Entertainment roundup: Stories that made headlines for the week

From Former EC Chair Charlotte Osei being installed as ‘Safohen’ to Stonebwoy putting TGMA on the same level as Grammys and BET, read a roundup of the most captivating storylines in entertainment this week

The entertainment world has seen a lot of events this week, including reports of Blakk Rasta refusing US citizenship from Barack Obama, the birthday celebration of renowned Ghanaian photographer James Barnor and Kanye West’s lawsuit for harassment from an ex-assistant.

Read below for all we gathered in the world of entertainment this week:

Obama wanted me to be a US citizen, but I said no – Blakk Rasta

For Blakk Rasta, accepting American citizenship would have meant abandoning his responsibilities to Ghana.

“When Obama came to Ghana he offered me the opportunity to become an American citizen, but I told him that when I accept to be an American citizen, God will punish me.

“Because God brought me to Ghana and I should do all that I can to fix this country in my small way so if i run to stay in America,  God will whip me that day.

“I decided that no i won’t so if i have refused all these just to stay in the country i must talk and i have to talk or else there’s no need to stay in the country,” he stated.

He added, “Most of our problems are from the politicians because for them a call to service is a call to looting such that you’ve been called to help develop the country, but you are just stealing. That is why I’m angry because I have young children, and when I watch them sleeping, it hurts me that they’ll grow and come and inherit this suck economy. Sick country and everyone is running away to travel abroad”.

Former EC chair Charlotte Osei installed as ‘Safohen’

Charlotte Osei, former chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), has been appointed Safohen of Nkum Asafo Group #4.

A Facebook post on 8 June by the former EC chair suggests her stool name as Safohen Nana Ama Kesson.

She will lead the Nkum Asafo group 4 as a warrior at the Fetu Oguaa Afahye Festival in September of this year.

In a Facebook post, Charlotte Osei was pictured dressed as a Queen Mother and holding a whip, a symbol of leadership.

Fetu Afahye is an annual festival celebrated by the people and chiefs of Cape Coast Traditional Area in the Central Region of Ghana.

Africa Cinema Summit to be held in Accra 7 October

The National Film Authority (NFA), in partnership with Silverbird Cinemas, has officially launched the second edition of the Africa Cinema Summit 2024 in Accra, Ghana.

The event, under the theme, “The relevance of cinema in African communities”, will take place from the 7 to 10 October 2024, at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra and will feature over 20 African countries.

The event aims to facilitate critical discussions on the cinema landscape in Africa.

Speaking at the launch, the deputy minister of tourism, arts, and culture, Mark Okraku Mantey called for support from film industry stakeholders to push for a tax waiver to alleviate the industry’s economic burdens.

He said, “I pray that the industry will show interest. It is not only a Juliet Asante (CEO of NFA) conversation. When you get the opportunity as industry practitioners, support the advocacy. So, it doesn’t become like she works for the government…

“Because I’m not sure she will be the beneficiary. It is the industry that will benefit. So, everybody should join,” Mantey added.

Meanwhile, NFA board chair David Dontoh highlighted the need to organise such summits.

He emphasised, “If you want to see what we do as a people, there are so many means and communication media that we use to see ourselves. With our raw eyes, and the one that we capture and especially for film, which actually goes a very long way and stays for so many years.

“It is important for us to understand that Africa Cinema Summit has come like the minister said to document our culture and everything about us,” Dontoh added.

He also highlighted, “So that when we are not there, these seeds that we are sowing today will generate for succeeding generations to know and understand, that there lived in this country some people who took particular interest in the development of the film industry.”

Season 2 of Nigerian film ‘Anikulapo’ to be shot in Ghana

In line with the National Film Authority’s (NFA) “Shoot in Ghana” initiative to make Ghana a hub of movie production, a part of the Season 2 of award winning Nigerian movie, Anikulapo will be filmed in Ghana.

The movie producer, Kunle Afolayan made the disclosure at the recently held Nigeria International Film and TV Summit (NIFS) held in Cannes, France with various film industry gurus and media personalities in attendance.

The chief executive officer of Ghana’s National Film Authority, has been instrumental in lobbying for African Film makers to come to Ghana to shoot.

Miss Asante who brokered the deal was also at the summit. She pointed out that shooting a part of season 2 of Anikulapo in Ghana will revive and enhance the film relationship between Ghana and Nigeria.

“This is an important development. The shooting of parts of Anikulapo in Ghana is a good opportunity to revive and enhance the film relationship between Ghana and Nigeria. Both countries stand to gain greatly from collaborating deeply and exploring each other’s markets and strengths,” she said.

