Popular Ghanaian creative personality, Kwame Ametepee Tsikata known professionally as M.anifest has urged African citizens to contribute to the change they want to see in their communities.
The musician said at Howard University in the United States of America;
“Africans, especially Ghanaians seem to always complain about the challenges they are facing but contribute little to solve these problems”.M.anifest
According to him, many Africans, particularly those who live or have lived abroad, feel entitled and complain about almost everything while contributing nothing or very little to the improvement of lives in this part of the world.
“If you move to a place with a colonial agenda, you will be disappointed… There is something about living in the West and when you come back to Africa, you start to have a colonial gaze, the sense of entitlement, you are always upset with everything[less development] and you have to check yourself, what have you contributed?”M.anifest
He said it is true that many African countries are underdeveloped and going through lots of challenges, but instead of always complaining and throwing more light on the problems, citizens should rather focus on what they can contribute to improve lives and change the narrative.
The prolific rap artist believes that Africa can only be a better place if there is togetherness with ideas and investment to ensure that an enabling environment is created for Black people to feel comfortable in their respective countries.
He gave a scenario of the change he has seen in Ghana since he returned from the United States of America over a decade ago.
“When I came to Ghana, there were a lot of people who went to school overseas, and anytime we wished to see or have something, one of us would make it happen, from festivals, big restaurants, and among others, so it has been incredible what has been built within the past decade, both culturally and physically. That’s the possibility I am talking about”.M.anifest
He, therefore, urged young Africans to focus on the contributions they make towards making tomorrow better for those are the legacies they leave behind.
M.anifest delivers talk on Hip-hop culture at Howard University
To mark the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, various events ranging from concerts, symposia, competitions, and exhibitions, among others are being held across the world to honor the impact and influence of Hip Hop culture.
One such event was held in Washington D.C at Howard University, a partnership between its Centre for African Studies and the School of Business.
Ghanaian hip-hop star M.anifest was invited to the campus of the prestigious Historically Black College and University (HBCU) as a special guest to share his thoughts on a range of issues including the evolution of the art form.
As legend has it, hip-hop was birthed in 1973 at a party in the Bronx, New York. The music genre has evolved into a culture that has transcended the United States and its influence can be found in many other forms of contemporary music from around the world, including in Africa.
M.anifest began his independent professional career in the U.S. and was heavily influenced by the early 2000s scene in Minneapolis. Upon returning to Ghana though, he carved out his own lane and has become known as one of the continent’s finest lyricists.
The Howard University Centre for African Studies describes him as ‘one of the few mainstream artists to produce socially conscious hip-hop in West Africa’.
In the conversation moderated by Milen (Mili) Mehari, a second-year Ph.D. student in the African Studies Department, M.anifest touched on class struggle in Ghana as seen through the prism of his song ‘No Shortcut To Heaven’, the impact of Hip Hop on the current generation of African creators, the possibilities and challenges of the beyond the return agenda being advanced by the Ghanaian government among many other topics.
In attendance at the talk was the Provost of Howard, Dr. Anthony Wutoh, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, Prof. Jasmine Young of the Warner/Blavatnik Center for Music and Entertainment Business, and Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return secretariat to name a few.
Speaking on the experience of leading a discourse on the 50th anniversary of hip-hop culture at Howard University M.anifest wrote:
“Had a very inspired conversation at Howard University. Correct people, correct energy, thought-provoking questions in a wonderful space that honours blackness and excellence”M.anifest