Tag: GHRBS_Ghana_Rising_Black_Star


Introducing Veronica Nyantakyiwaa…….

Founder of Starlight Enterprise on a mission to showcase the luxury within Africa

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Some people I dentify a need but do nothing to meet it….. Veronica Nyantakyiwaa is not such a person . The founder of Starlight Enterprise was so moved on  a trip to Ghana and decided there was  need to showcase its development and the experiecne it can offer.. Thus Starlight Enterprise was born.

The main aim of StarLight Enterprise (S.L.E.) is to establish itself as the leading web portal for luxury news as well as providing bespoke event management and PR services to their clients.

Travel, Lifestyle, Fashion, PR & Events  all  come under the S.L.E umbrella and they  keep their followers and clients updated with the latest news, trends and tailored event packages.

Me Firi Ghana recently caught up with  Veronica for a candid interview on What drivers her, Ghanaian culture and what’s next for starlight enterprise. Details below;

MFG: Describe Veronica Nyantakyiwaa  in 3 words?

VN:Self-motivated, tenacious, respectful

MFG: What motivates you?

VN:My family

Why did you decide to establish Starlight Enterprise?

VN:It was on my much awaited two week Easter break of 2012 that I decided (after eight long years) to head back and see the Motherland once again, where I was completely taken aback with Ghana’s development compared to my previous visits.

Consumerism, very much like the West was now flourishing in Ghana with boutique villas, hotels, resorts, eateries and the likes sprouting all over the city, however I was disappointed that I hadn’t found out about these earlier on.

So once I returned to London, my research began and this brought to light a very lucrative gap in the market, with not only the opportunity to showcase what Ghana has to offer but what West Africa has to offer.

And so with much prayer StarLight Enterprise was born to showcase “West Africa’s Hidden Gems” but with more of an emphasis on the luxury industry in West Africa; from travel, lifestyle, arts, news and fashion.

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How important are the diaspora to the development of Ghana?

VN:The diaspora’s involvement to the development of Ghana is absolutely fundamental. In some ways there may be the fear of ‘Westernising’ Ghana and it losing its identity, however, when you understand that we are a collective of first/second generation immigrants, the culture, traditions and upbringings of Ghana are still embedded within us.

Where the diaspora are able to apply their own knowledge, skills, and experiences in the aim of bettering Ghana it will always be a win-win situation. With the likes of Fuse ODG, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi of A A K S Handcrafted, and Zoe from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, all using their talents to showcase Ghanaian-inspired products, services, and entertainment.

MFG: If you could change one thing about Ghana what would it be?

VN:The mind-set of our people. Being a firm believer in the power in unity, there are some things the people of Ghana should not tolerate yet it seems many things are being swept under the carpet later leading the underlying issues the vulnerable are left to pick up on and clear up.

The concept of ‘Together we stand, but divided we fall’ is what in more recent times, the masses are becoming aware of and God-willing with time the right change will happen.

MFG:What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?

VN: Never give up. Creating StarLight Enterprise has been a complete challenge and still is, where new things are being learnt constantly it’s very important to remain focused on your goals but most important to strategise your plans carefully and remain on track

MFG:What is your favourite Ghanaian food?

VN:Tuo Zaafi.

MFG:What does the future hold for Starlight Enterprise?

VN:This year is going to be very exciting for StarLight Enterprise not only with the blogging aspect continue with full force, but we are also introducing luxury holiday packages tailored to all, ensuring our clients have the ultimate travel experience West Africa has to offer.

We’ll also be creating platforms such as workshops, and online space where the industry’s best will come together making their products and services accessible to all in Ghana and various locations across West Africa.

You can connect with MissNyantakyiwaa via twitter @v_owusu and check out the work of Starlight Enterprise via their website –http://starlightenterprise.org/

Veronica Nyantakyiwaa Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (@kwesitheauthor)

Introoducing… VVX Group

Art work at its innovative best!

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MFG caught up with the creatives behind innovative art brand VVX Group….

