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CELEBRATING A PACESETTER, DENNIS TAWIAH OF THE AKWAABA GROUP

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From pushing for the culture to be recognized in the United Kingdom and across the rest of Europe to organizing football matches for Ghana’s senior national team, the Black Stars, he has the “godfather” status and can best be described as an embodiment of entertainment in every sense of the word.

He needs no introduction when it comes to the organization and promotion of African events across Europe. Popularly known as Radical Dee within the entertainment circles, Dennis Tawiah was a member of the then popular and most sought after London based entertainment group of Disc Jockeys and event organizers, 90% HITSQAD.

Born in Osu, Ghana on 14th May 1970, Dennis Tawiah had his elementary education in Ghana at the Achimota Primary School. He played colts football for Osu Standfast and Team Harbour City before relocating to the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. In London, he attended the \Stoke Newington Secondary then went on to take professional courses in marketing.

Mr. Tawiah is credited with championing the African culture through entertainment and regarded as the most prominent African promoter across Europe. After severing ties with 90%, he went on to establish Akwaaba UK which transitioned into The Akwaaba Group (TAP), a full scale Entertainment Solution and Marketing Communications company.

Akwaaba UK has been the power behind some of the biggest and annually held African events in Europe for over the last two decades including the prestigious Miss Ghana UK beauty pageant, Ghana Independence Celebrations and Party in the Park, an outdoor family fun festival.

On Saturday 10th November 2012 at the Park Plaza Hotel in London, Mr. Tawiah was presented with a Special Achievement Award by the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) to appreciate his contribution to the promotion of the African entertainment industry within the diaspora.

In 2010, he was awarded with Outstanding Achievement by the Ghana High Commission in the United Kingdom and received Special Recognition by the Ghana Community in the UK and African Pride Awards in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Recently, he received Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2020 3Music Awards.

In our conversation over the weekend, he explained the rationale for quitting disc jockeying to start promotions and event management. “After being a DJ for almost 15 years, I felt I had done a lot in the DJ circuit and was ready to try something new. I decided to try promotions to see what it would be like to organize events from scratch, so I started off with organizing and promoting my own events”, he indicated.

In as much as it was a business, Mr. Tawiah was very much driven by passion when he started with Akwaaba UK. Responding to my question about what he set out to do with Akwaaba UK from its inception, he said “my objective has always been to bring people together and to entertain people. The whole setup of Akwaaba UK was to make sure I fulfill my objective of entertaining and unifying people. When this is done, then of course the business will follow”.

Mr. Tawiah recounted some of the challenges he experienced on his journey. “Initially, it was very difficult to get very good venues for African shows, the processes, restrictions and the limitations were a huge disincentive. I remember when I wanted to bring Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Nana Acheampong, Amakye Dede, Nana Tuffuor, AB Crenstil, Lee Doudo and Teddy Osei to London several years ago, the radio stations I had contacted for the promotions had a policy which didn’t allow for African music in the radio advert as it wasn’t mainstream. So guess what, I had to just use the voice without any music in the background for the radio advert”, he revealed.

A good number of Ghanaian musicians including Lord Kenya, Mzbel, Sydney, Daasebre Gyamena, VIP, Samini, Ofori Amponsah, KK Fosu, Kofi Nti, Kontihene, Obuor, Praye and Sarkodei were flown to the United Kingdom by Akwaaba UK for their first international performances. In recent times, Mr. Eazi, Kidi, Kuami Eugene, King Promise, Kelvin Boy, Kwesi Authur, and Quamena MP have all performed on Akwaaba UK events.

I enquired how he feels being in the entertainment industry for over two decades, does he regret it? “Honestly, I have enjoyed it and there is nothing better than doing what you enjoy doing best. It feels great to have been doing this for over two decades, the sort of relationships I have built, the persons I have encountered and worked with and the amazing experience is priceless. I have no regrets and will gladly continue doing it with the very special feeling that comes with it”, he added.

At a point, Dennis became the go-to person when it had to do with getting an interview, business discussions, negotiations and any form of engagement with then Ghanaian international footballer, Michael Essien alongside several other African soccer stars in Europe. We spoke about that chapter of his life and how he got himself in football.

“So I missed an opportunity to sign for the youth side of my darling club in my youthful days, which is Arsenal, due to an injury. I have always followed football after that disappointment and been involved in the game in various ways. I was organizing Ghanaian fans to matches of the national teams around Europe. I had close relations with the Ghana Football Association and presented a request to organize matches with was accepted. With my team, we organized some very crucial matches for the Ghana Black Stars against England, Australia, Jamaica, Nigeria, Brazil, Senegal and Mexico”.

Three things which have accounted for his success, according to Mr. Tawiah are “doing what you love to do the most is very important and has been very key to my success. Also, we need to look at putting in the needed work at all times which will result in the desired results. There is no shortcut to success than putting in the work. Lastly, I will urge people to believe in the process and nothing else. Success does not come over night but rather it is working smart and consistent”.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Tawiah said “the African sound has the attention of the world at the moment and it’s important we fully capitalize on this to the benefit of our industry and its players”.

