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David Pablo: In Depth explanation of why Radio avoided most of Yaa Pono’s Music



Yaa Pono in recent times has been in the news almost constantly. After Shatta Wale had “beefed” with and shut down nearly all the competition for years, Yaa Pono came along and delivered a “beef” Knock Out. For once, there was a unanimous decision. No controversy over the winner. Even the Shatta Wale fans agreed that “Gbee Naabu” had won, even if it only strengthened their support for their hero Shatta Wale. So perhaps the saying “beef is a win-win situation for everybody…” rings true after all.

Indeed, Shatta Wale has come back stronger than ever. And Yaa Pono is pulling huge crowds wherever he performs. His “faster than gods” album is getting him a new kind of radio attention, and people are noticing how much the artist has grown and diversified in his craft.

Yaa Pono originally found a global audience through Youtube “freestyles”. One of the first Ghanaians to exploit the video medium, he was also the first to rack up 1 million views with his witty rap videos (mostly filmed by King Mo Joe), straight from the underground scene! He captured the hearts of Ghanaians with his creativity and manipulation of words, and his nickname “ns3mkua” seemed very appropriate.

But a talented rapper whose extraordinary singing ability allowed him to sing nearly every hit highlife song with ease was always destined for greatness. And although he has remained relevant with a constant flow of good songs, many argue he has not lived up to their expectations yet.

And yet Yaa Pono headlines major concerts and at Kumasi last week 100,000 people sang along word for word to underground mega hits like “High grade” & “Codeine”, which get zero airplay. It makes you wonder if Yaa Pono was right when he said he would take the underground to the mainstream. A song that is not played on the radio can barely be described as a mainstream hit, but Yaa Pono has just disproved that.

It isn’t really difficult to see why radio has avoided a lot of Yaa Pono’s music. The subject matter was always controversial and/or radical, even if songs like “Amen…” somehow slipped below the radar. That may have just changed in a very odd way.

A lover of Ghanaian hiplife myself, I listened to the 17-track album and PONOBIOM truly outdid himself. Little has changed in terms of content. But he has evolved into a more mature artist that has been able to hold on to the rawness that endeared him to us. If anything, Ponobiom is going even further, and songs like “Mr Lucifer”, “#1 in Africa”, and “Jamming” put his versatility in full view.

The album has reggae, hip-life, afrobeat and even Highlife sounds. It is becoming harder and harder to describe Yaa Pono as a rapper, but it is not a bad thing at all.  He was always a fantastic rapper. Perhaps that was the hindrance all along. He was so good at “Nsemkua” that he didn’t need to explore the highlife, afrobeat and reggae that is very obviously a big part of his repertoire. If his current trajectory continues, he may very well take the underground mainstream.

** David Pablo is a Creative writer and content Producer at United Television (UTV)


Guest Blog - The Other View

NANA YAA ASABEA: Rejected By The Church For Looking Too “Poor”



If God loves us all, so why can’t the church do same?

“Who’s that weird looking boy?” I could hear a lady ask another as soon as I took a seat on the third row while the sermon was on-going. I could feel hundreds of eyeballs rolling towards my direction as I made way for the backseat on that row, which somehow became my permanent seat. 

After suffering a long period of joblessness, losing my father’s fortune to his greedy family and managing the pain of mysteriously losing both parents to a car crash, I decided to get closer to God, surrender it all to Him and be a part of His kingdom to see if there would be a change. I’ve learnt from the Bible that, whenever God wanted to bless His people, he placed His spirit in humans to become the source of help for those in dire need; so that motivated me the most to become a member of God’s family on earth (the church). I never owned good clothes nor had a place of my own. I moved from one uncompleted building to the other just to find a place to lay my head. Naya, I lived a very pathetic and sorrowful life and severally attempted to end it all but was always rescued by unknown strangers.