Anikulapo, which is Kunle Afolayan’s production in partnership with Netflix, was produced and shot by world renowned cinematographer Jonathan Kovel in 2022.

It was produced and shot on 40 acres of land with all infrastructure and buildings all built from scratch to suit the production while also intending to make it a film village. The film has received many awards including winning the Overall Best Movie in Africa at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards last year.

The #Shoot in Ghana# campaign was launched two years ago and has seen many successes, including the much talked about Super Bowl advert released in February this year. Shooting Anikulapo will add to its initiative’s growing commitment.

James Barnor @ 95: the photographer who captures the spirit of Ghana

James Barnor, who was born in 1929 in Accra, has spent more than 70 years recording the spirit and character of his native land (the Gold Coast/Ghana) and the black diaspora.

Barnor’s career began in the 1940s when he opened his own studio in Accra. He quickly gained a reputation for skill and creativity.

He is celebrating his 95th birthday today (6 June 2024). To honour Barnor and to mark this milestone, the James Barnor at 95 Festival is taking place across Ghana, featuring a full programme of exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and concerts.

This festival not only celebrates Barnor’s contributions to the history and growth of photography but also aims to make a lasting impact on Ghana’s arts and culture.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ghana Club in Accra last Friday (31 May), Barnor said: “I decided to celebrate my 95th anniversary in Ghana. That’s why we are all here.”

He said, “This is not just a birthday but to provide an occasion where Ghanaians will be involved in my work – so if at 95 I leave, there’s something that people can start working on.”

“So, we are putting everything in this to make it a festival, not just an exhibition or just a birthday. I don’t feel it as a birthday: I feel it as an occasion where Ghanaians will get to know what they can do, and start from there,” he added.

“I’m not the only photographer from Ghana: there were photographers before me.

I was instrumental in discovering Celestine Donkor, says Fredyma

The legendary music producer and entertainment pundit Fred Kyei Mensah, popularly known as Fredyma, has said he once wanted to become a medical doctor.

The chief executive officer of Fredyma Studio, who has helped discover many talents, including Appietus and Celestine Donkor, recently disclosed that he has never been honoured with an award for his work as a music producer, even after 38 years in the business.

Speaking on the Asaase Breakfast Show on Wednesday (5 June), Fredyma said: “I wanted to become a medical doctor.

“I had a cousin who was working in Ghana Airways then: Fred Taylor. He wanted to take me to medical school after my sixth form but unfortunately money was the problem.

“So, I had to work with Shell as a fuel station manager.

“If you look at my background, I come from Agogo in the Ashanti Region. FortunatelyAmakye Dede is my direct uncle.

“When I went to Prempeh College, I was in the school choir with Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh. That is where my interest in music grew,” Kyei Mensah said.

Kanye West sued for harassment by ex-assistant

Kanye West is being sued for sexual harassment, breach of contract and wrongful termination by a woman who worked as his assistant for two years.

In a lawsuit, Lauren Pisciotta alleges the star sent her lewd texts and performed sex acts while on the phone with her, according to US media.

She claims she was fired in 2022, but that a US$3 million (£2.4 million) severance package was never paid.

The BBC has contacted West’s lawyer for a response to her allegations, but has yet to receive a reply.

The lawsuit was first reported in the US by TMZ, and later confirmed by Rolling Stone, The Wrap and US Weekly, which says court papers were filed on Monday in the US.

The BBC has so far been unable to verify the filing.

According to the documents, Pisciotta was primarily supporting herself via an OnlyFans profile in 2021 when she met West.

She says he hired her to work on the first season of his Yeezy women’s fashion line, and they ended up collaborating on three tracks from his Donda album (Pisciotta does not have any formal credits on the record, however).

West subsequently hired Pisciotta as his personal assistant, with an annual salary of $1 million (£780,000), on the condition that she was available “24-7”. She says she agreed to the terms.

Lauren Pisciotta says she had 15 years’ experience in the music industry before working with West

According to her lawsuit, West was initially comfortable with her continuing her OnlyFans business. However, in 2022, he allegedly stated that he wanted Pisciotta to be “God like” and asked her to delete her account in exchange for a further US$1 million.

After she closed the account, she claims she was bombarded with explicit text messages from West, including pornographic videos.

Pisciotta also claims he masturbated while talking to her on the phone and that, on one occasion, he pleasured himself in front of her after “trapping” her in a private room on his plane.

Around September 2022, she was promoted to Chief of Staff for his various companies, but was abruptly fired soon afterwards, her lawsuit claims. Her severance package was allegedly never paid.

In addition to sexual harassment, breach of contract, and wrongful termination, Pisciotta is also suing West and his Yeezy businesses for fraud, unpaid wages, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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