Young Africans at home and in the Diaspora are doing everything possible to rebrand and change the image of Africa, worldwide. On March 26th, 2011, the first annual F.A.C.E LIST Awards was held at the Broad Street Ballroom in New York City. Developed by a team of ambitious young Africans, the Awards was created to recognize and celebrate Fascinating Africans Committed to Excellence (F.A.C.E) in their respective fields. The Awards was a one-stop show packed with high profile celebrities, fashion shows, dance and musical performances. The attendance at the event was very remarkable as every seat was taken with many guests standing.
The King of Soukous – Awilo Longomba, Nollywood/Ghollywood stars – Jackie Appiah, Nadia Buari, and Luckie Lawson, Media Personality – Lola Ogunnaike, and the current Miss Africa USA – Fifi Soumah, along with other African celebrities were in attendance. Awilo Longomba was clad in an impeccable cream-colored suit while Nadia Buari, dressed in a figure-flattering black velvet dress, looked as gorgeous as ever on the purple carpet. Jackie Appiah was simply alluring in her intricately bejeweled dress made by Ghanaian designer Anne Marie Adoley Addo of Jil Boutique. While celebrities took turns being interviewed and photographed on the Purple Carpet, guests mingled and enjoyed the cocktail hour as momentum built up to the start of the event.
The evening kicked off with an electric performance by the Sapphire Dance Company, followed by an impassioned opening remark by the host, Mpule Kwelagobe, the first black African Miss Universe 1999. The main business of the night began with an award presented by Lola Ogunnaike to Fashion Model and Boxer Nkoli Okafor for his personal contribution towards the enhancement of Africa’s image. Other honorees were Trailblazer Bisila Bokoko, Ladybrille Woman of the Month February 2010, for being a role model to African women and Africans in general; Fashion Designer Edward Armah for his use of fashion to enhance the image of Africa globally; Entertainer Angelique Kidjo for her use of music to inspire change in Africa; and Media Professional Lillian Blankson for her use of media as a tool for change in Africa.
Performances by Camerounean vocalist, Kassia and upcoming Afro-soul singer-songwriter Janelia were major highlights of the night. Janelia performed a soulful rendition of Kidjo’s “Agolo” as a tribute to the music legend who is currently touring in Europe and could not attend in-person. Kidjo sent a video message in which she challenged all Africans to change the world’s perspective of Africa and uplift her image. There were also fashion shows by Aya Morrison, Cote Minou and Kustom Looks.
Face2Face Africa, organizers of the Awards, presented a check to this year’s beneficiary of its fundraising campaign, The Jewish Heart for Africa, to encourage their work of delivering sustainable Israeli technologies to villages in Africa. The night ended with an emotional and powerful closing speech by Isaac Boateng, founder of Face2Face Africa, and a preview of Face2Face Africa’s new website which is set to launch on April 2nd, 2011.
Isaac Boateng & Nollywood/Ghollywood’s Jackie Appiah
Nollywood (Nigeria)/Ghollywood’s (Ghana) Jackie Appiah
Nollywood/Ghollywood’s Nadia Buari
Miss Sierra Leone USA
~Article by Elfonnie Inokon
~Courtesy Photos: Face2Face Africa
~1st picture: L-R: Isaac Boateng, Awilo Longomba & guests