Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Namibian star and Big Brother; The Chase evicted housemate, Maria Nepembe has declared she loves Ghana’s representative, Elikem Kumordzi who is highly tipped to make history as the first Ghanaian to win Big Brother Africa.

“I love him. He is really a good person… Elikem and I were pretty close. We were extremely close. I love him; he is really a good person,” Maria told Francis Addo in an exclusive interview on Monday evening.

The beautiful lady has been in Ghana for some days now seeking prospects in the country’s entertainment industry. She is targeting television, radio and movie industries in Ghana.

“As far as I’m concerned Big Brother House has its bad side and its good side. But I see mostly the good side. I see it as a medium of unifying Africa as a continent. You get together and get to learn about our respective countries. Also it creates a lot of exposure … I always call it as a moment of self discovery and I think I really discovered myself in the house. It was a beautiful experience. The unity among us in the house and the respect was unique. Obviously, we are human beings and so we fight and argue but to me Big Brother is good to experience,” she said.

Maria continued: “Big brother has not only helped me on the personal level but also on the business side of life. I have been selected to emcee shows and I have done a lot of appearances back home. Things that I would have not done if I had not gone to Big Brother, you understand. Definitely Big Brother did me good; whether I get the money or not. I am in Ghana now but I would not have come here if not because of Big Brother.”

But on the negative side she said, “I have pictures of me with obviously my boobs all over the place. Basically the most negative thing that has happened. But it is ok. I have pretty boobs and I don’t really mind. People can look and admire it. That’s all they can do anyways.”

However, she said she was aware of it before entering the Big Brother House. “I missed the money but I will make that money. I was obviously disappointed when I was evicted. But also I felt I was there for five weeks and I did what I have to do and so I move on. I really feel I did my country and myself proud.”

Maria Nepembe

Maria was born at Ondangwa village in the northern part of Namibia and grew up with her mum. Her dad passed away when she was eight years old. At the age of four, she was moved the city to have better education. After high school, she enrolled at the University of Namibia where she read Public Relations.

Later, she relocated to Germany for two and half years to experience different cultures. But she returned to Namibia to work in her country. She worked with TV and radio stations and also dabbled in modelling. Maria is the ambassador for the Kiyola Media Group and the High Definition Hair Boutique. She is one of Namibia’s most influential people in the fashion and entertainment industry.

She is a household name in her country. She has modelled for many of Namibia’s big fashion designers such as Chakkira Claasen, Mc Bright Kavari, Kishwa, Amakeya, Modella, Nikola Conradie and David Tlale from South Africa. She has participated in beauty pageants such as Miss University Africa 2011 held in Bayelsa State Nigeria, where she was crowned first runner-up, and Miss Namibia 2012, where she made it into the top five finalists.

She said she saw the advert about Big Brother and decided to challenge herself; hence she went on the platform which is beamed to millions of TV audiences across Africa.

By Francis Addo

Ghanaian veteran presenter and artiste manager Jay Foley has been appointed by Nokia to represent Ghana as part of the panel of Judges for the Nokia Asha ‘Don’t Break Da Beat’ (DBDB) contest.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Jay Foley admitted that he was highly honoured by the opportunity to represent Ghana on the panel of Judges.

“Hard work pays off and first of all I am very excited just for the fact that I got the recognition to lead the troops for us to go bring the $20,000 to Ghana. Secondly another thing that excites me is the fact that we have a major brand like Nokia stepping in to create opportunity for rappers. I’m that kind of person who is always looking out for new talent to push out there,” the General Manager for YFM, Jay Foley stated.

Interested contestants are to submit their rap lines from now till September 7, which should include three key features – WhatsApp, Dual SIM and Wi-fi- from Nokia’s new Asha 210 Dual SIM phone, via an entry form which can be found on the DBDB tab on the Nokia Ghana Facebook page.

“Just for the fact that Nokia has stepped in I know it is going to make the work little bit easier and that really excites me. We are definitely looking out for the best of the best in Ghana and we are going to take them to Nigeria and bring out the cash prize. Thank you Nokia for trusting my prejudgment, I really appreciate it and let us change the face of Ghana in this industry. We know Nigerians try and take some steps in the music, movie industry and all but this is the chance for Ghana to make it big in the areas we find ourselves,” Jay added.

According to David Anku, Retail and Customer Marketing manager for Nokia Ghana the DBDB contest which is open exclusively to rappers from Ghana and Nigeria is out to search for rappers who will be able to put together good rap lines which include the three key features from Nokia’s new Asha 210 Dual SIM phone.

“Over the course of the next three months, judges working both in Ghana and Nigeria will prune the contestants down to 100 contestants. This final squad will subsequently send in audio messages of their best lines. Based on the judging, this list will be further reduced after two more rounds to four contestants for the grand finale in Lagos, Nigeria. The mode of judging will include voting by the general public,” said Mr Anku.

