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Essence Full Circle Festival Launches in Support of Cultural Ownership and Economic Collaboration in


Photo Credit: Essence Ventures

Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned consumer technology company merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color and the parent company of Essence Communications, Inc., today announced that it has partnered with Full Circle Festival, LLC to create the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival.

The ESSENCE Full Circle Festival partnership will focus on a three-part mission: (1) supporting cultural ownership and economic collaboration among Africans on the continent and people of African descent in the Diaspora; (2) connecting Black communities globally for the exchange of ideas and shared objectives that leads to cultural monetization and community reinvestment; and (3) facilitating the learning and discovery of the many facets of Africa’s beauty, excellence and opportunity globally. In addition, the annual ESSENCE Full Circle Festival experience will focus on showcasing African nations increasingly as global destinations by highlighting their critical roles as ancestral, spiritual, cultural and commercial epicenters.

“As someone born and raised in West Africa and who has spent adulthood in the U.S., there is no greater joy than forging partnerships with a purpose rooted in the elevation and the promise of the people of the African continent and the Diaspora,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and chair of Essence Ventures. “My family and I spent three decades building a global beauty business and business model that empower, among others, women Shea butter processors in Northern Ghana – women just like my grandmother. We believe economic inclusion is a human right, and now with ESSENCE Full Circle Festival, our continued goal is to be catalysts and connectors for long-term economic empowerment, growth and cross-sector job creation in Black communities globally through increased engagement, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment.”

Photo Credit: Essence Ventures

The 2019 ESSENCE Full Circle Festival will take place in Accra in December and complete the Year of Return commemoration – marking 400 years since the first slave ships left Ghanaian coasts for the transatlantic slave trade. This specially-curated, week-long immersion will enable engagement between U.S.-based cultural influencers and business executives with Ghanaian and regional leaders and communities, including explorations of history, cuisine, music, fashion, beaches, nightlife, commerce and more.

“This partnership recognizes Ghana's role as a beacon for people of African descent in this Year of Return,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019, is a conscious effort to cement our pan-African legacy. Throughout the Year, the Tourism Authority has worked with several partner organizations to welcome home our brothers and sisters from the Diaspora. The Essence Full Circle Festival is a welcome addition to the activities and will hopefully become one of the legacies of the year which celebrates African resilience.”

The inaugural Full Circle Festival also included the participation of President Akufo-Addo and took place in Accra in December 2018, led by Full Circle Festival, LLC partners Boris Kodjoe, Patrick Kodjoe, Bozoma Saint John – all of Ghanaian descent – and Nicole Ari Parker. More than 120 invited guests including business executives, influencers, and celebrities from the United States traveled to Ghana for cultural engagement and ancestral reconnection, resulting in nearly 10,000 positive social media posts and half a billion media and social impressions, as well as an estimated economic impact of more than $70 million in tourism revenue.