Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Marcos Okraku-Mantey said Nigerians are reaping the hard work of Ghanaians and other African countries because of the name “Afrobeats” title given to all music coming from sub-Saharan Africa.
The music executive Said this during an interview at Joy FM’s morning show on Tuesday 7th March 2023.
Okraku-Mantey gave an example in Dubai, where a store clerk mistook Ghanaian high-life star Bisa Kdei for a Nigerian.
“The man was Moroccan and he thought the music was [from] Nigeria,” he said.
He also explained that the name itself, Afrobeats in the plural easily remind the world of the legacy of Nigerian Afrobeat Fela Kuti.
“I’ve seen a lot of these things where Ghana’s hard work goes to Nigeria,” he added, explaining that this is the case: “Because [Nigeria] makes so much noise that you get the impression that every song, what you hear is from Africa comes from Nigeria.”
Mister. Okraku-Mantey opined that Ghana made a “mistake… accepting that we play Afrobeats in the [genre] as well”.
In Mr Okraku-Mantey’s opinion, Nigerians were quick to adopt the Afrobeats name for their music to cunningly distinguish their music from Ghana’s and position themselves competitively.
“Because we [Ghanaians] were known for Highlife and we were bullying them [Nigerians] with our Highlife, quickly they opted for the Afrobeats,” he said.
“Unfortunately, my [Ghanaian] brothers and sisters went to join them,” he stressed. “They don’t know that all their hard work is actually going to Nigeria because [of] the perception about Afrobeats [and] Nigeria.”
He buttressed his point with another anecdote.
“I heard Camidoh’s song in Tanzania, Arusha, and people around thought it was from Nigeria,” he narrated. “And that is why Nigeria is getting the buzz they are getting. Everybody is thinking that almost at the music you hear from Africa now are from Nigeria.”