Kojo Marfo, 25 and Koby Martin, 26 have joined forces in creating the company, showcasing original and distinctive artwork.

The pair held exhibitions in the Belgrade theatre attracting over 600 visitors from across Coventry and have also worked alongside big brands in London such as Adidas. With the vibrant and captivating colours, we had to ask the artist behind the pieces, Koby, where he got his inspiration from. He said: ‘The music I listen to, my every day experiences and my spontaneous personality reflect my work and the colours I use.’ The brand sets out to push boundaries in the art market, by creating distinctive and unique pieces, and marketing them in original ways. Kojo said ‘ There isn’t really anyone doing what we’re doing and we guarantee you’ll find something you can relate to.

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Currently based within Coventry, the pair plan on building their enterprise by collaborating with different sports brands and musicians to create album covers and other original pieces.

Check out their website: www.vvxcreativegroup.com for more information

Koby Martin and Kojo Marfo aka VVX Group Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Wilma Sagoe (@Wilmasagoe) 

A Message from the Editor: The Future of Ghana…..

Mobilizing Ghana’s talent for Development!

 

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Why the Future of Ghana…

In less than 3 generations 41% of the world’s youth will be African”, “By 2035, Africa’s labour force will be larger than China’s” (Mo Ibrahim Foundation)…

Thus we believe now is time to celebrate, mobilize and invest in young people of Ghanaian heritage at a critical time in Africa’s growth.

Who are Ghana’s Future leaders? Who are the young people out there innovating and creating change? …… It’s about time we found out!

Award winning London based company Me FiRi Ghana are on a mission to find the pioneers and innovators of the Future by launching the Future of Ghana campaign.

The main objective of the campaign is to organize and mobilize Ghanaian talent for the development of Ghana by undertaking a global search for the top 30 Ghanaian talent aged 18 – 30 years – impacting industries around the world. The search will consist of an open nomination process driven through social media, media partners and using the official hashtag #FutureofGhana with the top 30 being featured in online publication. The secondary objective will be to stage a “Dragon’s Den” style competition in Ghana for budding entrepreneurs and small/medium size business owners hoping to expand.

Nominations for the Future of Ghana are now open to the public until 17 December 2014 via the website. Once closed nominees will be whittled down to a top 30 by a select judging panel, ready for the publication release in March 2015. The esteemed judging panel will be revealed the week commencing 1 December 2014 so look out for updates on twitter.

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The campaign has been endorsed by Ghanaian High Commissioner to the UK H.E Victor Emmanuel Smith. He has pledged his commitment to the campaign by agreeing to host a luncheon with a select number of the top 30 pioneers in the spring of 2015.

Future of Ghana Patron and pioneering photographer James Barnor says of the initiative;

“I am privileged to be chosen as patron for the Future of Ghana initiative. It is refreshing to see young Ghanaians in the Diaspora so forward thinking and genuinely passionate about our nation’s future. This initiative will mobilize and inspire a generation of Ghanaians to come together and utilize their skills for the development of Ghana. I can see history in the making. For that reason I am more than happy to be involved”

Let’s make history!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Introducing…Aisha Ayensu

The owner of the fashion brand making waves in Africa and beyond !

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The spotlight of MFG’s ‘Introducing…’ series falls on the owner of one of the largest fashion brands on the African continent – Ms. Aisha Ayensu (nee Obuobi)

Fashion designer, creative director and owner of acclaimed all-female fashion label Christie Brown, Aisha is making waves on the international fashion scene. A fashion line which while being ‘proudly African’ also manages to ‘speak to the world’, her gorgeous cosmopolitan African prints have found their place on the front covers of magazines and underneath the spotlights of sold-out concert

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Christie Brown is a monument of love which finds its foundations in Aisha’s childhood, where she watched on adoringly as her seamstress grandmother Christie Brown weaved rich and vibrant garments. The fashion line was turned from dream-to-reality as Aisha had a ‘passion for fashion’ stemming from those early memories.

