Friday, November 9, 2012

Sarkodie brings #youknowwhattimeitis to a concert on 10.11.12

Given that I have met many African musicians in my lifetime, it's interesting that I have never really met Sarkodie before. The first time I did hear about him, I was listening to Dr. Duncan's Kasahare level on Adom FM. This radio show featured rap battles with serious punchlines thrown. Sarkodie wasn't the only one making a name in the underground rap scene. Yaa Pono, Kofi Korea and Burbon Fly also featured. And then Sarkodie struck commercial gold with Babe featuring Mugeez. The rest has been achievement after achievement. On 10.11.12, which is tomorrow, Sarkodie and his fans will be celebrating how far we have come together in  a #Youknowwhattimeitis concert at Pentagon on the Legon campus in Accra. I'll be there!

Sarkodie released freestyle after mixtape after freestyle in 2009. His Politics track, circa the elections of 2008, was an underground hit. His debut album, dubbed Makye, seemed to say his "success" was a long time coming. We heard news of Akon signing him as if to say he had transcended and entered new levels as an artist. Sarkodie then became maybe the first artiste in recent to defend the Artiste of the Year awards at the Ghana Music Awards. He has the most dedicated fans in Ghana. I told a friend about the upcoming concert this week and he said, "I don't care much for Ghanaian artistes but Sarkodie is one person, I will always check out". You may have also heard that he won the Best International Act (Africa) at the BET Awards this year as well.

And then when you look around the Ghanaian music scene and realize that it's been taking over by Azonto, you might want to know Sarkodie was the major reason for its initial popularity. He dropped "You go kill me" and rapped saying "even if she is an Azonto girl, I like her". BAM! Azonto dance craze followed with viral videos on YouTube. The girls were really into the dance too. I am of the opinion, the ladies are better azonto dancers than guys. "To all my honeys on the block", azonto to that :-)

10.11.12. Beautiful set of numbers. It's tomorrow. A certain time. Youknowwhattimeitis? Sarkodie's concert. This concert is free and open to the public. On the website, you have to "earn a ticket". Earning sounds like a task but it really isn't.   If you are in Accra, you could win a ticket to the 10.11.12 concert. Stay tuned to the for info on the concert and participating in it. 

There's also #youknowwhattimeitis campaign ongoing, celebrating achievements and proposing future achievements. Because the time now is about "our time". It's our time, Ghana.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ghana National Youth Achievers Awards 2012 - The Winners

The very first Ghana National Youth Achievers Awards (NYAA) were held under the auspices of President John Dramani Mahama on October 25 this year. Congratulations to all the winners, some of which I am proud to know personally. I already reacted to the whole NYAA, but let's dig into the winners proper. Because just giving you the list is boring. If you wanna learn some more, say #morevim!

Sarkodie and Becca won for Music. BET Award wins, Channel O nominations, Museke Awards wins, they deserved it. Jackie Appiah won for Performing Arts, she's not the fairest Ghanaian, so she must be doing very well as an actress because of her acting skills :-p. She's still cute too, those IPMC billboards do her some good justice. Jackie's best ever casting was in The Perfect Picture, arguably one of Ghana's best ever movies. The director of that movie, Shirley Frimpong-Manso won for film. 
The Fashion winner is surprising as it is refreshing, Fred Deegbe's Heel the World won (Ashesi bred). First met Fred at TEDxDzorwulu, he had an awesome story around HTW. As I'm working with him on an exciting project now, I have even more respect for him. 
Anas Aremeyaw Anas simply had to be a winner for Media Excellence. The day I realize what his face looks like, I will rejoice. Watch this Youtube video! He was co-awarded with reigning Ghana journalist of the year, Manesseh Azure Awuni. Love how he has many articles on GhanaWebMichael Kweku Kesse Somuah won for Literary Arts. In his impressive CV, RLG's Roland Agambire is one of his referees alongside Atukwei Okai. Good company. Most Presecans and Odadee might know of Bernard Akoi Jackson, one of the best artists of our time. He won for Visual Arts together with Ignace Hego, the CEO of 4Syte. Insert 4Syte Music Video Awards Ceremony Event Visual joke here. 

Eunice Ogbogu won for Business Excellence for her work with Eugo Terrano, which is a highly rated construction firm in Ghana. Pretty neat! Abena Asomaning Antwi of the Angel-Zoe Foundation which works with women and juvenile prisoners won for Advocacy. Jerry Harrison of Legon's Chemistry Department and Kwadwo Asamoah Kusi of Noguchi also won for Science. 
Jemima Kugblenu, arguably the youngest Chartered Accountant in Ghana, won for Academic Excellence. Her co-winner was Emmanuel Boafo Twum whose story I heard on CITI FM's Breakfast Show recently after the awards. Apparently, he was discovered by CITI FM's Richard Skyy who helped him go to Legon where he graduated with a 3.97 GPA. Emmanuel hails from Nkroful just like Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Watch out for him.

