Marriott Hotel, Airport–Accra
Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy are inches away from one other. But unlike a fortnight ago, there’s no tension brewing. Assault weapons are out of sight, and the atmosphere blossoms, not with the asphyxiating odour of pepper spray, but the pleasant aroma of brotherly affection. There’s the soft whispering into one another’s ear, the exchange of playful jabs, and frequent, hearty fist bumping.
How good and pleasant it is for brothers to converge in solidarity, preached the Good book, after all.
Shatta Wale cuts a similar fashion option like he did at the Ghana Music Awards, which witnessed the apex of the excesses of uncontrolled emotion between he and Stonebwoy. He opts for brighter, celebratory colours; sporting a royal blue tuxedo over an open white shirt that reveals significant jewelry. He caps his appearance with oval–rimmed sunglasses identical to what he wore at the VGMAs.
Stonebwoy opts for long–sleeved African print dominated by white, the colour of peace.
Their message is simple: they have erred. They recognise their role as arrowheads in Ghanaian showbiz, and their astounding influence on the country’s youth. They’re sorry for setting bad examples in the past, and have turned over a new leaf. The narrative must change: musical arch–rivals, even in dancehall, the most explosive of artforms, can unite too.
This is a peace revolution, and it is duly being televised, and streamed live on social media to multitudes of devotees, observers and skeptics alike.
Ghana comes first, the #ShattaStone sermon further states. Peace is the most fertile ground for progress. In that vein, the two will headline a mammoth concert with the topic sentence of this paragraph as theme.
Around the room, there are regular echoes of laughter, applause and cheer.
Stonebwoy is the talkative of the two, taking first dibs at the answers thrown to them by media reps present (whose questions came down to how realistically sustainable this spectacle will be). Wale, the punchline jester, complemented the BHIM frontman’s responses with witty anecdotes and punctuation.
It is possible for this pact to run as long as is humanly possible, both acts are confident, specifically if scandal–loving media personnel (the blogging constituency in particular) tone down on the divisive framing.
The fans too, will buy into this new direction, the musicians are certain. Admittedly, it will require effort and time, but they are charismatic leaders, their calls for their disciples to rally around this initiative will yield fruit.
On the VGMA ban both acts are serving for their involvement of the onstage fracas at this year’s ceremony, Stonebwoy touches briefly. Granted, they accept blame for their actions, but Charterhouse and the VGMA board are not blameless either. Ultimately, though, as professionals, they’re both inclined and willing to associate with any establishment that extends them that courtesy.
The road to Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy finally burying the hatchet has been long and bumpy, they admit. But thanks to the intervention of some “big men,” key among which is the Kofi Abban Foundation, under whose auspices this presser is holding, the dream and the reality have become simultaneous.
For singer Wendy Shay, speaking for a younger generation of musicians, this is iconic and highly inspirational. Smiling, she reiterates appreciation to her older colleagues, praying heavenly blessings upon this desire.
The press conference was compered by broadcaster Nana Aba Anamoah.
Featured image courtesy Attractive Mustapha.