The ushers in the church I joined, wouldn’t even dare smile at me whenever I walked in but would jump to any other person who wasn’t me! Why would God’s own people reject their own? Wasn’t I human enough? Perhaps the church now relates to its members according to their class and status. I always had a fixed amount for my weekly offertory and my tithes never went beyond 3ghc (though I had no job). I prayed to God for a job so I can be a kingdom financier who will support projects in His name, take care of many less privileged people and sponsor the education of hundreds of students. When the rich men walked up to the altar to drop their offerings I could see smiles beaming from all angles in the auditorium. Whenever I attempted to get familiar with any of the members, some would quickly shun me while others would pretend to be enjoying my company until they had to use the “washroom of no return.” Perhaps it was the odor from my clothes or semi-unkempt nature of my hair or perhaps I just wasn’t qualified to be a member of the house of worship. The only person who sort of accepted me was the head pastor; whenever he saw me lingering around the auditorium after church, He would approach me, pray with me and give me some money for upkeep which could sustain me for about two (2) weeks. Yes Naya, fifty (50) Ghana cedis for two weeks and this generosity only happened once every month. As for the junior pastors, church members and even the main Osofo Maame (pastor’s wife), I was but a nuisance to them.

After a sermon one Sunday, the pastor urged us to be a part of any organization/department within the church so as to become devoted kingdom workers to which we all agreed. To my utmost disappointment, the choir rejected me, the drama group denied me entry and even the youth fellowship painfully shunned me. Aye! The poor man indeed has no friends. That wasn’t even the worst to happen to me; I joined the group of visitors waiting to speak to the pastor after church one Sunday. After waiting for nearly two (2) hours, I was almost next in line when I was told by the usher that the pastor was tired and didn’t want to see anyone from that point. I wouldn’t have included this if it was the first time it was happening Naya, that was the tenth (10th) time in row. Maybe I had no offering to drop at his feet and perhaps he had had enough of giving out to me…no money, no blessings and favor in the sight of men, I guessed. I looked up to the heavens and quickly left the premises before anyone could see me cry. I left the church and joined several others later but the story didn’t get any better.  

I gave up going to church altogether but still kept my faith intact and prayed to God within my confines. Things somehow turned around for me, I could now afford a home, good clothes and my bank account got quite fat as well after five (5) years. I was pushed by my colleagues to start going to church again and my oh my! I was treated like a king! I received Smiles from every corner and people walking up to me after service in the quest of getting to know me. What a world we live in! Why would the people of God reject their own in the first place? If Jesus came for all, why can’t we the followers of Christ be for all and accept all? I was initially shunned because I looked poor and dirty so that indirectly disqualified me from fitting in. I no longer have the desire to be a part of any church no more. I’d rather pray from my house and share my tithes among the needy on the streets Naya! We all are but hypocrites on this earth. There’s too much discrimination in the church and due to this, souls are being lost to darkness. The church must fix itself now!”

From facebook user:  Randy (actual name withheld)

By: Nana Yaa Asabea

Dear readers, what can you say to this? Share with me via instagram: @naya_233// facebook: Nana Yaa Asabea or leave your comments below.


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Guest Blog - The Other View

London through Ghanaian eyes – Elizabeth Ohene



On a short visit to London, I have been looking at the city with a fresh eye.

For 19 years, the UK capital was what I called home. It was kind to me when I arrived here suddenly, uninvited, and I learned to love it.

There were certain idiosyncrasies that I confess I never got used to, but London grew on me.

I went back to Ghana 17 years ago and during that period I have visited London quite regularly.

This time around, I have returned after more than a year and this may explain why I am noticing certain things I might not otherwise have done.


‘Professional pallbearers’

There seems to be so many people smoking on the streets and on doorsteps. If I were a new reporter in town I might have named it: London, the smoking city.

I reminded myself that anti-smoking laws have been tightened and the smokers are obviously having a hard time.

In Ghana’s capital Accra, smoking of cigarettes has simply lost its appeal. You could be on the streets of Accra all day and not see a single person smoking, apart from obvious “tourist types”.


London streets are narrow, they have always been, but they look even narrower and I wondered how I drove in this city and on the wrong side as well.

On the narrow streets, they have managed to carve out cycling lanes. I simply marvel at how the London bus drivers navigate their way through the city.

I came upon a funeral cortege in north London, the procession consisted of probably 15 people, apart from the professional pallbearers.