I met the ICT winner, DreamOval's Derrydean Dadzie, in 2004 when I went to speak to students at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence. My encounter with him made me respect Patrick Awuah very much and rate Ashesi extremely highly. When he had our first Barcamp Ghana in December 2008, Derrydean was one of our 4 panelists under 26. 
Kwabena Danso is my mate from Presec and he's been making waves with his Yonso Project. We had discussed earlier this year how he wasn't being recognized adequately for his work and this award must surely be a watershed moment for him. He's also been featured on the marvelous program, Airtel Touching Lives. He also came to Barcamp Kumasi in 2011. 

Stephen Appiah is generally seen as Ghana's best ever captain and he won for Leadership. This should encourage us all to StepApp. We have a leadership problem in Ghana, maybe we should look to football captains for answers? Is Dede Ayew winning this award next year? :-) 
The Black Maidens football team won for Sports as they won Ghana's first medal in women's soccer at the U-17 World Cup recently. Another sports person awarded was Ajara Mohammed who won Special Awards with Farida Bedwei, my co-winner for the inaugural IDEAS AwardsAjara, a 'disabled' power cyclist, won gold medals at the All Africa Games in 2011. Farida is tres awesome, read about her bestseller, Definition of a Miracle. 

Mike Nyinaku, CEO of Beige Capital, and recent Young Entrepreneur of the award winner, won for Financial Excellence. Ejisu based Dr. Frederick Osei Owusu won for Health. 
Young Professionals winners were Isaac Agyiri Danso, a Chartered Accountant and Patricia Mawuli who's Ghana's first female pilot and is involved in training more. Solomon Sarkodie was honoured for Entrepreneurship and Development while Gideon Agyare (for his inventions in alternative energy) won for Invention and innovation. 

Mike Nyinaku & Eunice Ogbogu went home with the most prestigious awards, adding Youth Personality of the Year gong to their other awards. #Youknowwhattimeitis? Like Mike Nyinaku himself said, "It's our time, Ghana". Let's go on out and achieve. #Morevim!

Ghana's National Youth Achievers' Awards - The Reaction

The manner in which I first heard about the Ghana National Youth Achievers Awards (NYAA) were  some interesting circumstances. First, they was the notion that some of the organizers behind it should not have been behind it or should have been supporting something else that I support. And then my mother also called me about it saying my aunt was encouraging me to apply. The Awards were held recently and many deserving people that I know of won but I never ended up applying. But the latter part is not the point, the former - celebrating Ghanaian youth achievement is the point of this blog post.

But I still have to tell you why I didn't apply. First, I wasn't excited by the involvement of CharterHouse (which organizes entertainment type awards shows, what would that mean for these awards?) and RLG (who as a tech company is not exactly supporting innovation in Ghana like it should, yeah I said it). And then you have the government angle, endorsed by the sitting president, Johnny "Digital" Mahama. The long application form with its three required letters of recommendation was just too much to ask of applicants and that also put me off. Was the awards going to be used to award NDC youth? Apparently, it wasn't a far cry from some people's expectations.

When the awards finally happened on a Thursday, October 25th (all Saturdays had been booked?), I was listening on radio, CITI FM. I believe it was also broadcast on TV. Well done to the organizers. I only caught a few winners being mentioned. Sarkodie (of #Youknowhattimeitis fame) and Becca (who I have some interesting history with) won deservedly for music. I mean, #WhatElse? The Black Maidens won for sports for placing 3rd in the Under-17 age FIFA Women's World Cup in October. Wait, who filled that long application form for them and did they not achieve this feat way after the application deadline on August 29? Things that make you go hmmm. Stephen Appiah won for leadership, he's also less than 35. We love you, Tornado! When I travel around Africa, and I say my last name is Appiah, am asked whether I am related to Stephen Appiah and Jackie Appiah. I am looking for the best lie to tell, someone give me some ideas please? ;-)

I also heard in real-time of Sarkodie and Becca winning. I had heard Sarkodie wasn't in the country before because we were seeking to bring him to Barcamp Tema, if he had magically shown up to collect that award, I would have been like 'whoa!'. He could have accepted it live via Google Hangout or Skype though. I am a big fan of Becca, in fact, I hope she is able to come for Barcamp Accra. Both musicians have transcended Ghana and had short and remarkable music careers. As for Jackie Appiah, the number of Facebook fans alone that she has, can tell you how well she has done. She's the same age as me too o. Lie generator machine, where you dey? :-)

Disability is not Inability. When I heard on radio that they were about to present special awards for people who have 'disabilities', I knew there had to be one particular winner. Farida Bedwei was one of the inaugural winners of the IDEAS Awards organized by Legacy and Legacy alongside yours truly and Bright Simmons. Funny how I never blogged about winning that award. I collected that award on the same day I arrived in Ghana to begin my working life with my dream employer, Google. Once Farida had been adjudged a winner, I had newfound respect for the NYAA. Well deserved! The full list of winners also gave the NYAA a lot of credence. Didn't see the NDC Youth being awarded like rumoured before.

There are many other winners who I will dig into more in this blog post. I think you might have read enough for now. :-) I told you why I didn't apply for the NYAAs, but I just might apply next year. Or do something awesome like the Black Maidens to override the whole process :-)

#Morevim to all Ghanaian youth achievers! 

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