According to Mark Okraku-Mantey, the noise made by Nigerian musicians is depriving Ghanaian artists of recognition and funding for their works on a global scale.
This was stated by the deputy tourism, arts, and culture minister as he related an incident that occurred in the United Arab Emirates.
Mark discussed how Afrobeats and Nigeria’s hegemony in the music industry have buried the distinctiveness of Ghanaian music.
On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, the former music executive said in an interview on Joy FM’s “Super Morning Show” that while visiting Dubai, he overheard a shopkeeper refer to a Bisa Kdei song as being from Nigeria.
The man was Moroccan and he thought the music was [from] Nigeria. And I have experienced a lot of these things where Ghanaian hard work is going to Nigeria. Because they make so much noise such that there is a perception every music you hear from Africa is from Nigeria. And we made a mistake by also accepting that we are also performing under Afrobeats,” he said.
Mark added that Nigerians quickly claimed Afrobeats (with the “s”) after it became a term for music produced in Africa.
“The word Afrobeat itself was coined by Fela Kuti years ago, without an “s”. So the moment you hear Afrobeat, the owner of that word is Fela. Then overtime, the West said Africa has too many rhythms so why don’t you call of them African rhythms. Because we were known for highlife and we were bullying them with our highlife, quickly they opted for the Afrobeats. Unfortunately, my brothers and sisters went to joined them. They don’t know that all their hard work is actually going to Nigeria because the perception about Afrobeats in Nigeria,” Mark added.
“I heard Camidoh’s song in Tanzania, Arusha, and people around thought it was from Nigeria. And that is why Nigeria is getting the buzz they are getting. Everybody is thinking that almost at the music you hear from Africa now are from Nigeria,” the Deputy Minister noted.