Soirée embodies an experience and a journey into what should be expected at the Afro Street Festival 2021 in December.
Preceded by a downpour that seemed more like showers of blessings, guests including top industry personalities, creators and media influencers at the African Soirée experienced first-hand the thrill and passion that this year’s festival promises – from the venue ambience, performances to mini-styled merch exhibitions.
The African Soirée is hosted annually by Ibinabo Amakiri, founder of the Creative Hub Port Harcourt, and Team Lead/Convener of the annual Afro Street Festival.
“The African Soirée is our way of telling the world we’re ready for every edition of the Afro Street Festival,” she said.
“As you know, the creative industry is an intertwining ecosystem with many players. We pay attention to everything. The African Soirée is our style to recognize the ecosystem Influencers; cultural players, creators, media personalities, policy drivers, brands, and every top leader to an introductory experience. To tell them about what we have in store, hope to achieve and call for support, as well as renew underlying relationships all for the progress and sustainability of the Afro Street Festival initiative.”
Afro Street Festival theme for 2021
According to the Convener, Ibinabo Amakiri, the theme for the Afro Street Festival 2021 is “Tenacity” – a choice that was carefully made to spotlight the grit, perseverance and survival of the Creative Industry in Nigeria in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The creative industry was badly hit by the pandemic, we saw the need to give creatives an opportunity to showcase their craft and show how they rose to the challenge,” she said.
To welcome guests, a special green carpet was hosted to highlight the creativity that the festival prides itself on. Hamsa Illamina did justice to his opening performance with a new song specially recorded for the African Soirée.
Introducing Sísé Afrika
This year, the Afro Street Festival is introducing a few more initiatives in line with it’s vision to be a leading alternative platform for self experience. One of these is a publication produced by the Creative Hub Port Harcourt for the Afro Street Festival called Sísé Afrika.
According to Owen Shedrack, Publicity & Communications Head of the Afro Street Festival who introduced Sísé Afrika.
“Sísé Afrika is a creative journal,” he said.
“SÍSE is made specially for the creative industry; art lovers, veterans, cultural enthusiasts, fashion players and influencers, including creative young people.
“In line with the official Theme – Tenacity, this year. It will throw a spotlight on the creative industry in the Niger Delta and beyond, and would spotlight key actors, influencers and cultural players.
“It will provide a platform to showcase our finest people, talents, their works and set a tone for a conversation that’ll shape the creative industry in years to come.”
A call for partners and sponsors
The Afro Street Festival in the last 3 years has been a project fully funded by the Creative Hub Port Harcourt as a social enterprise and impact initiative for the growing creative industry in Nigeria with emphasis on the Niger Delta.
It has created opportunities for emerging talents and creativity, and continues to amplify efforts and ideas in this direction. A model for sustainability is strategic partnership, support from sponsorships and endorsements from sector-relevant organizations and ecosystem Influencers.
Mr. Nengi Hanson, Project Manager of the Afro Street Festival highlighted some of the milestones and achievements of the Afro Street Festival while also introducing brand merchandises available for sale.
“Since 2018, we’ve gathered over 15000 participants and showcase several artists, fashion houses and creators including creating a business opportunity for brands and local businesses through providing vendor spaces for brands to connect with potential buyers,” he said.
We are looking to grow even bigger as we anticipate over 7000 attendees this year. With several activities and pre-event activations, we’re looking to partner and collaborate with more brands and organizations to scale our reach and impact. Hence, the need for more sponsors and collaborators.
The African Soirée was anchored by renowned media personality Vitamin C with performances from DJ Dewik, Legendary Suni, and a theme song performance from PreacherKingz – lead singer and songwriter of the 2021 theme song.
AgbeyeTalks presented 3 Spoken Word pieces that highlighted the innocence of our childhood and a wake-up call for youths in a society where values are easily lost. His performance was greeted to a loud applause and a standing ovation.
Other performances were from Dr Ovunda Ihunwo, Kingsley Darlington, a Playlet from Sonia Rukmani.
Some special guests were the Emeritus Prof (Mrs) Mildred Amakiri – a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the now Rivers State University; Maxwell Asuquo, Brand Representative from Budweiser Nigeria; including brand representatives for sponsors and partners including My Ndidia, Joshua Water, Nuel’s Media, Ensanada Cocktails, Rocky Guards Protocol, Elixir Events, and others.
The African Soirée was catered by MyNdidia with guests treated to various flavours of cocktails and mocktails by Ensanada Cocktails and hydrated by Joshua Water – a Jossykings Associates Nigeria limited product as partners.
Mr. Emeka Ifediora gave a closing remark, recognizing the special guests while also inviting the public to the Open Art Exhibition by the Afro Street Festival coming up some time in October 2021.