October 2011

Ghanaian Fashion: Designer works with R Kelly

R_KellyThe fashion industry is constantly developing with new styles, designs and vibrant colours, with Ghana producing some of the most competitive, consistent fashion designers of recent.

Yes we continue to wow the Nation with our young creative innovative musicians, actors, footballers and many more.

Many Ghanaians entertainment celebrities over the past decade have gone on to sign contracts; the likes of Sway, Tinchy stryder, Dizzy Rascal, June sarpong, Idris elba and many more.

From a  British Ghanaian perspective I’m bursting with pride and delight for this talented young lady, at just 23 years of age she has sealed a deal with R Kelly… yes I repeat R. Kelly.

The Wusuaah collection” owned by 23 year old Belgium born Ghanaian Contance Ama Owusuaah, this fab collection  takes a whole new twist in the fashion industry.

With the amazing New York and London fashion week  just gone, the beautiful Owusuaah managed to confirm a clothing deal with R& b singer R. Kelly. The successful fashion designer is rumoured made good sales  ( pricing from $25,000.00) of her clothing line to stars Omarion, Tyson Beckford and Solange Knowles.

The designer Owussaah emphasised her deepest gratitude to God and for Pierre – Antoine vettorello, a Belgian designer who she claimed played an important role in her success.

By Cloudia K

Weekly Insight: Ola The Poet – It’s OK…

It’s OK!

Salty eyes cause blind vision,
The aim of your bullet is to execute,
Now seeing is believing and with those eyes worlds are created with
Pacifics form in the lower deck of your eyelids,
Eyelashes manifest in the gathering of tears,
Droplets like rain and thunder,
As one splatters, the universe becomes separated,

One oval shaped teardrop multiplied in many create an instagram of your life,
The cuts that manipulate their way through my conscious,

Lead me to believe that its ok,
Like a drunk to whisky the sour scent lingers like fish in
Billingsgate market and expose me to honesty,

Once again I am reminded, it is Ok!
No photocopies this time round, the stained cheeks of Remel are tainted,
The occupation of my fluttering eyelashes like ostrich feathers became a chore when salt parted ways with me like Moses and the Red Sea,

Yet! In the mist of euphoria and red eyes, in the moment of synergy
and dynamics,
Of broken esteems and self integrity,
In a corner where drunkards relive bursting flames,
I am told, in a voice disguised as an angel,

It is Ok! To cry,
For waters that settle in vision are interpreted like the imprisoned Joseph,

It is Ok! To cry, the strength of you does not reduce but rather
increase, as a man who cries shows true emotion,

It is Ok! Your value doesn’t reside on your fallen tears, but in you
where redemption holds president.

It is Ok! To cry, for tears show humility and grace.

Grace hails from he who’s image you were made in.

It is OK to cry – let’s them flow buckets full and in time they will
read it like braille,
And every aspect will be highlighted in the midst of witnesses

It’s Ok! To cry – for the release of baggages are fluent than that of
a closed mouth.

By Ola the Poet

Ghanaian Music: Chemphe & Dr Cryme

Chemphe’s ‘Number 1’:

hot or not?

Ghana’s most foremost urban life(r&b +all cultures) crooner Chemphe is back with a new single ‘Number 1’. The mid-tempo r&b love song also features his label mate Dr Cryme, who adds a bit of his twi-pop to spice the single up.  The video for the song was filmed and produced by Phamous Philms and the single is making waves in the Ghanaian charts, receiving a lot of airplay on stations across the country.

So what do you think: Hot or not?

By Yaa Nyarko

Ghanaian Culture: Black History Month

Ola the Poet Manaorlog

October in the UK represents Black History Month. A celebration of history. A time of dedication. A time of reflection. We all have gifts and talents, but how are we using them? How do we express it?

Wayne Rooney does so by playing Football…

Idris Elber does so by acting…

Ola The Poet does so through poetry…

Leave your comments below as you listen to the poem in the video below!

Ghanaian Football: Andre “Dede” Ayew

Andre “Dede” AyewAside from Anthony Annan and Kwadwo Asamoah one of my favourite Ghanaian players is Andre “Dede” Ayew (son of Ghanaian legend Abedi “Pele” Ayew). The Marseille winger was one of the outstanding players at the World cup last year and although Asamoah Gyan took much of the plaudits Ayew amongst others played an important role. As a result he has been linked with Europe’s top clubs including Arsenal whose manager Arsene Wenger is quoted as saying “Ayew is a very talented player and I like him as a player”. Whilst German legendary defender Franz Beckenbauer has likened Ayew’s ability to that of his father. Such comments will do much to enhance the reputation of a player who many pundits feel is on the verge of greatness.

At the age of 21 Andre Ayew already has over 30 caps for his country and also captained the Ghanaian U20 team to victory at both the 2009 African Youth Championship and the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup. At the African Youth Championship, Ayew scored two goals against Cameroon in the group stage and South Africa in the semi-finals. The 4–3 semi-final result progressed Ghana to the final where the team defeated group stage opponents Cameroon 2–0. The championship victory resulted in the team qualifying for the ensuing U-20 World Cup.