To add to the whooping $20,000 cash prize, organisers of the event say the winner of the Nokia DBDB contest will also get a coaching session in the US with a recognized US producer.

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh

Praye Honeho, leader of popular music duo, Praye, on Saturday turned down an interview attempt by Peace 104.3 FM, snubbed the station’s presenter who tried to interview him and slammed the phone on him during a live radio programme.

The musician, before slamming the phone, ordered the host, Akwasi Aboagye, on his award winning Entertainment Review show to first play the group’s two newly released singles before calling him back for any interview.

The incident took listeners, the host, his producer and panel members in the studio by surprise but they were in for a greater shock when the musician went ahead and put off his phone when the station tried calling him back.

Praye Honeho’s behaviour was rather surprising because Peace FM had played a pivotal role in making the group popular. The station’s morning show host, Kwame Sefa Kayi was instrumental in using his ‘Kokorkoo’ morning show to popularise Praye’s songs by playing them on every single edition of his show for several months unending.

Speaking on the station’s Entertainment Review on Saturday, leader of group Eugene Baah stated categorically that he was not ready to speak to anyone from the said station until he heard their new singles being played by the station.

Akwasi Aboagye, host of the show, who was seeking to clarify rumours that the music group, made up of Praye Tiatia-Big J and Praye Honeho-Eugene Baah, was on the verge of splitting because Praye Honeho believed Big J’s sweetheart, Selly, and her behaviour at the Big Brother Africa reality show, had brought shame and disrepute on the Praye brand, was however greeted with a sharp pinch.

“By your God’s grace and your insults I’m fine. Three weeks ago, we dropped some two singles- Forever Gone and Assemblyman-, let your producer find those two songs and play them right now. When you finish playing them, you can call me back,” Praye Honeho told Akwesi Aboagye before dropping the call.

But Eugene Sarfo Nkansah, producer of the show quickly noted on the show that the singles which Praye Honeho was talking about, were nowhere to be found; meaning the group had not even dropped their CD with Peace FM.

Even though some sympathizers of the group have, in their defence, stated that perhaps Praye Honeho was not in the right frame of mind, resulting in his rudeness on radio, others also believed that it was a deliberate act to get the station to play the group’s songs on air.

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
Popular YFM presenter and manager of Sarkodie, Sammy Forson allegedly received some thrashing in a brawl between him and an unnamed photographer after Channel O News’ live recording last Sunday at the Silver Towers in Accra.

Even though Sammy’s friends on YFM said he was just slapped, an eyewitness told Francis Addo he was rather handed a single heavy punch which landed him on the floor.

He interestingly did not reply after he got up. As if he was fleeing for his dear life, he reached for his phone to make a call; an obvious indication that he was calling for back up.

The incident which took place at the Silver Star Towers car park occurred some few minutes after the fastest rapper and BET award winner, Sarkodie had driven out.

Eyewitnesses said the fight started after Sammy allegedly insulted the photographer whose car somewhat blocked Sarkodie’s car, preventing him from moving out of the car park.

Sammy allegedly banged the photographer’s car with his hand while ordering him to move it.

Immediately the photographer moved his car forward, Sarkodie drove out and left Sammy behind.

The photographer then decided to inquire from Sammy why he banged his car, as Sarkodie could have blown his horn for him to move it.

But he was unfortunately greeted with insults, as Sammy went on to ask him if the car park belonged to his father.

“Your father,” Sammy allegedly yelled at the photographer who got angry and decided to engage Sammy physically.

Four security men allegedly tried to stop him but they could not until he got to Sammy and landed him a blow which got the man on the floor. Meanwhile, the identity of the photographer is yet to be uncovered.

By Francis Addo
Chief Executive of Ghanaian record label Bull Haus Entertainment, Bull Dog has urged local television stations to support, promote and encourage local TV production.

Lawrence Nana Asiama Hanson as he is called in real life is one of the industry players who have the view that if the amount of foreign content especially movies and soap operas are not reduced drastically on our local television stations, Ghanaians would eventually lose their legacy.

“The television stations should just support these young writers and producers.

Some of these people have series with nice storylines and beautiful concepts behind them which they can easily adopt, start showing and when people get interested, they can walk into any cooperate organization and seek for sponsorships but then if that production is not being aired, the investor doesn’t see it as a viable venture to invest their money in,” Bull Dog stated in an exclusive interview with Nii Ogbamey Tetteh.

Some programme managers in some of these television stations have also stated that they air these foreign soap operas because that is what the masses yearn for.

“It is not like Ghanaians enjoy these soap operas on our local TV stations but sometimes entertainment is brainwashing; what you feed me is what I get into so if we don’t push out the local stuff  it will continue to seem like we are enjoying the foreign content which, in fact, we are not,” Bull Dog said.

