March 22, 2017 - Multi-platinum selling independent recording artist, Fuse ODG visited Ashesi to share his campaign of retelling the African story in a positive light. Born to Ghanaian parents in the United Kingdom, Fuse was raised in Ghana up until high school, where he moved back to the UK. It was in this phase in his life that his race as a black African became apparent to him.
“When I moved back to London, I soon came to realize that I was black African,” he said. “For the first time in my life, I had to fit in a category, and soon learned that there was a certain perception assigned to each category. Growing up, the perception of Africa was terrible - the Western media had shown only one side of the story –one of poverty, suffering and war. Sadly, this affected me to the point where I began to lose myself as an African, so I could fit in.”
Speaking to a cross-section of students, the afro-beat singer shared his journey through dealing with stereotypes in high school, to eventually embracing music as medium to start a revolution against the status quo.
“As I got older I realized that I needed to go back to who I was; I had to embrace my culture, and by coming back to Ghana, I was able to appreciate Ghana,” explained Fuse. “I was able to see things differently: I appreciated the growing music scene and the incredible level of talent. I saw things that before had not been clear to me.”
Since coming onto the music scene, Fuse has achieved sustained success, garnering a strong following in Ghana and in the UK. His musical success has also been buoyed by his campaign to help re-define the world’s perception of Africa, its people and its diaspora.
“We need to change the perception of the continent and the perception of Ghana,” he concluded. “We need to make that child who leaves Ghana to go elsewhere, feel proud of who he is. He can't lose himself in his journey of life. We need to produce our own content and media to attract people to our communities. We need to promote self-love and promote love for our community. Promoting love for nation is key to this. With love, you will fight and protect anything.”
Fuse ODG’s talk at Ashesi formed part of the mission of Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (HACSA), a non-governmental civil society organization focused on working to raise awareness about the protection and preservation of African history, heritage and culture.
“Africa is a great place, with great people with great experiences,” shared Ambassador Johanna O. Svanikier, Founder and President of HACSA and formerly Ghana’s ambassador to France. “The story about Africa is a wrong one – it lacks balance. While there is poverty, and suffering, I also see laughter, life, rhythm and joy, so we felt bringing Fuse ODG over to Ashesi was important for him to reach out to young people with his story and mission to tell a different story of Africa.”
As part of the visit, HACSA presented Ashesi’s Library with a book by pioneering Ghana photographer, James Barnor.