In the tournament, Ayew scored twice against England in a 4–0 rout and the equalizing goal against South Africa in the Round of 16. Ghana later won the match in extra time through a goal from Dominic Adiyiah. Ayew then captained the team to victories over the Korea Republic and Hungary in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, to reach the final where they faced Brazil.

This season Ayew has continued his fine form for his club Marseille scoring twice against Borussisa Dortmund in a champion’s league and producing a string of man of the match performances in the French league. He is proving a valuable commodity for his club and will be crucial to Ghana’s chances of winning the African Nations cup next year.

Andre Ayew is a young footballer seemingly with the world at his feet who if continues in the same vein will surely secure a big money move to one of Europe’s top club in the near future. This will only be good for his career and Ghana’s chances on the international stage.

Ps: You can see Ayew in action for Marseille (who are Arsenals group) in the Champions league group stages every other Tuesday or Wednesday evening on Sky Sports

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

Ghanaian Music: Wanlov the Kubolor

Album Review: ‘Brown Card’ by Wanlov the Kubolor

WanlovThe skirt-clad and barefooted Wanlov the Kubolor, real name Emmanuel Owusu Bonsu is back with a new self-produced album ‘Brown Card’, an album that is truly worthy of note. With a lot of Ghanaian musicians keeping it safe by sticking to what they know and to a certain extent what the masses want to hear, Wanlov took risks with this album, a risk well worth it as the finished product is a highly experimental  album that is fresh and innovative.

The new album differs from his previous albums Yellow Card and Green Card, which according to him were more West-African influenced. With Brown Card, he states that he wanted to craft a sound that represented his dual identity. This is what he had in mind when he went to France in 2010 to make the album, producing all but the last track. He also collaborated with major artists on this album, such as Keziah Jones, Sena and King Ayisoba.

Brown Card is not only an experimental album, but a personal one as Wanlov digs deep into his Eastern European roots. Born to a Romanian mother and a Ghanaian father, Wanlov takes the best of both identities and makes an album that is uniquely his own: he combines Romanian lullabies with Ashanti war rhythms alongside traditional instruments such as the gonje, violin, xylophone, gypsy accordion, gome, synths, fontomfrom drums, and cimbalon. The result is a tightly balanced but eclectic mix of instruments laced with Wanlov’s sharp lyrics, voiced in Romani, Twi, Ga and Pidgen English.

Wanlov is contemplative, witty, humourous, sentimental and festive on the album. Tracks such as ‘African Gypsy’ ft Keziah Jones, ‘Spr Mi Dat’, and ‘Mapouka Soiree’ are upbeat and typical of Wanlov’s cheeky and mischievous nature, whilst ‘Pentru Mama’, ‘Come Play’ft Sena and ‘Nxt Life’ are more mellow and reflective. The album has spurned two singles, ‘African Gypsy’ and ‘Veverita’ featuring King Ayisoba,a song about an impatient squirrel.

With three albums now safely under his belt, Wanlov is looking to expand his creative horizons yet again. As part of the duo FOKN Bois, Wanlov co-starred with M3nsa in 2010 to produce the first African pidgin musical, ‘Coz Ov Moni’ and states that they are now working together on the sequel. But for now, he plans to tour Europe ‘carrying his ‘Brown Card’.

Brown Card is now available on iTunes

By Yaa Nyarko

Weekly Insight: Ola The Poet – Journey

Walk a mile in my shoes they say,
You have No IDEA what its like they say,
Its like a walk in the park for you they say,
That’s what they do. They say.

In a parallel universe I am all that I am. In a pair of Jimmy Choo’s
or vans. I walk in them with confidence,
Knowing that my struggles get left behind with each step,
I’m gliding.. Almost like walking on water.

But in the space of reality I am drowning, having to learn how to swim at every chance I get, it seems like my struggles are heavier than perceived.

In a society where we squeeze into what we aren’t and pretend to be what we aren’t just for acceptance and satisfaction, I’d rather stick with my 3year old pair of Clark shoes and walk the streets with pride, head held up high,

As old and tattered it maybe they are my foundation,
Throughout my journey they have manifested into what my purpose is, Swap them for a fresh pair of Toms or Converse’s I will never do for my journey is a different one. My lessons learned and taught in them a more rewarding than a moment of boasting and flashing lights.

My mother once told me that patience is gained when tested and
solutions are found when you look at your situation from the outside
looking in and that rushing for what you want may not necessarily be what you get because your journey at each chapter in your life is a different. The comparison to those around you will lead to self

So I say to you. If like me you still walking in your pair of old
shoes.. Keep walking because the day will come when those shoes will manifest into the person you have become.

Keep Walking – Head Held HIGH – Keep Rising

Ghanaian Actor: Majid Michel

Majid Michel Wins a Screen Nation Award!

