American-Zimbabwean actress, Black Panther star, playwright, and longtime Global Citizen supporter Danai Gurira welcomed over 20,000 Global Citizens to Black Star Square on Saturday, Sept. 24, for Global Citizen Festival: Accra — a milestone event that marked a decade of Global Citizen Festival impact on a spot that she said “symbolises independence, freedom, and justice for Ghana.”

Throughout the night, Gurira, who hosted the event, welcomed an incredible lineup of artists — Usher, Gyakie, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Stormzy, SZA, TEMS, and Uncle Waffles, with special guests including Tiwa Savage and Kwesi Arthur — as well as activists, world and business leaders, and philanthropists.

The 2022 Global Citizen Festival campaign, which came to a head at twin festival events in New York City and Accra culminated in $2.4 billion to end extreme poverty, with key commitments announced on the festival stages from world leaders, governments, and corporate, philanthropic, and NGO partners. 

Global Citizen Festival: Accra was a melting pot of music, magic, surprise collaborations, action, and advocacy for girls, for the planet, and to create change. We can’t think of anyone better to carry the energy of the greatest show on Earth than our Black Panther hero, Danai Gurira. 

Here are just some of our favourite moments from our awe-inspiring host.

1. When she shouted out Ghana’s role in leading the charge for African independence

“65 years ago, Ghana became the first African country to gain its independence and led the charge for Africa driven by Africans. As a Zimbabwean, whose nation only gained its independence decades later, Ghana was and continues to be a beacon of inspiration, power, and hope.” 

2. When she said she hopes that women and girls’ rights have been only temporarily ‘Eclipsed’

“We have made great strides towards gender equality, but it is not enough. In the last two years alone, more than 47 million women and girls have been pushed back into extreme poverty, with millions of girls forced out of the classroom and into unpaid care work. I wrote my play “Eclipsed” for a very specific reason: to give voice to women and girls across the world who are displaced, abused, and ripped from their homes by wars and conflicts that they did not create.

"But the hope is in the title. Eclipsed. An eclipse is temporary. The disempowerment of women and girls can be temporary too. How temporary? That’s up to me and you. If you want to see real progress: empower our girls and protect them at all costs."

3. When she introduced TEMS as a Wakandan queen

“Our next performer was a little girl in Lagos whose dream actually came true. In Wakanda, we call leaders queens. Kumkanikazi. I’m so thrilled that her music will be featured in our upcoming movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Black Star Square, please welcome the leader of the leading vibe, TEMS!”

4. When she highlighted the importance of dismantling systemic barriers

“I know that every single person is here because they want to create change. Real change is about breaking systemic barriers that trap people in poverty and keep them from reaching their full potential. To create change we must start seeing people not as the problem — but as the solution. And all of you wouldn’t be here tonight if you didn’t know how to do that. And for the past 10 years, Global Citizens like you have been using your voice to end extreme poverty, to impact one billion lives.”

5. When she spoke of the threat of climate change to Africans

“I have met such incredible Ghanaians in this audience tonight. Folks who care about what’s happening in our world, to our world. Nothing is more urgent than climate change. Intense drought, flooding, pollution — all are huge threats to our livelihoods, to us Africans. We can no longer stand by as climate change wreaks havoc on so many lives. Our leaders must find solutions to the climate crisis to ensure the well-being is not just for ourselves, but for our children. Enough is enough.”

Global Citizen Festival is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we united leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. But the fight isn't over yet. Join the campaign and take action right now on our website or by downloading the Global Citizen app.

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5 Powerful Quotes From Global Citizen Festival: Accra Host Danai Gurira

By Tess Lowery