She acknowledges that she originally lacked business acumen and has grown with her business, learning to use investments to be able to stand on her own feet. At the onset, Aisha didn’t know how to use a sewing machine – all she had were her dreams in her heart, and the fervently vivacious design ideas on the walls of her mind.

Completing a Psychology degree in the University of Ghana, Aisha completed many apprenticeships at various fashion houses in Ghana, eventually settling at the Joyce Ababio School of Creative Design. She endeavoured to learn the tailoring trade in order to be in a position to be able to train her future employees to be able to execute her vision. She admits to having made many mistakes along the way, but appreciates how she has been ‘learning on the job’ and appreciates the wisdom which her experiences have handed her.

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Christie Brown was eventually founded by Aisha in 2008, a manifestation of a long-held desire to revamp the Ghanaian fashion industry and the use of African wax print, a medium she has deep love for. Described as ‘a representation of the understated, sophisticated and modern African woman’, the Christie Brown brand aims to produce ‘practical, functional clothes which can be worn anywhere and everywhere, extending onto accessory lines’ with ‘every piece aiming to tell a positive story!’ She has a fervent desire to portray Ghanaian culture in the best way possible and drag it kicking and screaming onto the international scene of the world today.

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Christie Brown won the ‘Emerging Designer of the Year’ award at the inaugural Arise Africa Fashion Week in 2009. In 2012, Aisha was the sole Ghanaian representative at the International Visitors’ Leaders Programme. A platform for international entrepreneurs, it was here where she felt the business got the fuel to reach another level. Since then, her work has graced fashion publications such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Italia. Multi-award winning sensation Alicia Keys wore Christie Brown pieces for a recent VIBE magazine shoot. And at the end of 2013, Aisha collaborated with stylists involved in Beyoncé’s much-acclaimed ‘Mrs Carter World Tour’, with Katrina Hernandez claiming that ‘working with the design team at Christie Brown for Beyoncé’s Mrs Carter World Tour was an absolute dream come true.

While putting her all into thrusting her fashion house into the stratosphere, Aisha holds a strong desire to pull her generation along with the ride, hoping to inspire young Ghanaians in Ghana and the diaspora to take the world by storm. She advocates business-mindedness, and is urging young Ghanaians and burgeoning designers to see the business opportunities which can come from their talents and gifts, rather than living content with those talents in the guises of mere hobbies. ‘Do you have staying power?’ she encourages today’s youths to ask themselves when considering their future pursuits.Do you love it enough to want to plug through the hard times? Are you willing to persevere? What is the message you want to put across? Tell it the best way possible! Be patient, be grounded, know your craft – the success will come!’

Aisha has fearlessly built a brand for the ‘savvy, self-assured, internationally exposed, inspired, empowered, and confident.’ She wants the brand to be internationally-recognised, without losing the essence of what Christie Brown stands for. To quote the brand’s official website, ‘after only a few of years in the industry, Christie Brown has created a strong presence for itself, reflecting the personality and inspiration of the founder, with a continued promise of effortless sophistication in each design.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Introducing Ernest Simons…..

 Talented Photographer Currently showcasing his work at first Exhibition

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Ernest Simons is a London based photographer specialising in sports, fashion & portraits.He has worked with a wide range of clients including Content by Conran,  Nico Didonna New African Woman, The GFA (Ghana Football Association), ISG and Macmillan Cancer, Tekkers, & Borrow.

After establishing a proven track record of expertise spanning 8 years. Ernest has now embarked on putting on his first exhibition, The Black & White Exhibition which was inspired by his trip to a Ghanaian village earlier this year and the inhabitants going about their daily lives. Me Firi Ghana’s Director, Arnold Sarfo Kantanka and Editor/Head of Communications, Ben Anim-Antwi were in attendance for the private viewing of the exhibition on the evening of Tuesday 21 October.

The Exhibition is open to the public  from 22 Ocober – 20 November 2014 at Stephen Lawrence Centre, 39 Brookmill Rd, London SE8 4HU and promises to be an engaging and thought provoking experience. Make sure you get down there to check it out!