Majid MichaelThe 7th annual Screen Nation Film & TV Awards was held on Sunday night the 16th of October at the London’s IndigO2, and what a star-studded events it was! Stars of black film and television were there, including Clark Peters, Clint Dyer, Amanda Foster, Tameka Empson, Ama K Abebrese, Arnold Oceng and many more. The event was attended by guests from the film, music and television industry.

The Screen Nation Film & TV Awards celebrates black celebrates black film and television actors &actress, producers, directors from not just the UK but Europe and around the world. So it was great to see Majid Michel beat Ramsey Nouah, Mike Ezuruonye, Osita Iheme, John Dumelo and Kakeem Kae Kazim to win the award for Best West African Actor. Congratulations Majid, keep making Ghana proud!

Volunteering in Ghana: WAM

W.A.M (What About ME!) is an initiative which aims to provide young people with exciting creative platforms to contribute to the wellbeing and development of orphans and vulnerable children living in Ghana.

With the support of the Ghana High Commission, the W.A.M Campaign aims to motivate and inspire young people to contribute their skills, gifts and talents through energetic fundraising activities and by participating in the volunteer programme in Ghana.

With record numbers of travellers now visiting Ghana, the W.A.M Campaign highlights a number of challenges faced by young people in Ghana, creating opportunities for YOU to give back in an easy, fun and practical way.

This Christmas, the W.A.M Campaign will be in Ghana, giving you the opportunity to actively volunteer in both Accra and Kumasi. You can come and teach, dance, play sport, sing… and so much more!!

SO…If you’ll be in Ghana during the Christmas season, why not come and share your unique talents to better the lives of others? Even if it is just for an hour, a day, or for a whole week, YOU can make a difference.

“What About ME?’ ‘It’s NOT about me?” realises that the best of you comes out, when you bring out the best in others.


Ghanaian Culture: No Vernacular…

KFCHow would you feel if you walked into KFC one day to order a chicken wrap only to be told they will serve anything but chicken?! Or you go on an aeroplane to fly to your dream holiday destination, only for the pilot to announce the aeroplane will not fly but taxi all the way to its final destination?! I will tell you how I would feel – I would feel conned, disgusted and disappointed. KFC without chicken and a plane that cannot fly?! Chicken is the core essence of KFC and so is flying for an aeroplane.

It’s the same sort of feeling of disbelief and disappointment I get when I come across a Ghanaian who has lived in Ghana all their life and yet speaks better English than any Ghanaian language. I have two nephews and a niece just like that. Speaking to them the other day, I realised they speak fluent English but struggle to hold a conversation in Fanti or Ga. Their knowledge or Fanti or Ga – which is their mother tongue – is only rudimentary. It does not go past “How are you”, “I’m fine” and “my name is”… Shocking huh? And they’re not the only Ghanaian kids living in Ghana who speak better English than their supposed mother tongue. There are many like my nephews and niece and this is deeply worrying.

A couple of generations down the road we will have a society that cannot speak its own language but can we blame these kids? They speak English when they are at school and when they are at home. All the literature they read is in English and all their favourite TV characters speak English too: Ben 10 speaks no Fanti or Ga and neither does Hannah Montana! The only time they get to speak Fanti is when their maternal grandmother visits or Ga when their paternal grandmother comes around and they also get a few hours of local language lessons a week at school and that’s about it.

Tom_and_JerryWe cannot pretend this problem just crept up on us out of the darkness, we should have seen it coming. I remember in primary school we had a sign on the chalkboard which read “No Vernacular”. Anyone caught speaking Fanti during school hours were punished, but I was lucky not to end up like my nephews and niece. Unlike them, I had a safe haven. I could go home and speak Fanti all I like. These kids on the other hand have no one to speak Fanti or Ga with on a regular basis, so uncle is going to do his bit to help them. Next time I speak to them on the phone, I will be speaking Fanti and nothing else but now let’s address this problem in a wider sense. Those in charge of drawing up the Ghanaian school curriculum have to take another look at the system. Local language lessons should be given more teaching hours or we can be brave and start teaching a subject – I would suggest History – in local languages. It makes much sense to teach the history of a society in its own language. It gives a better understanding.

Now let’s take a look at the TV stations in Ghana. Do not scrap Ben 10 or Tom & Jerry or Hannah Montana but work some magic with it. It would be nice to hear some of these characters speak Fanti or Ga or Ewe or Twi or Hausa, it can be done. I’ve seen Scooby Doo speak fluent Hindi.

Finally, I have a few words for Ghanaian parents. Please do not speak English to your kids at home. It will not make them any clever than the kids who speak Fanti or Ga or Ewe or Hausa at home.

Funny… I just tried counting 1 to 20 in Fanti and I am ashamed to say I’m stuck at 10! And I would think there would be a load of people reading this who cannot count from 1 to 20 in any Ghanaian language. It’ s a disgrace! We need to do better.

By Maclean Arthur