Accra, Ghana – July 25, 2023 – The Ghana Tourism Authority as part of the Beyond the Return project has successfully hosted another edition of the ‘Return Conversations’ on July 25, 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre. Themed ‘Role of Film and Music in Uniting Global Africans,’ the event brought together key stakeholders and luminaries from the music and film industries in Ghana and the United States, sparking thought-provoking discussions and fostering unity and interconnectedness among Global Africans.
The event featured captivating panel discussions, expertly facilitated by industry leaders and engaging speakers. The conversations delved into the ways in which film and music play a pivotal role in unifying Global Africans and fostering mutual growth and prosperity. This year hip-hop artist Ludacris came to Ghana and worked with local artists including Sarkodie to produce new music. Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Popcaan have all worked with local Ghanaian artists to make music that shines a spotlight on our local talents.
Most recently the film ‘Coming to Africa: Welcome to Ghana’ opened at Silverbird in Accra and Kumasi. One of the panelists, PY Addo-Boateng, was a producer and actor in the movie. The film was an example of the fruits of collaborative efforts between the diaspora and Ghanaians in the film industry.
The event showcased an exceptional lineup of speakers, each making significant contributions to their respective fields.
- Jason Carter: CEO, ONE Music Festival. He is a visionary leader with over 20 years of lifestyle marketing and business start-up experience. Carter is the founder of the One Music Festival and is renowned for fostering collaboration and cultural exchange between artists worldwide.
- Jasmine Young: Director, Warner Music, and Blavatnik Center for Music Business – An influential figure in the music industry, advocating for artists’ rights and innovative music strategies.
- Trigmatic: Renowned Musician and supporter of arts and culture. The celebrated Ghanaian musician uses his music as a powerful tool to address social issues.
- Rocky Dawuni: Multiple Grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist. Dawuni, a critically acclaimed Ghanaian music icon, consistently advocates for the betterment of society and addresses environmental and social causes through the power of music.
- PY Addo-Boateng: Music Executive, Film Producer, Actor, and Event Producer. A multifaceted creative force contributing significantly to the entertainment industry in Africa.
- Robert Hardy: Film and TV Director, Film Producer, and Screenwriter. A seasoned professional with an impressive body of work in the film industry.
- Juliet Ibrahim: Multiple award-winning Actress, Film Producer, Author, and Entrepreneur. A talented artist with notable contributions to the film and entertainment industry in both Ghana and Nigeria.
- Ama K. Abebrese: Award-winning Actress, TV Presenter, and Producer. An accomplished performer and television personality with a passion for storytelling.
- Socrate Safo: Director, Filmmaker, and Director for Creative Arts at the National Commission on Culture. A prominent figure in Ghana’s film industry, advocating for the development of creative arts.
- AJ Johnson: Veteran Actress, TV Producer, Life Coach, and Philanthropist. Widely recognized for her roles in the movies ‘House Party’ and ‘Baby Boy’, Johnson is a multifaceted personality dedicated to empowering others and making a positive impact. Her passion for bridging the gap between Ghana and the diaspora is unwavering.
With so many platforms around the world expressing more interest in African content, the time is now for Ghana to work towards building an industry that can make a global impact. Partnering with the diaspora is one of the ways to develop and increase our reach to audiences. “I see the potential for greatness in our music and film industries,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return Secretariat. “The diaspora and Ghanaians can come together to tell some of the great stories from Africans and African Americans. Although we have some cultural differences due to being on different continents, we have so much more in common than we realize. This makes for great potential when it comes to storytelling in a unique way.”
” The Return Conversations is a gathering of minds where we embark on a journey to Bridge the gap. In a world that often divides is, this platform has opened up opportunities for us to use story-telling and the universal language of Music to unite us and celebrate our rich heritage” , said Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
The event was a success as stakeholders in the film and music industry were in attendance including young up and coming artists who were there to network and learn from seasoned professionals. The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture was the special guest. Other attendees included Juliet Asante, CEO of the National Film Authority , Seth Adjei Baah , Board chair of GTA.
Beyond the Return Campaign – A Decade of African Renaissance
The event was part of Beyond the Return’s continued efforts since 2020 to connect with the diaspora community in the arts and business. The Beyond the Return campaign is a 10-year initiative with the theme, ‘A decade of African Renaissance.’ It operates under the Ghana Tourism Authority and is the follow-up to the successful Year of Return campaign in 2019, which witnessed an overwhelming response from the global African diaspora to come back to Ghana. The purpose of such events is to find ways to work together towards a common goal of building stronger connections in business, film, music, and entertainment overall. The talents in Ghana and the diaspora have the power to come together and create something great, and it all begins with dialogues where collective goals and visions can be forged.
For more information on the Beyond the Return campaign, please visit the website: www.beyondthereturngh.com.