by michael eli dokosi/www.blakkpepper.com/ghana
When news started filtering in that eccentric Ghanaian act, Charles Nii Mensah better known as Shatta Wale was featured on Beyoncé’s 14 track album The Lion King: The Gift, some were unsure if Queen B indeed recruited the immensely talented yet troublesome music man.
The July, 19 2019 release to accompany The Lion King remake, featured US acts but also several African artists including Nigerian pop stars Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Tekno, Yemi Alade and Burna Boy. Cameroonian artist Salatiel, South African Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly as well as Ghana’s Shatta Wale round up the list.
Wale earned another feather in his cap when news poured forth this year that he was featured in the movie-length (Black Is King) video meant to serve as a companion to the album released by Beyoncé on Disney+.
Black Is King featured other heavyweights spanning Lupita Nyong’o, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé’s children, mother and husband Jay-Z.
It is on the back of these successes that fans of Wale went berserk castigating, denouncing and in some cases insulting persons they deem to have criticized their supreme leader in times that he behaved like a petulant kid when he didn’t have his way.
It must be put on record that Wale has been the aggressor on many occasions and served as provocateur at other times. It was Shatta Wale who set his eyes early on rival Samini when by desiring the good fortune the Wa native had – adoring fans, wealth and respect, he kept insulting him at every turning, claiming the ‘Akye Saa’ man sabotaged him when a Jamaican dada landed for a show amid other spurious claims.
It was Wale who threatened Kaakie because he didn’t have his way by being named victor at the Ghana Music Awards. It was the same Wale who as event organiser Whitney Boakye-Mensah put it after signing a contract to the effect that he will close a show at the Accra Sports Stadium, made a U-turn when Samini had sent the crowd into frenzy, demanding he perform ahead of Stonebwoy who was scheduled to follow Samini.
Boakye-Mensah narrates that a petulant Wale called his zealots to surround her while pregnant to give the green light for his performance. Not even throwing up from the agitation could make Wale relent with a team member of his noting “when he gets like this, no one can stop him.”
The issue with Wale is his self-serving nature. Its either things go or are done his way else all hell breaks loose. This trait of his must be obvious even to his core fans so that in cases that he is wrong and it’s pointed out to him, it is not misconstrued for hate.
The Beyoncé collaboration is also a big deal for Wale, the Ghanaian music industry and general entertainment space. It should be the launch pad for success on a global scale and a breakthrough to the mainstream UK and US markets.
The Lion King: The Gift collaboration should give Wale’s career a bigger boost. Hopefully he can be the first Ghanaian to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and have a song of his hit one billion plays on streaming service Spotify.
He must look at playing at famous festivals in the world and sign distribution deals as well as touring Africa, Europe and the Americas. International features are something Shatta Wale should also be aiming for on the back of the leverage he now enjoys.
With the Ghanaian music space getting some sunshine out there, it is hoped major labels like the Universal Music Group, Island Records, Sony Music Warner and Music Group will sign local artists boosting their economic fortunes.
According to R&B star Beyoncé, she curated and produced the project, because it was her “love letter to Africa”.
She added: “It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me.”
Ghanaian presence on the Black Is King film released on July 31, 2020 transcends Wale. The ‘Already’ music video by Beyoncé features the Ghanaian reggae-dancehall/Afrobeats act, Shatta Wale and Jamaican Major Lazer.
The visual album was shot globally including scenes from Ghana, South Africa, Belgium, Los Angeles, London and New York.
The Ghanaian creatives list span music, fashion, film and dance. Samuel Bazawule, also called Blitz the Ambassador of the ‘The Burial of Kojo’ fame was a co-director of the visual album.
DWP Academy, the Ghanaian dance crew discharged themselves creditably and made Ghana proud.
Dutch-Ghanaian film-maker Emmanuel Adjei was highlighted as a key director in the album which was written, directed and executively-produced by Beyoncé. Joshua Kissi, leading photography and creative is also mentioned as part of the team that helped shoot the content for the album in Ghana as did an associate of Beyoncé, Kwasi Fordjour who serves with Parkwood Entertainment, company of the pop-star.
Ghanaian Cinematographer, David Boanuh was the director of photography for the project in Ghana. Sharifah Issaka has also been named as a producer for the video shot in Accra, Ghana.
Blakkpepper wishes Wale good fortune and success urging him to be magnanimous when things don’t go his way.
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For Beyonce's new Disney+ film "Black is King", Ashesi alum David Boanuh '19 served as Director of Photography for all scenes shot in Ghana. Together with other West African creatives, David helped bring unique representations of Africa to the film described as “a celebratory memoir for the world on the Black experience." Read about how David discovered filmmaking during his student years #atAshesi at the link in our bio! #AshesiAlumni