G-Mack, where have you been?
Last year I decided that I wanted to spend more time in Africa as the continent starts to become more important to the rest of the world. I've been traveling here since 2004. Within the last few years I've noticed a shift as far as consciousness, resources, and interest to countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and many others. Social media made it easy for me to keep in contact with the friends I've amassed during my various trips back and forth; however, there's no substitute for being here. In December, I embarked on a journey with an unknown destination but I believe in the power of stepping out on faith and letting life reveal itself to you.
I look forward to being part of Africa's success story.
Share anything you like or dislike. Please leave your comments below. :)
Here are some of the highlights:
BET Experience Africa
Worked on the first ever BET Experience Africa in Johannesburg at the Ticket Pro Dome. I managed the Black Girls Rock activation and coordinated the celebrity talent that was part of the experience. Got an opportunity to work with 2 of South Africa’s biggest celebrities, Bonang Matheba, Nomzamo Mbatha, and Millen Magese. For the activation we partnered with Neutrogena and Revlon to create an experience for the women that provided tips and tools to highlight their natural beauty and reinforce that Black Girls Rock.
New Year's Eve
To ring in 2016, I DJed a very swank rooftop pool party for New Year’s Eve at the Radisson Blue in Sandton. Sandton is home to the richest square mile on the continent of Africa. After my set, went to see one of Nigeria's biggest acts at his show at Taboo.
Fees Must Fall
Visited University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the site of the 'Fees Must Fall' campaign, a movement to lower the cost of tuition at the university (and others across the country). I spoke with some students about the challenges they're facing to get a quality education and the role education is playing their post-Apartheid society.
Started attending Rivers Church. It has really been amazing. The worship experience is always incredible, the messages are relevant, and this fellowship has provided me with many opportunities to serve the community through their foundation.
XCom Global Partnership
This was the beginning of a XCom Global partnership to become a consultant create content and boost social media engagement. Having a wireless hotspot is truly a gift in a country where cellular and internet service are often spotty. Most of the images and content I've captured would not have been posted without the support of XCom Global.
I visited Cape Town and got perspective on a few things...
Only made it halfway up Lion's Head because I was in my head, doubting myself and my abilities. The lesson I learned that day was to never let it happen again.
Morehouse Spring Tour
Each year Morehouse sends its top students from the Business department on a trip to an international location where the students get a chance to understand what it takes to do business internationally. This year it happened to be South Africa. As a former student in the Business department, I got a chance to reconnect with some of my classmates and favorite professors.
The homie Sincerely Ward from ATL came through to South Africa; funny thing is we were on the same flight to SA exactly a year ago. We hit up a few events during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and ended up going to the Lion Park as well.
Witnessed one of the many strikes that happen in the Central Business District of Johannesburg. This one happened to be because of contract negotiations between the city and the garbage workers. Can't lie, it was kinda scary seeing an angry mob turning over garbage cans and lighting them on fire. I was in a meeting at the time and had to run upstairs into a secure building in order to not get caught in the melee.
Magnum Store Launch at Sandton City
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
David Tlale's show culminated a week long of fashion exercises that showed all of South Africa's creative talent. It's great to see all the talent that exists here. There's no limit to the impact SA will have on the fashion industry as artists, talent, designers, stylists, etc. look to Africa for inspiration.
Maps Investec Dinner
Actor, Presenter, Personality and Model Maps Maponyane hosted a dinner to celebrate his birthday and partnership with Investec private banking. Investec is a global bank that has realized that wealth is being created in various ways and started to recognize the new breed of entrepreneur
TI in South Africa
TI had his first concert in South Africa. I booked him for an afterparty during his stop in Joburg.
Nicki Minaj in South Africa
Nicki Minaj made her first visit to South Africa for her concert
Major League Gardens
Social festival curated by Major League DJs. Featured many of SA’s top Hip hop and house acts and DJs. This festival really resonates with the youth and attracted people from all areas of the country. I really believe that Major League has their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in SA as far as music and culture.
Nike Air Max Day
Celebrated Nike Air Max Day in Johannesburg with the Hypebeasts and Sneakerheads!
Palladium 2.0 Launch
I DJed the launch of Palladium Boots’ new 2.0 silhouette. It was a collaborative effort between The Scottish Group (SA distributor for Palladium) and Jeff Rikhotso (photographer). It was Jeff’s first solo gallery exhibition and the first time we'd met after communicating on email and social media since 2014. Tunes, art, footwear, and nice vibes is definitely my kind of scene. Recap video is here.
SA Fashion Week
Took place in Hyde Park Corner showcased some of South Africa’s top designers. Had the pleasure of sitting with one of SA's soap opera stars Thuli and her friend Nkuli during the mens show.
Later posed with designer Nicky Madie and his friend who were dressed in Asian inspired gear to compliment their African wear.
Mall of Africa Opening
A massive structure called Mall of Africa opened allowing residents in some of the northern suburbs of Joburg and surrounding cities better access to international brands. The mall is huge. It took me 30 mins to find the right exit to get out of. My trips to this location will be scarce.
We Heart Beat
Cotton On and We Heart Beat (Music & Events Collective) partnered up to do a pop up shop on one of the opening nights. It featured their special guests from Cali. I don't remember the name of the guys but they were super cool. The We Heart Beat afterparty at Good Luck Bar was lit.
Back To The City Festival
Had the awesome opportunity to attend one of the biggest music festivals in the city of Johannesburg. Back To The City is a day long festival that attracts the biggest names in urban music around the country and around the world. A few artists from NYC performed. I think the total amount of artists that performed totaled 100.
Celebrated my 31st birthday in Maboneng with a roller party... SKRT SKRT (I lost my wallet earlier during the day - SMH)
I ran back to the US to attend my graduation from Morehouse College... (10 years later - that post is coming soon)
Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard visited South Africa to promote Empire in conjunction with Fox Africa.
Got a chance to catch up with Morehouse College President John Wilson during his visit to SA after he'd officiated my graduation ceremony from the College.
Durban July with Touch Convoy hosted by SA media mogul Tbo Touch
Chris Brown concert
Breezy was the headliner for this year's Durban July concert. SA was happy but ummmm yeah... I'm just gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was under the weather. Viva Breezy!
Orlando Jones press conference
Funny man Orlando Jones (7Up guy - Lol) was back in SA to promote a comedy show he headlined with Comedy Central Africa. The show also provided a platform for local comedians. Jones expressed his interest for developing talent in the country. I asked him about how he'd like to help more artists like himself and he expressed interest in opening a school to help South African storytellers own their narratives and utilize existing social media platforms.
A few things are in the works...
Thank you for your support and stay tuned.