Last week, the City of Mount Vernon, New York, USA hosted the first of many series of the International Media Launch of the annual Ghana Music Week Festival (GMWF) dubbed the World Launch.
The GMWF has been taking place in Ghana for the past three years, so one may ask, what’s the whole noise about its international launch?
In 2013, the Musicians Union of Ghana(MUSIGA) under the leadership of its current president, Bice Osei Kuffour in association with Showbiz Africa and Fantasy Entertainment in partnership the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts (MoTCCA) unveiled the first GMWF to celebrate the best of Ghanaian music.
In 2016 which will officially mark the fourth edition of the festival, the organisers have decided to use the festival and music as a catalyst for tourism promotion, hence the need for the international launches.
It is also to roll out activities to attract about 5,000 visitors from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa to Ghana for the 2016 GMWF in March. I was privileged to witness the launch in both Washington DC and New York and therefore present you with a highlight of the event.
Ghana Embassy, Washington DC
The team from Ghana which included musicians, media personnel and some executives from MUSIGA were hosted by His Excellency Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the USA, his Deputy Mr. Skido Achulo and other personnel at the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC.
The Ambassador who was full of praises for the team behind the festival called on Ghanaians in the Diaspora to fully partake in the event in March 2016 as he officially conducted the first international launch of the festival.
Rapper, Edem who was part of the team said the launch is “an offshoot of various things that will make people want to visit Ghana in the coming years in order to be exposed to the forms of beautiful music we create.”
On his part, Gasmilla told the gathering, “ I like to show the places I come from in my videos because I’m proud to be a Ghanaian.
“Getting the chance from MUSIGA to come here and push tourism, we are very honoured and we would like you to come down to Ghana in March to see other sites of Ghana.”
Grand International Launch at Mount Vernon
After the launch at the Ghana Embassy, the forecourt of the City Hall in Mount Vernon, New York was the venue for the big one. The grand International Launch of the Ghana Music Week Festival by Mayor Ernest D. Davis.
“Brothers and sisters, this is a serious time. We are here because for centuries, Africa has not been on the positive minds of even Africans and we have to correct that. We correct that by coming together, understanding that, we have a destiny.
“If you want to compete in the world stage, you gonna have to come together as one people to make that change. There are shortcuts but the people here process the energy, the talent and the intelligence to make sure that, the continent of Africa is not continually rid by others.
“We should not be the one to participate in our own demise,” he said the above few words before launching the GMWF. Ghanaian international Reggae Star, Rocky Dawumi also added that “The reasons we have gathered here is monumental and groundbreaking.
Next year during GMWF, we will utilise Ghana’s culture and traditions as a means to call back home our brothers and sisters around the world to celebrate with us at the same time to get the opportunity to be introduced to what our culture represents,”.
MUSIGA President Obour stressed on the theme of the festival and explained its importance. The theme for next year’s event is, “Music as a catalyst for tourism promotion. Now, with this theme, we decided not to just sit in our backyards of Ghana to talk about the festival.
“But rather come out to the world, see people who already have a relationship with Ghana, people who love Ghana, people who love to travel to Ghana.
“Let’s talk to them about Ghana Music Week, sell this vision and see how we can come together to see how to grow this festival.” During the launches, individuals who have contributed to the promotion of the Arts and Culture in Ghana and U.S. were honoured.
They include Mr. George Bright-Abu, Editor and Publisher of Afrikan Post, Mr. and Mrs Agyekum of New Millennium Health Care, Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Emmanuel Brown of Sahara Restaurant and Mr. Cobina Lartson of AfrikMall,Denver, Colorado.
By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz