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#BlackStarDELIGHT: UK-based Ghanaian Media and Communications professional Akosua Annobil

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Akosua Annobil , a Ghanaian Media and Communications professional based in the UK  shares her thoughts with enewsgh.com on whether Ghanaian artistes have branded themselves well enough.

What was it like organizing and producing Samini’s Album Launch Party in 2009?

Samini won a MOBO Award for Best African Act in 2006, but he was little known in the UK at that time and Afrobeat wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is now in Britain. So when I got the call to introduce him to the UK music industry, I knew it would be a challenge. It turned out to be great fun, and one of the most successful projects I’ve put together over the past decade. It was a private party for the release of his third studio album, Dagaati, and it was the UK’s first album launch for a Ghanaian musician.

Over 200 British and African celebrities, music industry executives and journalists attended the event, and I booked award-winning rapper Bashy as a London-based support act because his energy (both on and off stage) is captivating – similar to Samini’s. I genuinely had love for the project in regards to the music and crossing boundaries between Ghana and the UK.

As a PR person, do you think Ghanaian artistes have branded themselves well enough to get a worldwide appeal?

The short answer is no. However, I think that’s more to do with the lack of behind-the-scenes talent in the industry, rather than the artists themselves. Ghana has produced an explosion of new talent, which is brilliant. But there doesn’t seem to be many professional PR, marketing and management teams to support them.

That said, I do think some artists need to take better advantage of the online space, which can significantly improve their profiles if executed properly.

Any plans to extend what you do / share your experiences with Ghana (media, creative arts industry)

Absolutely.

What was the inspiration/idea behind founding Fire Media UK/overgroundonline.com?

Back in 2004, my business mentor and close friend Peter Murray , (founder of Pride, the UK’s glossy magazine for women of colour) pointed out that I should be doing more with my media skills and industry contacts. With Fire Media it was a case of supply and demand. London’s underground music scene was thriving and there were a huge number of artists that needed specialist promotion. We then went on to events, theatre productions and celebrities, providing a variety of PR services.

Overground Online came about after spending seven years as an entertainment editor on the now defunct African-Caribbean newspaper New Nation. Black media in general were pretty slow to react to the internet, but it was clear where the marketplace was heading. I co-launched the site in 2008, and it was quite pioneering at the time – a place to read articles and watch videos about African Caribbean entertainment, politics and London culture for free.

Both Fire Media and Overground rewarded me with some great times and valuable lessons, which I’ll treasure and use as a guide as I move on in my career.

Names of celebrities you’ve interviewed

A few of my personal favourites include Chaka Khan, Mary J Blige, R Kelly, Beenie Man and Wiley.

Any memorable career moments?

In 2006, I was flown out on a press trip to Ghana to cover Jay Z’s first concert there. I managed to write some good stories while staying at the same hotel as Jay and his entourage. However, the best thing about the trip was that it was the beginning of my relationship with Ghana – for both work and play.

In 2008, I was called to LA to present a show called Brits Abroad for American TV network BET (Black Entertainment Television), and interview celebrities from the UK who were pursuing careers in Hollywood. While I was there, I also appeared in a popular, debate panel series called Hip Hop Vs America. That was an unforgettable experience.

Akosua, Levi Roots and Ozwald Boateng

Akosua, Levi Roots and Ozwald Boateng

Have you won any awards for your work?

During my days as a print journalist and radio broadcaster I won a Ghana Professional Achievers Award for Media and Communications.

Your thoughts on discussions that digital media will overtake traditional media in the coming years?

I’ll always have a soft spot for traditional media, particularly print, as that was my training ground and the foundation upon which I have built my career. But there’s no getting away from the fact that the future is digital – the change is already happening. Many publications and media organizations have cut or closed down due to marketing spend being shifted to the digital landscape.

Recent reports show that by 2020, more than seven billion people and businesses will be connected to the internet, and the media play an important part in that evolution. It’s also essential to fully equip the next generation to become creators and not just consumers of content.

Kindly give details of what you do with Headliners UK

In 2008/9 I felt passionately about the demise of youth culture in the UK, particularly in regards to violent crime. I initially joined Headliners as an Outreach Journalist; developing and delivering media projects with some of the most vulnerable young people in the country, including youth offenders. The sessions are used as a catalyst to give young people a platform to raise issues in society that they feel are important to them, while inspiring them to build on their skills and work towards achieving their goals.

Over the years I’ve worked in schools, youth centres, pupil referral units and voluntary organizations.. Now, I’m running a Big Lottery-funded project focused on young people in the care system, and working with the charity to develop future partnerships around digital skills and employment.

Any advice to young people who want to chart a career path in the media?

It’s a bit of a cliché, but study the craft and do what you love within the industry. And if you haven’t worked out what that is yet just follow your curiosity or the bits about media that make you tick. Don’t get me wrong, nobody in media starts with nothing and becomes successful overnight simply by doing what pleases them. In my early years I had to make money working in a café, telesales, a hair salon and as a customer service assistant in London City Airport. But all the while I was studying journalism and working in national newspaper offices for free. Later in life you realise it all adds up. Those part-time jobs helped to build my confidence and networking skills; work experience at the Financial Times made my CV stand out; and I got my first break in media through one of the clients at the hair salon!

Last words?

Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the sky.

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Events & Places

Sarkodie named for ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST – DUBAI, November 16!

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Celebrated Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie (Michael Owusu Addo) will be joined by other music giants from across the continent for the Dubai edition of the widely patronised concert, which comes off at the Madinat Jumeriah Al Sufuoh Rd. on November 16!

The concert has been successfully held in the United States and the UK, witnessing sterling performances from Wizkid, Davido, Tekno, Jidenna, P-Square, Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Cassper Nyovest, Alikiba, Flavour N’abania, Phyno, M.I, Efya, 9ice, Awilo Longomba, Falz, Victoria Kimani, among others.