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Lifestyle

Selassie Atadika And The Successful Midunu Brand

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Selassie Atadika has built an enviable globally-recognized brand.

The Ghanaian chef is making giant strides with her Midunu brand of luxury Ghanaian chocolates truffles, a direct heed to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s call to ensuring manufacturing finished chocolate products do well both in Ghana and abroad.

Launched recently, it has garnered a lot of traction within the market, placing the brand and Ghana’s cocoa credentials on solid footing.

The hand-crafted chocolate truffles are available to consumers in the United States and Canada. Midunu’s chocolates take you on a journey, blending unique herbs and spices from across the African continent with ethically sourced and produced Ghanaian cocoa.

As a proud African, Selassie’s focus is to ensure that Midunu chocolates first of all are available in Africa with focus especially on Nigeria and South Africa and she hopes to partner with GEPA to push this Proudly Ghanaian brand further internationally.

Born in Ghana, Selassie passion for the culinary arts led her to start a chocolate company. After completing her Master’s degree from Columbia University in International Affairs, Selassie embarked on a decade of humanitarian work through the United Nations throughout Africa.

Inspired by the rich origin stories of the cuisines she encountered and troubled by the injustices that plagued food systems throughout the continent, Selassie set about introducing her “New African Cuisine” to her home in Ghana – bringing local, seasonal, and underutilized ingredients to the forefront in the dishes she creates.

Her culinary approach has caught attention all over the world and granted her international awards and recognition including being a finalist in the 2019 Basque Culinary World Prize, #73 in the Best Chef Awards 2020 and 2021 recipient of the La Liste New Destination Champion Award for Africa.

Despite being the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, very little chocolate is actually produced in Ghana – the vast majority of the cocoa beans are exported to the Western world to be processed and packaged. Selassie saw chocolate as a familiar vehicle to introduce lesser known herbs, spices, and teas from across Africa to conscious customers around the world while creating jobs, supporting local producers, and adding value locally in Ghana.

Each chocolate is expertly crafted by a team of female chocolatiers in Ghana and named after a different African woman – the culinary custodians of the continent. There is “Aicha” – the perfect pairing of an earthy green tea and a refreshing mint drenched in dark chocolate, “Almaz” – a blend of fragrant spices and Ethiopian chilli blend known as berbere, “Kukua” – a white chocolate ganache infused with moringa.

Selassie describes Midunu as her love story to Africa – a means of celebrating and preserving Africa’s culinary heritage. Atadika is one of a handful of local artisanal chocolate maker and chocolatiers who have been working to add value to chocolate in Ghana.

The Midunu Chocolates have stood out internationally and earned Atadika respected publications and appearances in The New York Times, Washington Post, Bon Appetit Magazine, CNN African Voices, The Financial Times, Al, Jazeera, The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), OmVärlden, as well as mentioned in Vogue, National Geographic’s The Plate, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Ebony. Her cuisine has been featured at a State Dinner and the prestigious James Beard Foundation in the US.

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Rison Set To Release A New Song Christened “Aye”

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It’s one thing to be doing music and another thing to tell a story through your sound but having them both volume  the magnitude of the craft.

One artiste undoubtedly carrying both attributes is Rison . Rison is Ghanaian- Nigerian recording artiste, songwriter and a performer based in the USA.

Rison after his latest smash “Nobody has to know “ is back with a new one “AYE” Where he talks about the Reassurance of his love for his woman.

The style of the song is a combination of Afro pop and Afro beat and it was produced by Nektunez. It has the vintage feeling of Fela Kuti and also a newer modern sounds of Burna boy and Wizkid. Which is no surprise since he talks about wizkid having a big influence on his style of music.

The singer has promised his fans more music after “Aye”, In an interview with Mc Coaches of Starbuzz Music he said; “I am always recording, have quite a number of unreleased joints looking for the perfect timing to release them”

The release of AYE is scheduled for Friday May 21st 2021 so music lovers should be on the lookout for another classic from the singer.

Pre-Order “Aye” on all streaming platforms with the link below:

https://starbuzzmusic.lnk.to/Rison-Aye

 

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Lifestyle

Dr. Fauci Gives Recommendation On If Children Should Still Wear Masks

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Children will still need to wear masks while indoors and around others, despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement that fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to do so, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, told CNN Thursday (May 13) that children will still need to wear face protection in public until they are fully vaccinated.

“The children do, when they’re out there playing with their friends and, you know, particularly in an indoor situation they do,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The CDC announced Thursday that fully vaccinated individuals are now safe from becoming infected and from infecting others with coronavirus, however, vaccines for children have not yet been approved.

“But, you know, one of the things that’s also important, that’s happened most recently, is the approval of vaccines for children 12 to 15 years old,” Fauci added. The CDC signed off on using vaccines in that age group Wednesday.

Fauci confirmed vaccine makers are also focusing on younger age groups such as 6-9-year-olds, 2-6-year-olds, infants and toddlers and are expected to reach out to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize or approve vaccinating those age groups soon.

“Then by the end of the year we hope to vaccinate anybody. Right now, the 12- to 15-year-olds can get vaccinated by the Pfizer vaccine,” Fauci said.

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