To wet your appetite view the trailer below;

 

MFG caught up with the talented photographer for a quick chat about the Black & White Exhibition amongst other things… See below!

MFG: Describe Ernest Simons in 3 words?

ES:” Creative, Opportunist with a big loving heart.”

How did you get involved in photography?

ES: “Fell into it really. I am also a graphic designer, went to University  but when I worked for design agencies laying out magazines ,adverts etc for companies sometimes they wanted photographs retaken by me. That’s when I realized I had a talent. I always had a love for sports & Fashion photography . I was asked to embark on a basketball project back in the day called Rough n Ready where I had to photograph an advert and photograph the tournament. I did not realize that this event was sponsored by Nike and the whole campaign was the birth to showcase elite basketball players in the U.K. those was some fantastic years, got a lot of people talking about my work. At that point I knew I would always take photographs”

MFG: What inspired the Black & White Exhibition?

ES:” My grandmother passed recently and the attire was all in black and white. I was taking pictures and felt more drawn to the pictures emotionally when I converted the images to monochrome. So I selected certain images to showcase at the Exhibition and other passed pictures also what give emotion.”

MFG:What is your favourite Ghanaian food?

ES: Jellof / fried yam and tilapia. sorry can never decided. ( How can you just say one food that’s not correct!)

MFG: If you could change one thing about Ghana what would it be?

ES: “Making our economy stable! – (but please don’t ask me how I just know not one person or party can do this alone and if the Community cant do it we need to seek advice and make sure the people benefit from this. Ghana is a rich country and the mass of people have values. Its only fitting we give them what they deserve its the birth right.”

What does the future hold for Ernest Simons?

ES: “Chale at the moment I am in a state of Sankofa. This exhibition is a turning point in my life where I should have done this before, but it is well. Its time to exert my work on to companies and people to start creating a brand. With my studio opening soon there is such a bonus to my business and you will be invited to the launch of that also!”

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_Ghana)

Introducing Deborah Kormi……

Led by faith to promote the Christian faith!

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At 17, Deborah Kormi or ‘Aya’ as her friends naturally address her is a British- Ghanaian whose faith and obedience has worked as the raw foundation to the many fruitful works she has proudly accomplished so far. Under her students’ uniform and juvenile appearance, Deborah is a published author, a project founder, and a motivational speaker. Raised in Mitcham, London, in a Christian family, it is not until the age of 12, in 2009 that she personally gave her life to Christ. Following her repentance, Deborah who was renowned at school lost a number of school friends who deemed her new life “boring” and unexciting.

Nonetheless, instead of throwing a ‘pity party’ for herself and focus on what she has presumably lost, Deborah concentrated on building a closer relationship with God and studying the Bible, which in return gave her the boldness and identity she was longing. As she continued to invest in her spiritual walk daily, Deborah increased in wisdom, and formed a great desire to testify about Christ. In 2010, led by faith, she founded ‘The1WayProject’. The initial aim was to gather young people in a room to discuss life and Christian topics, in a free and open forum, once a week. In 2011, Deborah upgraded ‘The1WayProject’, as she was giving the opportunity to move the weekly meetings from her living room into a real hall. It gave the -then 14 year old the chance to expand her organisation by inviting guest speakers, such as ex gang members and prisoners who have had their lives transformed after accepting Jesus Christ. During that time, Deborah also began to write, by transferring into pages the things she has discovered in her continuous walk with Christ.

Her first book “Walking the Walk”, launched in March 2013 is the product. The 86-page book is one which strips off the ideology sometimes associated with Christianity. The introduction says: “A number of Christians have totally misunderstood the true meaning of being a Christian. I have written this book to give a broader understanding on the values of who a Christian is. What it means to be a follower of Christ and what it means to be truly saved.” The book launch was successful as it attracted hundreds of people, youths and adults alike. Now, in 2014, it is with the same faith and obedience in God which enabled her to start, that Deborah is still going forward climbing greater heights and inspiring this generation. In July 2014, Deborah who is currently studying Business was at a reception event at The UK Parliament’s House Of Commons building in Westminster, and was given the opportunity to speak about her organisation ‘The1WayProject’.