One Africa Music Fest is described by organisers as ‘ Africa’s leading platform in showcasing the best and brightest musical talents in the continent, with the sole aim of solidifying Africa’s position within the entertainment industry on a global level”.

Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, ,and beloved Kenyan band Sauti Sol have all been confirmed for the Dubai concert.

A multiple-award-winning act, Sarkodie is CEO of his independent imprint  SarkCess Music, which is also home to singer Akwaboah, and fellow rap act Strongman. His fifth album “Highest”, is out now!

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Events & Places

GADAM NATION CONCERT slated for Bukom Boxing Arena, Nov 26!

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Popular Tamale-based singer Fancy Gadam takes his annual “Gadam Nation Concert” to the Bukom Boxing Arena this November.

Put together by Sultan INC and 5M Music, the concert is one of the key dates of his ongoing tour of major cities across the country, which has been massively patronised, and seen performances from popular colleagues as Sarkodie, B4bonah, Ebony among others.

Last year, the Accra leg of the tour was held at the National Theatre, drawing thousands to the venue.

Born Ahmed Mujahid Bello, Fancy is recipient of a BASS Award for Discovery of the Year, 2017  VGMA Best New Act, as well as a 2016 JIGWE award for Best New Artist, and has been associated with the likes of Medikal, Wiyaala, Shatta Wale, Sarkodie among others.

Fancy is author of several hit songs including Total Cheat, off his 2017 album “Mujahid’.

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Events & Places

MOBO Awards 2017: Sarkodie, Juls, Mr. Eazi, Eugy up for BEST AFRICAN ACT!

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Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie has bagged a nomination at the 2017 Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards. The ‘Glory‘ act was nominated in the ‘Best African Act‘ category.

Davido, Eugy, DJ Juls, Maleek Berry, Mr. Eazi, Tekno, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal and Wizkid are the other contenders in the category.

The awards ceremony will be held at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

 

The MOBO Awards stands for “Music of Black Origin” and was established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell. The MOBO Award show is held annually in the United Kingdom to recognise artists of any ethnicity or nationality performing black music. In 2009, the awards ceremony was held for the first time in Glasgow.

Prior to that, it had been held in London. In 2011, the ceremony returned for a second time to Scotland. The awards then moved to Leeds for the first time in 2015.

The Music Of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards were established in 1996 to recognise and celebrate artists who create Black or urban music. The MOBOs may be the most prestigious but were not the first Black music awards show in the country. In Britain, the Black Music Awards (BMA) show ran from 1992 to 1996 in various venues in London.

The first MOBO award was presented to UK trio Baby D, in the Best Dance Act category.

The MOBO Awards are seen as a UK equivalent to the BET Awards and Soul Train Awards for being the main award show in Britain to focus on Urban music.

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Music

Trigmatic Shines At Celebration 2017 – SEE IMAGES!

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Rapper and Host of YFM’s Myd Monring Show, Trigmatic over the weekend set the stage on fire as he performed with the Safoa Band at the 2016 Felabration at The Shrine in Nigeria.

Trigmatic put up a spectacular performance for patrons at the show. He rocked the stage with live performance of most of his hit songs.

The ‘Motromodwo’ hit maker together with the Safoa Band lifted Ghana high with at the music festival in Nigeria.

Since their over the weekend, Trigamtic and the Safoa Band have been all over the news with everyone talking about their outstanding performance during the “FELABRATION” MUSICAL FESTIVAL; a most prestigious festival celebrated by a great number of people in Nigeria and across Africa to honor the legendary FELA KUTI.

Felabration is an annual music festival conceived in 1998 by Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti in memory and celebration of her father Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician and human rights activist known for pioneering the afrobeat genre of music.

The one-week-long event which is held annually at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, attracts visitors all over the world and has thus been considered as an official tourist destination by the Lagos State Government

Felabration is held on the week of Fela’s birthday.

The event features musical performances from top music acts from Nigeria and guest appearances from internationally acclaimed musicians and personalities. It also consists of street parades, symposia on social and topical issues, debates and photo exhibitions.

Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), known professionally as Fela Kuti, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. He has been called ‘superstar’, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend. During the height of his popularity, he was often hailed as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.

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Music

LISTEN: No Size – Obrafour

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Titled No Size, rap veteran Obrafour reunites with XLM boss JMJ, with whom he worked extensively on his 2015 album Asem Beba Dabi.

The song, an uplifting up-tempo jam, is released under Obrafour’s Execution Entertainment imprint, and is among a series of landmark singles preparing the way for his Obrafoforo album.

Obrafour’s 1999 masterpiece Pae Mu Ka is widely considered the greatest Ghanaian rap album till date. An unparalleled lyrical technique and fearless social commentary have set him apart as amongst the most influential voices of his generation.

 

Listen to No Size below:

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Music

BRONYA: Wutah ready RETRO video for COMEBACK HIT – [ watch BTS images/video]

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Top Ghanaian duo WUTAH –comprising Frank Osei (Wutah Afriyie) and Daniel Morris (Wutah Kobby) are scheduled to release the video to their widespread comeback hit Bronya in coming days.

Yaa Baby’s Purse & a Premature Christmas – Wutah’s ‘Bronya’ – A REVIEW

 Directed by X Bills Ebenezer, the 80s-themed video is expected to invoke as much nostalgia as the record itself. Bronya is the second joint since Wutah announced their return as a group months ago –the other being AK47.
Wutah’s explosive break into Ghana’s music industry was with their 2006 debut Anamontuo, which birthed such classics as AdonkoGoosy Ganda and Big Dreams.

See behind-the-scenes images and footage from the video shoot courtesy Blagogee:

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