The program, called Move Afrika, is billed as “a five-year effort that aims to promote health and equity, defend our planet, and create jobs and economic opportunity.” It will kick off on December 6 with a concert at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda that Kendrick will headline.
Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans told Varietywhy he realized the project was necessary.
“As we have expanded our footprint across the continent, what’s always occurred to us is just how unbelievable it is that there isn’t a mature touring circuit across the continent that connects north, south, east, and west Africa,” he said. “So that’s why we’ve created Move Afrika, to achieve that goal over the coming five years.”
Global Citizen’s website for Move Afrika explains that its goal is to put on “an annual series of world-class live events” on the continent, in the hopes that “these events will drive transformative investments in community-provided health services within local communities, engage local vendors, agencies, artists and crews, and provide opportunities for on-the-job skill development and training.”
Evans said the program had two goals, with the first being that the shows will create jobs.
“When you create new jobs, you train production and crew and sound and lighting and security and staging,” he explained. “When you support micro-entrepreneurs across the continent to be part of that ecosystem, that is direct poverty alleviation.”
The second goal was for other artists to be able to take advantage of their work.
“The success for this will be if it outlasts any initiative we do,” he continued. “In five or 10 years from now, when the world’s greatest artists are all touring across Africa, it’ll be amazing for African economic development; it’ll be amazing for artistic development; it’ll be amazing for job creation. That’s the measure of success.”
Lamar’s December concert in Rwanda will not be streamed internationally, unlike most of Global Citizen’s other star-studded events. Instead, Evans said, “our focus from a broadcast point of view actually is to have the livestream be local. We want people across East Africa to be able to stream this and watch it on television live.”
pgLang will serve as “co-curator” of the Move Afrika festival for the next five years.
“They’re going to be involved from a musical curation point of view, helping to determine which artists are involved following in Kendrick’s footsteps,” Evans said. “But they’re also going to be involved creatively as well, thinking through the creative rollout of the campaigns over the years, the look and feel, and the global broadcast. They really have become partners in this endeavor.”
On the music side of things, Kendrick Lamar’s long-rumored collaborative album with J. Cole was actually “a real thing” at one point, according to the Dreamville boss.
“But bro, time and life, we ain’t ever got the chance to go in and do it correctly, because that would take time,” Cole said during his recent appearance on the A Safe Place podcast. “For us to do something that’s full of our potential, that meets our real potential, you’re gonna need time. At least a year.
“When you got two successful artists with lives and families, that’s hard to do. We put it to bed years ago. But at one point in time, it was a real conversation, for sure.”