In Ghana, funeral corteges are made up of hundreds of people. Yes, yes, some of the things I never got used to like the quiet understated funerals.

I have been in despair about our loud, and extravagant funerals and here I am, thinking it is worth mentioning that a funeral cortege had 15 people in it.


City of sanctuary

I went to what used to be my local supermarket in north London and there on the shelves were Star and Gulder beers and Guinness and Malta Guinness.

I took a second look and noticed they were imported from Nigeria. The Nigerian population in town must be more powerful economically than I had thought.

The natives themselves have discovered coconut in a big way. Coconut water is the latest fad in town.

Apparently, London has overtaken New York and Los Angeles as the largest coconut drinking city in the world, and the UK comes third after the US and Brazil.

It is being sold here as having truly magical powers, as a cure for hangover and as a diet aid.

Drinks purporting to be coconut seem to be available everywhere and people are prepared to pay very fancy prices for them.

Even though I have never been entrepreneurial in outlook, I suddenly had images of exporting planeloads of truly fresh coconuts from Ghana to London.

This, after all, is the city that took me in when I needed sanctuary.

I had left Ghana in a hurry when an announcement came on the radio that I should report to a military barracks.

Yes, those were the days of coups and military rule in Ghana; but that is an old story. These days, we are a shining example of a stable democracy on the continent.

All the same, I shall never forget the place that gave me sanctuary, and I feel the least I can do is provide Londoners with real coconut water because much of what is being drunk here cannot qualify for it.

In most street corners in Ghana, you can find the real thing and it is cut open for you whilst you wait.


Brexit confusion

Then there is what the UK is in the headlines for these days: Brexit. Journalists and politicians are fixated about it.

The old arguments about the UK’s place in Europe that had contributed to the undoing of two Conservative prime ministers during my time, Margaret Thatcher and John Major, had finally done it for David Cameron.

Last year, the UK voted to leave the European Union and I get the impression that it is a case of needing to be careful what you pray for, as you might just get it.

I tried to listen to some of the endless discussions on Brexit and I confess I could not understand them and I gave up.

Image copyright. GETTY IMAGES

I decided to concentrate on the gardens, parks and pavements that make London a truly attractive city.

Workmen are digging up the streets again and the water company explains that they are lining the water pipes to prevent future leaks.

I saw a notice on a lamp post that said the council had received a planning application from someone who wanted to build a porch and if those on the street had opinions or objections, they were invited to a hearing.

A 14-storey apartment building is currently going up next door to my home in Accra. There had been no information from the city authorities that something so dramatic and life-changing was going to take place on my street.

Then there is the icing on the cake: The ease of walking and taking buses and trains in London.

It all made me realise that I had almost forgotten the things I had grown to love and which makes London a place to come back to over and over again.


Source: Elizabeth Ohene/ BBC

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Guest Blog - The Other View

Serge Attukwei Clottey gets VOGUE Italia feature!



In August of 2014 I sent a message to Serge Attukwei Clottey on Facebook.  I had seen images on social media of a performance he had done on the streets of Accra where he was masked and cross-dressed as half dancer and half politician. He was carrying a briefcase and standing in the middle of a busy intersection.  I could not tell exactly what was going on, but I liked what I saw and I sent him a message.

That message started a friendship and journey that has been fascinating for the both of us. Serge makes work about the world he lives in, but it is very much also about the world we ALL live in.  He works in all mediums.  Sculpture, painting, performance, photography, drawing and video in much the same way as artists who are no longer confined to a single medium can use the different instruments of cultural production to express ideas that are both complex and simple, beautiful and shocking, all at once.  He is also hugely collaborative as an artist and works with performers and fellow artists called the GoLokal collective.  They engage in issues not so often delved into by male artists on the rising continent of Africa. Gender, masculinity, the role of matriarchy within the power structure of local society and of course the political corruption, environmental degradation and themes that we all have become acutely aware of globally. Serge lives in Accra – his beat, so to speak, is Jamestown and Labadi, his spoken tongue is Ga, and his attitude and demeanor is one straight out of a Hollywood movie.

Upon meeting him, simply put, he is a prince amongst men – elegant, physically beautiful and quiet.  He listens. He watches.  He thinks. He synthesizes. He is always considering art.

