When African Americans return to their ancestral homeland to visit the facilities which were the last their enslaved ancestors saw on the continent, it tends to be a gripping emotional experience, and comedian Steve Harvey was no exception.
The funnyman and bestselling author visited Elmina Castle on Ghana’s Cape Coast, where the Harvey family was given a tour of the historical site, TMZ reports. They were also provided with a brief history lesson of the slave trading post that was erected by the Portuguese in the late 15th century.
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Harvey detailed his emotions from the experience in an Instagram post:
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This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles…I could feel my ancestors on me… Powerful beyond words that I can explain. I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do. #TheYearofTheReturn 🎥: @madebycourtney
The host of his own syndicated morning radio show and “Family Feud,” is touring Ghana as part of the Year of Return initiative, which commemorates the 400 years since the first enslaved Africans landed in Jamestown Virginia.
Blacks around the diaspora are encouraged to visit Ghana as a gateway to their homeland and to explore and learn about the culture through music and culinary delights. During Harvey’s visit, he met with the Minister of Tourism, Babara Oteng Gyasi and the Year of Tourism committee at the W.E.B DuBois Centre in Cantonments, Accra, ghanaweb.com reports.
Harvey was spotted decked out in apparel by Ghanaian designer, Kwaku Bediako — known by his brand name, Chocolate Clothes Gh. The comedian and his family reportedly visited various tourist sites including castles where slaves were held.
“I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do. #TheYearofTheReturn,” Harvey added in his Instagram post.
The comedian is not the only Black celebrity to visit the country to celebrate their roots, according to ghanaweb.com. Boris Kodjoe previously visited Ghana in late 2018, along with his wife Nicole Ari Parker. Rapper Diggy Simmons has also made the trek, as well as Michael Jai White, Anthony Anderson, Jidenna, and Cynthia Bailey.
After tracing his roots to Gabon, Samuel L Jackson filmed a six-part documentary in Ghana titled Enslaved.
“For me, this is much more than a TV series,” said Jackson in a 2018 interview. “For me, Enslaved is an attempt to give a voice to the millions whose voices were silenced.”