It’s Independence Day in Ghana right now (March 6…they’re four hours ahead), and 16 days til GMGE (Ghanaian Music//Global Entrepreneurship) kicks off. So far, my spring break has been filled with phone calls and emails preparing for the symposium – gathering a film team, booking a sound and light crew, ordering t-shirts, getting Ghanaian food catered, etc. etc. I hope everyone else’s break is much more fabulous… But it will all be worth it in 16 days when GMGE begins.
For me, GMGE started because V.I.P. and F.O.I., two of Ghana’s top HipLife music groups, were going on a U.S. tour kicking off in New York. Their manager in Accra said, “Hey, why don’t you organize a program for V.I.P. in the states like you did in Ghana this summer?” I laughed, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea.
This past summer, I teamed up with two Nima artists, Musah Swallah and Yussif Larry Aminu, to organize the community art workshop program Nima Muhinmanchi Art (NMA). NMA provides creative and vocational opportunities to JHS students in Nima, Accra, where V.I.P. and F.O.I. are from. The Boogie Down Nima crew (that’s their record label) joined on as supporters and came out to our exhibition opening. This December, after V.I.P. officially announced their U.S. tour, I stumbled upon Paapa, another brilliant Ghanaian musical artist and student at Reed College, when I saw his song “Pure Water” on Facebook. I contacted him about leading workshops for NMA, and he not only agreed but signed on as Creative Director. The more I worked with these artists, the more I realized how their work connects with ideas of global entrepreneurship: through the use of digital media, social networking, and creative PR strategies. While diverse in musical style, they all engage in innovative entrepreneurial practices to attract a global audience. They respond to an era of fast globalization by harnessing new digital media and channeling music as movement.
The ideas fit, and I set about organizing GMGE. The more I reached out, the more other people on campus wanted to be involved. GMGE has fast evolved into a tri-college effort with students and community members spearheading all kinds of initiatives: workshops, websites, mashups, film, photography, graphic design. Watch this page to see what’s coming….