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Jidenna Talks Second Annual Africon Presented By Amplify Africa

The entertainer participated in the 4-day event and performed at the Afro Music Festival in Los Angeles.

Amplify Africa sponsored its second annual Africon conference last week in Los Angeles. This festival which occurs annually, celebrates African culture and its diaspora. The conference brought together some of the world's most influential figures in many fields to discuss economic development, business, and activism.

For example, there were discussions on Investing in Africa's Future, Black Media: Taking Back Control, Creating Generational Wealth Through Innovation and Investments, Deconstructing the Standard of Beauty, Civil Rights and Advocacy in the Black Diaspora, Political Engagement of the Diaspora: Home & Abroad, and more.

As a result of this event, Chaka Bars' I Heart Africa charity generated funds to help relocate 100,000 people who were evacuated from Goma, DRC, after a volcano eruption.

BET.com spoke with Jidenna, who performed at the event’s Afro Music Festival, about his participation in the week’s festivities on the heels of the event.

BET.com: How did you get involved with Africon?

Jidenna: I met Dami and Temi (founders of Amplify Africa) years ago, and I did the first Amplify Africa event. It was fantastic. We had Congresswoman Karen Bass, and we had a whole bunch of the bridge builders in the diaspora on the continent. I thought it was special that first-generation Africans here care so much about building the bridge between Black Americans, Caribbean Americans, and Africans.

BET.com: How has the culture and history of Africa shaped your life?

Jidenna: I grew up in a diasporic community in Boston, I didn't know that word at the time, but there were Caribbeans, Black Americans, and first-generation Africans. So I was heavily influenced by the blending and fusions of culture. I did not know history, [the complete] Black American history or African history, for a long time because it wasn't available in school. But I started to learn in high school and then college and after. I'd say that it's given me the power to know that during the European Dark Ages, we were in a golden age, and [it's empowering] to know that our history didn't start with slavery or colonialism. It's power to know that we have the youngest continent and soon to be the most populous. So I think most of all, it's given me a sense of strength and pride, which hopefully is emanating around the world.

BET.com: How did you and Nana Kwabena decide to form Chiefy Chiefy?

Jidenna: We obviously produced together and rode together. He was a DJ before I got into DJing and toasting. And over the last few years, we decided to collaborate. I think it started for his birthday because he has these epic birthday bash moments in New York, which became a thing people loved. He curated playlists that introduced African music to the US markets before it was cool. So I wanted to be a part of that.

BET.com:  When can fans expect new music?

Jidenna: Summer 2022! I made two albums over the pandemic, and album one will be coming out this summer.

To learn more about Africon, visit: www.africon.global.

Editor’s note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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