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From Tina Turner to Chris Brown: When the superstars visited Ghana

It’s the year of return! Now whilst several famous people from the African diaspora including Idris Elba, Naomi Campbell, Mike Hill, and Luvvie Ajayi arrived in Ghana recently for the full circle festival, there are more superstars who have made a trip or two to the motherland for various purposes. A very very long time […]

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It’s the year of return! Now whilst several famous people from the African diaspora including Idris Elba, Naomi Campbell, Mike Hill, and Luvvie Ajayi arrived in Ghana recently for the full circle festival, there are more superstars who have made a trip or two to the motherland for various purposes.


A very very long time ago in March 1971, the soulful Tina and Ike Turner and Wilson Picket arrived in Accra, Ghana to play an epic 15-hour Independence Day concert. It was a whole affair as they touched down to drummers and dancers. James Brown, along with Fela Kuti and Aretha Franklin had reportedly declined invitations to perform in the Soul to Soul concert as it was called. Well their loss right? It was a remarkable event and we still remember it fondly.


Ghanaians will forever remember October 2006 as the year the Roc Nation boss, JAY-Z flew to Ghana. Jay Z was to perform at a concert and commission a bunch of United Nations projects. Jay Z arrived in Ghana in his private jet with his 30 man crew. Patrons of the conccert were treated to good music from Jay and at the time, his lover Beyonce. Samini, Reggie Rockstone, Obrafuo, Wutah, Ofori Amponsah and the then Irene & Jane of Stars of the future were the priveleged Ghanaian artistes to share the stage with the King and Queen.


Chris Breezy’s visit to the motherland is one of the most controversial yet. He was billed to perform at RLG’s Hope City Launch Concert. Whilst a lot of people thought “wasting” one million dollars on the RNB singer was a waste of money, some of us were just in for the thrill. Chris arrived just less than six hours before the concert and was seen smoking at the airport, something that Ghanaians were not used to. There are also reports that he said “Ghana stinks.” and to make matters worse, Chris Brown again smoked ‘weed’ on stage and sparked a whole conversation on “cultural values” and bla bla. Mehn I miss those times.


Stevie Wonder’s visit to Ghana in April 2004 is unforgettable. He was flown down to perform at The Stevie Wonder Benefit Concert organised by the Busia Foundation. Hollywood actress Akosua Busia, the Chairperson of the BFI, said that proceeds from the concert will provide under-privileged children in the country with access to books and computers. It was quite an affair.


Boyz II Men have been in Ghana on two different occasions. In 2002, they decided to take a different approach to taping the video for their hit song “The Color Of Love,”. Nathan was to travel to Accra, Ghana with directors Benny Boom and Little X to tape his part, whilst Wanya headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico to work with Chris Robinson. In Febrruary, 2005, however, they came back with a whole new mission, to perform to numrerous of fans at the Spacefon Areeba Valentine Concert.


In April 2009 RnB singer Lloyd was in Ghana to hold an exclusive performance at the Accra Mall food court. The trip was to kick start his tour of Ghana and Nigeria as part of the first-ever Music Mix Africa. “I am here to learn and educate myself. I brought some of my family members with me because this is a big moment in my family’s history. We hope to learn as much about African history and culture while we are here and we also hope to share some of what we know with the residents in Ghana”, Lloyd said. Well we hop you did because we are waiting for your next trip.


And Oh, how can we forget about the historic visit from Bow Wow and Keri Hilson. The two were billed to perform at ‘Stand Up GH’ concert. Bow Wow was happy to be in Ghana despite the distance. Keri Hilson however left a diva mark on the press as she didn’t interact with them because she didn’t have make-up to cover her exhaustion from the long trip. Such a Diva! Bow Wow and Keri shared the stage with Some of Ghana’s hottest acts including Rana, Chemphe, Kaki, Mzbel, Guru, Kwaw Kese and Edem. It was a night to be remembered.


