By Tim Saunders on
The 71-year-old joined Nigerian rappers Olu Maintain on stage at the Royal Albert Hall for the show, which aimed to highlight the continent’s culture and talents.
“I stand before you as an African American,” he said before joining the group for their item. “Many people have said to me you became Secretary of State of the USA, is it still necessary to say that you are an African American or that you are black, and I say yes, so that we can remind our children. It took a lot of people struggling to bring me to this point in history. I didn’t just drop out of the sky, people came from my continent in chains.”
The musical acts were followed by a fashion show featuring Sudanese model Alek Wek and Tyson Beckford and the latest trends from the House of Momo.
“Asia is expanding, it created jobs for people, and Eastern Europeans are doing the same, in my continent – Latin America, it’s happening also – it’s now Africa’s turn,” continued Powell. “[With] all this wealth creation going on in the world, it won’t happen with just wishing, it will be done with hard work. Africa needs aid, but more than that it needs trade – it needs capital, but it has the same potential as Asia and Eastern European countries. There’s no reason a new Africa can’t be created here and now.”
The concert was the final leg in a four-show series that kicked off in Abuja in July before heading to Lagos and Washington DC, and featured performances from Youssou N'Dour, Jay-Z and John Legend. The shows also raised money for Africa Rising, an organization established in 2006 to reflect the culture and positive attributes of Africa’s social, political and economic progress.
“As Secretary of State, I pushed for support for the continent,” said Powell. “Aid quadrupled during my tenure. We supported the fight against HIV/AIDS with over $15 billion. However, Africans must rise and take the responsibility for the development of the continent. They must end the wars. They must fight corruption.”
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