There is a natural understanding in him and his work that he is an artist who lives in Ghana and makes art in Ghana, but does not per se make Ghanain art.  Unliike so many artists whose dream it is to live in NYC or London or Berlin or Paris, he dreams of making his studio and center in Ghana.  His work predicts that we are all one now, with different mountains and oceans to behold but all connected by the same air that we breathe, fouled up by each and everyone’s personal decisions.  His art transmits the complexity of globalization and its dangers to modern society in works that display waste and corruption and illustrate how such dark forces can be transformed by human creativity into things of beauty and evolution.  Serge is an immensely complex artist whose works so simply express complexity, that he is destined to become one of Africa’s great new voices.

via VOGUE Italia

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Guest Blog - The Other View

Leadership must be by EXAMPLE! Leadership must INSPIRE the people – Kafui Danku



I have come to conclude that #SilenceIsNotGolden, at least not in every situation. As public figures celebrated and seen as leaders and mentors by the public, we need to speak up in order for certain crimes to be punished or certain issues affecting us and the people who look up to us to be given attention to; but here in Ghana, public figures or “celebrities” who are supposed to have a voice that should affect change, would not speak up just because an issue does not affect them directly. It’s only in Ghana that actors, actresses, and some media personalities would not come as a group that needs each other or defend each other but rather, add to the complication in most cases.

When issues arise, sometimes we see clearly that there is an indication of a crime or there’s a violation of dignity yet we would do nothing or say nothing. We forget that the future is inevitable. I’ve said several times over when asked that Lydia Forson and Yvonne Nelson are the only actresses who sometimes speak up on issues and I think they have some really “cool heads” on their shoulders; a few honest people can attest to that; And I also think they could have done more, if others support them. The rest of us behaving like “Azui” only care about taking fancy pictures and dressing up for the next red carpet event.

Filmmakers and media personalities; These two are very powerful, many ideas are brought into the world through filmmaking, the media disseminate very powerful information that can make or unmake people. Let’s speak on things that matter. Let’s condemn acts that are criminal and inhumane even if we hate the people involved for whatever reason, let’s focus on the crime! If someone is doing something good and you know in your heart that it’s a worthy cause, why not support? Leadership must be by EXAMPLE! Leadership must INSPIRE the people.

Egbenye dze anyi .

#SING #SINGAfrica #KafuiDankuSING


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Guest Blog - The Other View

NAYA’S COLUMN: Help Needed! My Boyfriend Is Sleeping With My Mother



Sometimes it’s not the people who change; it’s the mask that falls off!

Frankie (my first and only boyfriend) and I have been together for a while now; living in absolute peace and harmony for two years without a minute of separation.

Naturally blessed with eyes for fine men, I carefully selected this well crafted specie of a man to suit my taste and satisfaction and my relatives couldn’t agree more; my little brother adored Frankie and forcefully gave him “The Hulk” as his moniker because he was almost built like one. His intimidating physical features complimented his amazing rich baritone voice which always sent cold shivers running down my spine.

I was raised by a single mother in the capital city of Ghana, Accra who only had me when she was eighteen (18). I’m now twenty-one (21) years of age but I’ve never experienced what it’s like to have a father so, I depended on Frankie’s love to totally fill up that vacuum to enable me feel whole again. My man, who is five years older than I am, has been busily servicing my mum for almost year and I had no clue. Naya, I wouldn’t have even found out if it wasn’t for the weird whatsapp chat between the two I discovered some months ago on Frankie’s phone which read, “Let’s do this again Mama. You tasted better than the last time -_^”… like seriously? Do what again Frankie, do what? I’m sure that was no eating they did in an open restaurant, I thought out loud! I was extremely heartbroken but decided not to confront them just yet. As if that was not enough, I later discovered other disturbing photos in my mother’s phone gallery (after quietly sneaking into my bedroom with it) which showed the two totally naked and in various disturbing sexual positions. Holy Christ! Looking at a photo of my mum with her gigantic boobs in the face of my boyfriend broke me down completely and I’m still in shock that I got my sanity still intact! My mother is a young cougar who chose to ruin the life of her only daughter by being a sex mate to my boyfriend, the man who took my virginity, how cruel!