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This project, with its slogan ‘Introducing Salvation to young people in Communities’ is being a continuous dose of blessing for many youths like Deborah, who in this dark world finds light in the message it brings. Through her many works, Deborah has only one goal, she wants “people to establish a true relationship with God and to stay focused in life.” A girl with a bright future!

You can get Deborah Kormi’s book ‘ Walking the walk’ on amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walking-Walk-Deborah-Kormi-ebook/dp/B00BYG8QVO  And you can check her website too at: www.deborahkormi.com

Myriam Osei (@Angelpeacejoy)

Introducin​g Emma Amoafo & Friday Born Designs

That Friday Feeling !

Emma Amoafo is a 23 year old Ghanaian brought up in Hampshire who is an amalgamation of brains, beauty, style, charity and creativity – a medical student at the prestigious Imperial College School of Medicine, entering her final year of study, she is also the founder and lead designer of burgeoning fashion house Friday Born Designs.

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Ms. Emma has been fortunate enough and wise enough to make the most of her inherent passion. Sewing had been a longstanding hobby, with Emma making and designing clothes for herself in her teenage years. The hobby found itself dulled and eventually lost as Emma began to make headway in the trialling terrain of medical study.

The spark which re-lit the flame which was to eventually birth Friday Born Designs came from a visit to Ghana in 2011, when Emma visited the Bless the Children International Home orphanage in Kwahu to present a donation from her father’s church. During a frank meeting with the Minister who ran the orphanage, a young Emma listened to how the orphanage lived on donations only, with no active support from the government. This story, plus a feeling at the time that studies were smothering her creative talents, sparked an epiphany. Emma decided to start designing and making accessories in January 2012 in an attempt to start giving back to the community back in Ghana, and at the same time reawaken her inherent creative spirit.

A Facebook page was constructed and before you could blink, Friday Born its rapid ascent. The vision of Friday Born Designs was clear – to pay homage to the motherland by using ‘African fabrics disguised in a British silhouette’ while simultaneously supporting the community back home in Ghana. Afro-Caribbean societies across London began to clamour for Friday Born designs to showcase at their gala shows, and Friday Born items were made available on stores such as ASOS Marketplace. The newest addition to the Friday Born family is a brand-new innovative flagship website – fridayborndesigns.com, a vibrant mix of Afromodern-styles and home of its very own blog!

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Balancing a high-powered medical degree with a demanding pursuit such as Friday Born Designs has not been easy. Emma’s time-management skill has been cultivated over the years and she has learned to delegate and build a flagship which is the sum of its parts. Initially making all of Friday Born’s clothes herself, she now has seamstresses and tailors in Ghana who help supply meet demand. In the same vein, it ensures a strong bond of co-operation and support exists between the UK and Ghana.

Friday Born Designs has opened some incredible doors for Emma, allowing her to style two music videos (SneakboHer Name, and Lola Rae feat. Iyanya – Fi Mi Le) as well as costumes for the first afrobeats musical to show in the West End, Oliva Tweest! And Friday Born shows no signs of slowing down – an incredible fashion world success story, made even more special by the fact that Emma has never had any formal fashion training.

So if you so happen to be passing through a top hospital this time next year, keep an eye out for a gorgeous young black doctor, clothes trimmed in stylish African print. And revel in the glow of her story that regardless of your academic pursuits, there is always time and space to pursue your passions too!

And what a warm glow it is! That Friday feeling is here to stay.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

A Poem by Adwoa Asiedu….

Celebrating The Kente Cloth of Ghana- The Happy Nation

 

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Ordinary isn’t the word.

Representing a rich culture, we are devoted to the motherland.

Oh the beauty of the silk and the cotton fabric, the vibrant colours and the geometric shapes!

They all scream out originality and ooze an air of dignity and grace.

Welcome to my world, yeah you can call us patriotic.

As we are approach the world cup,this is a time to unite!

