The Dubai Tourism Council and AfroZons are inviting over 1,500 people from 10 countries around the world to Dubai in March for a one-of-a-kind travel experience celebrating AfroBeats. The experience, dubbed The AfroZons Dubai Soundoff, offers travelers discounted packages for a six-night stay in one of the world’s most luxurious cities. Packages also include access to concerts, personalized tours, five-star hotel accommodations, a dessert party, and celebrity meet-and-greet. AfroZons founder, Sheila Okonji-Ashinze, an international media personality affectionately known as “Sheila O.”, says she organized the trip to bring the black diaspora together in celebration of the popular African music genre.
“The AfroZons Dubai Soundoff was created to truly celebrate the beauty of black culture. For me, personally, it was also a way to bridge the gap with African Americans and Africans,” she said. BLACK CORPORATE.
A number of AfroBeat artists are set to perform during the festival, including superstar D’banj, while a roster of celebrities such as Big Tigger and Loni Love will make appearances. Besides the United States, other countries participating in the event include Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, United Kingdom, Canada, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
According to the Chicago radio host, attendees will get a first-class taste of Dubai without the usual cost.
“The Government of Dubai’s partnership with AfroZons helps provide this luxury. So you can see us going there at a very affordable rate,” says Okonji-Ashinze, noting that several travel agencies offer discount flights and hotel deals.
“They’re doing this for the culture, and we can all be there together to celebrate.”
The beauty of Dubai
Okonji-Ahsinze says she is excited to bring black people to the “City of Gold”, which is known for its lofty tourist attractions that include the largest shopping malls in the world, the tallest building ever built and the only “seven star hotel”. on Earth. In addition to an innovative architect, the Persian Gulf city also boasts stunning beaches, the Arabian Desert and several cultural institutions.
“When you think Dubai, think big, think luxury. This is what Dubai is,” says the entertainment veteran.
Additionally, the AfroZons Dubai Soundoff will take place during the final month of Expo 2020, an annual global showcase that connects innovation, technology, art and culture. The Expo has attracted more than 7.2 million visitors since it opened in Dubai in October 2021, reports Forbes.
In a press release, Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said he welcomed the opportunity to welcome Africans and African Americans to the affluent city.
“The African and American markets are very important to Dubai, and by working with AfroZons, we can reach travelers across Africa and the United States, which makes this campaign unique and interesting for us,” reads in his statement.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, Kazim says 4.1 million people flocked to the UAE city from July 2020 to July 2021. “This positive performance reinforces the leading role Dubai is playing in the recovery of global tourism , and we look forward to welcoming many more travelers from the United States and Africa in the near future.
Connecting the Black Diaspora
Okonji-Ashinze says her passion for the project stems from her own experience as a global citizen who, having lived on multiple continents, noticed a divide between people of African descent.
“I was born in Lagos. I grew up in London. I live in Chicago. [But], when I came here to the United States, I realized that this great movement called AfroBeats was not really known here.
She also admitted to feeling a “disconnect” with African Americans, which motivated her to bring awareness to people of color about the culture. “For me, my motivation has always been to create opportunities that bring us all together, to celebrate, [and] learn more from each other.
To help bridge the gap between black Americans and the homeland, Okonji-Ashinze launched the AfroZons radio show on Power 92.3 Chicago in 2017, making her the first international female personality to host an Afrobeats show on a major station. American FM radio. The weekly show fuses hip hop with Afrobeats while highlighting the latest cultural trends, topical conversations and music from Africa. The AfroZons show is also syndicated in Washington, DC, Houston, Pennsylvania, Miami and on SiriusXM HURVoices Channel 141.
Additionally, as founder and CEO of Zons Holdings, a booking agency for top artists and speakers, Okonji-Ashinze strives to ensure the biggest names in hip hop perform in Africa. In 2006, she brought Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter to Africa for the first time, where he served as a UN ambassador providing clean water and functioning water systems to deprived areas. Since then, she’s been responsible for booking acts like Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, Kanye West, J. Cole, Nas, Mariah Carey, Ciara, New Edition and Anita Baker.
Today, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Afrobeats” is taking her show to the Middle East and leading the movement to bring the popular music genre to live audiences around the world.
“Afrobeat is the sound of the homeland,” she said. Under the umbrella of The AfroZons Dubai Soundoff, it aims to unite travelers from around the world by reaffirming their shared values, their love for AfroBeats and their connection to Africa.
“[When] we travel together, we connect, we eat the same food, play the same music and share love. So, for me, that’s the most important thing, and that’s one of the reasons why having these trips, starting with Dubai, is super, super important.
Visit AfroZonsDxB.com to learn more about The AfroZons Dubai Soundoff.