I still haven’t gathered the courage to confront them Naya so all I do is to pretend that I know nothing of their dirty games. I watch them pretend before my eyes every day and it pisses me off when Frankie pretends to address my mum the usual shy and “son-in-law”.  I feel used, vulnerable and absolutely worthless Naya and I honestly do not know what to do. I’m extremely in love with Frankie”

From Facebook user Erica (actual name withheld)

Hi Erica,

I find your letter very disturbing and I’m honestly saddened by your predicament. To be betrayed by the woman who gave you life and the first man to pop your cherry is really something.

You have daddy issues and its only normal to want to feel loved, needed and have a sense of belonging but you’re doing it the wrong way. You don’t need a man to make you feel loved and appreciated; your validation lies in the hands of no one but yourself. Pray to God, get closer to him and give him that emptiness you feel inside of you and He’ll fill you up.

I’d however encourage you to make your boyfriend and mother know that you’re already aware of what’s going on to just set yourself free! No matter how much it’s going to hurt, I think it’s only logic to let Frankie go sweetie, he’s not good for you! Yes he took your virginity so you feel stuck with him and under an illusion that you’re still in love with him! But honey he gave you your first sex experience and it’s normal to think that you still feel that way about him…A man who can be this bold to cheat on you with your own Mother is POISONOUS and no good for your health! CUT HIM OFF! HE DOESN’T LOVE NOR CARE ABOUT YOU! After you make them aware that you’re already in the know, bring yourself to forgive your mother because she’s family and it’ll be almost impossible to cut her off. deep down you also know how much you still love her so don’t allow this intruder ruin what you have built for 21 years with your mother; give yourself time to heal before you take the next step. If they want to keep up with their act after you break up then just let them be. You deserve better than a man who’s nothing better than a hungry dog! Your delusion of who Frankie was has only been shattered by the truth of who he really is. Now that you know what mummy is capable of doing, just take some safety precautions in your next relationship since you two now have the same taste in men!(just saying)  Stay strong! Do keep in touch and I’d be glad to help you through this.


Facebook: Nana Yaa Asabea/Naya’s column //instagram: @naya_233// email:






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Guest Blog - The Other View

#SMWiAccra: April Reign and how to harness the Power of social media for activism



The power of social media cannot be dismissed. It may have started as a more refined means of keeping in touch with the world and your friends, sharing and connecting with people who share your interests, but at present, it has become one of the largest forces for societal change, exposing truths, creating a safe space for conversations that otherwise have no platform and most importantly, empowering people’s voices.

Thus, social media and hashtags are not only serving as a tool for dissemination and entertainment but as a far better tool for democracy and activism. Its ability to bring issues to the fore front of your attention is fast turning it into the medium of choice for starting a conversation, moving it into on the ground actions that have resounding effects.

#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair.” In 2015 after the #Oscar nominees were announced, Editor, Writer and Activist April Reign, shared that post, and it sparked conversations off and online on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. The hashtag took on a life of its own and the year after, it has influenced systematic changes in Hollywood and the larger entertainment industry.

Since Reign shared that tweet, the Oscars Academy has announced and pledged to diversify its members by 2020. Hollywood now look out for a diversified cast thanks to online efforts and protests.

One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it provides an independent platform for people to express themselves while connecting with like-minded individuals and create an ecosystem that allows for them to harness that power and cause domino effects. Crafting a hashtag that carefully summarizes your topic without losing the power and voices behind it, ensuring that it does not lose its momentum on social media or even disseminating the right information relating to it is no mean feat.

On the 12th of September, April Reign will be in Ghana for the independently organized Social Media Week, to speak on ‘The Power of Twitter and Opportunities’, the many ways you can translate conversations online into purposeful action offline.

There are a thousand ways social media is changing lives, holding power to account and causing systemic changes. This session will be beneficial to that NGO looking for a platform to amplify their voice, that advocate effecting changes and the public figure working for the people, this is your session. Come learn about the power of the hashtag, how to create them and allow them to educate and provoke change. It’s not just noise. It’s having an effect.


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