No more fear, no more feelings of inferiority.

The old has gone! The new has come so let’s wear our Kente with confidence.

A new season I declare. Rejoice oh people of Ghana.

We will be known for being the happy nation.

This will be a legacy which will forever stand.

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Adwoa Asiedu ( @AdwoaAsiedu777)

Check out some of Adwoa’s work on her individual blog–  http://adwoapoems.blogspot.co.uk/ and look out for more posts from her right here on the Me Firi Ghana blog.

Introducing Jeffrey Appiah Smith…

 Making his dreams a reality!

Aspiring Film director Jeffrey Appiah Smith is doing things his way. After starting his own company JointSight Productions he is on the way to. He has an impressive portfolio which includes music videos for UK artist D Dark and International reggae artist Fadah Noah. His work doesn’t stop at music video’s. He has also covered events such as the Commonwealth Youth Awards, World Series Boxing & GB Women’s Handball. He is accomplished a lot in a short space of time but his story may have been different had he not gambled on his dreams.

Jeffrey got into the production game by chance. He enjoyed editing in his early years in college but was not too sure on what he wanted to do until he started university and started gaining experiences in the film industry as a runner. He then realised from working as a runner and getting advice from talking to work colleagues that he needed to learn more and practice on a smaller scale in order to gain experience and be credible in the future.

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He knew he had ideas and knew he wanted to share them through music promos and film however in order to be credible he had to be patient, gain as much experience as a runner in big budget features and music promos as well as working on his own stuff. He is still progressing gradually in achieving his goals as a Director/Editor in the mainstream and dreams of going  back to Ghana to shoot a feature film.

Beforehand then he was a one man band and initially named  his company JSVP (Jeffrey smith video production) which he says is hilarious now with hindsight, but nothing was really progressing to the heights he had imagined and that’s when his partner Ade came on board to help restructure things and really help JointSight stands out as a business. Their aim now is deliver high quality work with at a decent budget for their clients.

The name JointSight came about when he was on my placement at a PR firm and was in conversation with God, and he spoke to him, although not sure of the exact words he remembers they were something like “If me (God) and you are one and I am the master of all ideas then we should join our visions into one and create the most unique videos”, and that’s how JointSight Productions was birthed.

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In October 2013 Jeffrey was selected for GQ Magazines Project Upgrade series featuring legendary designer Tom Ford . See Mr Smith getting a makeover and what else went down here – http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2013/11/project-upgrade-tom-ford-film-director.html?mbid=social_twitter_gqfashion

For further information on the services Jointsight provide visit their website – http://www.jointsight.co.uk/#

Jeffrey Appiah Smith, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@kwesitheauthor)

J Appiah ‘Rabbit Hole’ Single Review

Discovering a new sound. His name is J Appiah

 

East London rising star J Appiah is making waves in the music scene with his smooth vocals, musical talent and raw lyrics.

Drawing on his folk, RnB, rap and reggae influences, J Appiah offers 4 exclusive tracks in his classic sophomore E.P: Travelight which includes the lead single ‘Rabbit Hole’.

The music video for ‘Rabbit Hole’ is thoughtful and engaging. The visual concept of the video is impressive as the video shows a determined Appiah running a steady pace for 3 minutes through deserted London streets. The video begins with viewings of London estates, and then we see J Appiah running across the street and running facing the camera. After some time, we see J Appiah facing the camera singing whilst running in a much slower pace. The effects of Appiah running close to the camera and further away are obvious. It all adds for dramatic effect and projects the emotion of the song very well.

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The hackney born singer and song writer takes the listener on a journey with his captivating single. The song is stunning and simple. It is also thought provoking. I see the song and video as a story of running towards a goal or dream and running away from that place of comfort which is a hindrance to our progress. J Appiah’s transparency is what sets him apart. He is an authentic artist who has grasped the key of connecting through his vocals and lyrics by simply being honest about who he is and that comes across in his music.

Check out the video for yourself. What message do you think he is trying to convey.

 

Adwoa Asiedu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)