And the list continues down to Grammy Award winning stars, Wyclef, Mario and Eve who came were flown to be headliners of the “Zain 026 Experience” code from Zain Ghana, a major African telecom service provider at the time. The event also featured renowned music icons such 2Face Idibia of Nigeria and three other local top artists, Obrafuor, Kwaw Kese, and Tinny. Wyclef Jean promised to explore the possibility of having collaboration with a Ghanaian artist, well that hasn’t happened yet.


Trey Songz came to Ghana with one thing on his mind, to inspire Ghanaians to believe in themselves, and work hard toward achieving their dreams – and well perhaps to find himself a girlfriend. Yes, the singer who was billed for the Vodafone 020 Live Concert stopped in the middle of his performance and said, “I may be no inspirational speaker but when I look out there I see beautiful and I see black. Now this is a blessing for me, to be able to perform in front of my people and the love that you have all shown me, I will never forget. And I will not feel good about myself if I leave here without inspiring each and every one of you. So when you wake up in the morning and you look into the mirror, say ‘I love myself’, because I love you all back! Damn, Trey, Im touched! and Oh I wish I was in that audience when he blurted out that he is single and looking for a girlfriend.


Grammy and Oscar Award winning Isaac Hayes was in Ghana for a different purpose. He started Isaac Hayes Foundation in 1993 after being crowned Nene Katey Ocansey I, Nkosuoehene, of the Ada Traditional Area and a beloved member of the Ocansey Royal Family chief of Ada traditional area. He returned again in 2000 to open an education centre that provides literacy, computer technology and health courses. His death was therefore shocking to many Ghanaians all over the world.


MTN decided to celebrate its 2nd anniversary with a live musical concert featuring American fastest rapper, Busta Rhymes..Busta who was shocked that the audience could sing his songs, word for word said,“I love this”, “I made a great decision to come to Ghana” and “I love your beautiful city” ” was his emphatic promise after what he described as “a most wonderful and successful show” that charmed the enthusiastic crowd to abandon their seats and wriggle the night away.


International super model, Amber Rose, arrived in Ghana on Sunday September 18, 2011 to host the second edition of 020 Live concert, slated for the Dome at the Accra International Conference Centre Tuesday September 20th 2011. She met female school children in Nima at the Islamic Training Institute (J.H.S) on the Kanda high way, she interacted with the Ghanaian media. Her visit sparked a lot of controversy.


American singer-songwriter and rap artist T-Pain has touched down in Ghana Saturday , December 2011 afternoon ahead of his much anticipated concert in Ghana. This is T-Pain’s first ever visit to Ghana. He was met on arrival by officials of 233Connect, concert organisers, and media personnel.T-Pain and M.I. are joining a list of seasoned Ghanaian acts, VIP, Kwaw Kese, Buk Bak, Keche, Gasmilla, Bra Kevin and a host of others in a concert tipped to be the party for the yuletide.


Rick Ross has also been in Ghana. In December 2010, Rick Ross was flown down to perform alongside D-Black, Sarkodie, Sway, Trigmatic, E.L , Tinny, and J-Town , and the very controversial Asem and Kwaw Kese. Fantasy Entertainment is rumoured to have paid Rick Ross $170, 000. Patrons were not happy as Rick is reported to have performed way too early because he had to catch a flight to south Africa for another event.


The “State of the Republic Concert” billed to bring Sean Kingston and Fat Joe to Ghana was a whole drama series on it’s own. It almost became the “State of Confusion Concert”. Sean Kingston pulled out at the last minute apparently because his mum advised him against taking the recommended yellow fever shot before going to Ghana. Such a big mama’s boy! Fat Joe also suffered from food poisoning in the UK and so couldn’t make it to Ghana on the advertised day. So, the date for the concert was moved to the next day and R&B star, Omarion had to replace Sean Kingston as a co-headliner.


In January 2004, Shaggy arrived in Ghana for a two-day musical concert dubbed the Spacefon Music fiesta. It was a state affair as Ministers of State, some members of parliament, business people and a cross section of the media attended a welcome dinner organised at the plush La Palm Beach Hotel for his official welcome. Shaggy promised a good show and he delivered.

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