“Now what do we see on TV, some Mexican or Italian cheap thrash they call telenovelas. Back in the days, when the TV stations were showing the Sunset Beach and The Bold and the Beautiful among others, they were also showing Things We Do For Love, Inspector Bediako, Tentacles and the rest as well. But, Ghanaians loved and enjoyed the local productions better.”

According to the outspoken Bull Dog, it is a big indictment on the heads of those TV stations who will rather go and download what he calls ‘trash’ telenovelas for free, which in the long run will brainwash the young ones.

“It is sad we don’t’ appreciate what we have.

We are killing ourselves slowly with these telenovelas and foreign soap operas.

If the National Media Commission and the National Communication Authority can put together a regulation which says that the content of all local TV stations should be 80 percent local stuff and only 20 foreign, perhaps it could solve the problem.”

He therefore attributed most for societal vices to the foreign content being aired on our television stations.

“Our generation and the ones after them would be much better if they wake up to see local productions which tell the Ghanaian story and teach the Ghanaian values.”

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
Chief Executive of Slip Music, Mark Okraku Mantey, has sounded a strong warning to the president of the Musicians Union of Ghana, Bice Obour Osei Kuffour, against using the proceeds of the union’s Ageing Musicians Welfare Fund (AMWef) to satisfy the selfish needs of his executives and himself.

The Union under the leadership of Obour last Friday launched the fund to assist both the young and aged musicians in their various developmental projects.

“Obour, I’m talking to you, If you don’t know and you use these aged men and women to make money, I will never forgive you because the promise you have made to them, If you don’t know and I hear that you guys have turned this fund into your business and these old people are seen to be suffering, I will never forgive you,” Mark Okraku Mantey warned on a panel discussion on Peace fm’s Entertainment Review.

Even though Obour had earlier explained on the show that the AMWef would register and organize members of MUSIGA who are 60 years and above for a common purpose of assisting musicians financially or in kind, during severe illness or death and to compile their musical works and market them to support the artistes and the Fund, Okraku Mantey still insists that he knows that there is a venom which is spreading within the Union with regards to money.

“The venom which affects you people when you start something new and towards the end it messes up, will not affect you guys this time,” Okraku Mantey noted.

He therefore advised the MUSIGA boss to involve all his executives in his decision making, since most of the time, Obour is the only one heard and seen speaking about MUSIGA issues.

“I have a problem with the fact that you are seen fronting everything related to MUSIGA. The rest of the executives are not seen. Is it that they are not performing well, or you seem to be taking all the fans and you enjoy leading and want to be seen at affairs?” Mark quizzed.

The fund known as Ageing Musicians Welfare Fund (AMWeF) which would be managed by First Banc would work to improve the living standards of members and musicians in general.

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
Renowned Ghanaian Movie producer and director Socrates Safo has said that the recent influx of foreign content—movies and soap opera—on our local television stations, will cause an inevitable catastrophe if not attended to.

Speaking to Nii Ogbamey Tetteh, the controversial ‘Hot Fork’ producer admitted that currently “we are losing our identity us Ghanaians as a result of the increasing number of Mexican, Spanish and Latino telenovelas being shown on our TV stations”.

“It is just unfortunate that we have come to this point where we are seeing the decline in local production and it is very dangerous. This is a reflection of what the powers that be, who are supposed to think for the nation, are doing. It tells you that they are not thinking right in terms of the industry because when you leave the system for everybody to do what they want, a whole lot of things will be done,” Socrates said.

According to Socrates what was being aired on TV now is a form of infiltration of foreign culture which is gradually taking over the Ghanaian culture “and as a nation, when you lose your culture then it means you have lost your identity and it very dangerous.”

“These Telenovelas that we see on our screens were shot about five or six years ago. The producers have made their money already so it comes as cheap as sometimes $20 per episode. A lot of the stations don’t even pay for them; some even download them from the internet for free. So they don’t see why they should partner Ghanaian producers to come out with something that talks more about our culture,” he said.

He further urged the authorities to put in place laws that will ensure that majority of the content of these local TV stations were local based.

“We have so many television stations which is as a result of the fact that we have opened the airwaves but where is the regulation that is governing the airwaves?” he quizzed, adding that “there is no law governing the airwaves. All they did was to open a licensing department and they have regulations about licensing but there is no legislature for operation. Anyone who wants to dispute it should come out and give me that legislature.”

Ghana in the past produced some very educative and entertaining TV series including ‘Things we do Love’, ‘Ultimate Paradise’, ‘Inspector Bediako’, ‘Taxi Driver’ among others. But now it appears these Ghanaian productions have gone extinct.

“Now, it is economically suicidal for you as a Ghanaian producer to do a local television series because the TV stations are not ready to fund such projects. Also if you manage to get sponsors, some of them turn not to honour the contract you signed with them. Most of these stations are just selling their airtime and they are prepared to do whatever it takes including turning away local production for these foreign ones.”

Socrates Safo is currently putting together a new television series called ‘The Game’ which sources say will be telecast solely on UTV.

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh

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About Me

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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