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Coming to America Festival Brings African Acts to D.C.

D.C.’s evolving music scene has attracted a slew of festivals in recent years — OG’s Trillectro and Broccoli Music Fest, the Funk Parade and DC Jazz Fest, to name a few — and the trend continued this spring with the new Coming to America Music Festival, which spotlighted numerous international artists.

West African musician Eshoon Nashun, who spearheaded the April 27 event at The Anthem, said she was inspired by the city’s large African population.

“That’s why I did Coming to America in Washington, D.C.,” Nashun said. “They have the highest concentration of Africans in the U.S.”

Photo by Michael Simone
Photo by Michael Simone

The sold-out event was headlined by Nigerian artist Davido, famous for his number-one hit “Fall,” the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history.

“Right now, it’s cool to be African,” he said. “More people are interested in visiting Africa and finding that it is not what they had be taught. Accepting the continent has helped the music. Once you accept Africa, you can appreciate the music.”

The lineup also included Ivorian hip-hop/R&B artist Vegedream, whose 2018 hit “Ramenez la Coupe à la Maison,” a celebratory anthem for the France national soccer team’s FIFA World Cup victory last summer, topped the French singles charts.

Despite obvious similarities, Nashun said that the festival, which she plans to tour internationally, was not named after the classic Eddie Murphy film.

“What it references is coming to a new country — it could be America, it could be Canada, it could be China — and conducting yourself with style and class,” she said.

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