Those of you who follow my blog or social media accounts know that I went quiet for a few weeks.
That’s because I was doing some life-shaping things IRL. Yes, I said life-shaping — for me and for others. I took time out to focus on launching the Spotify ‘Sound Up: Behind the Mic’ fellowship for early-career Black podcasters. I’m thrilled to announce that the fellowship is up and running, and this year’s cohort is already doing amazing things.
I also went to Ghana. Again, if you’ve been following me and my newsletter (and, if you haven’t by now, wha’chu waiting for??!) you’ll know that I lost my father last year. The global lockdown meant I couldn’t go to his funeral. So this trip was my first chance to visit his final resting place. Ironically (and in the best way) visiting Dad led to me deepening my connection with Ghana in ways I never expected.
It was more than feeling the sun opening up my pores — it was on a cellular level. For the first time, I felt like the ground underneath me STOPPED shifting. I could trust that it would stay out; and that I didn’t have to keep flying just to survive. And by that, yes I do mean anticipating what might be around the corner, or making sure everything is ‘just so’. I could just be.
And that was – excuse me, is – a liberating feeling. I’m writing about that but will save those pages for a future book.
I will, however, share my excitement at Ghana’s evolving podcast scene. There’s some really great stuff coming out of there — and Africa in general. The decision by some producers and hosts to speak to other Ghanaians rather than explain themselves to the world is a powerful form of authentic expression — and an opportunity for us to discover what’s really going on back home.
Cause I gotta tell you, the Ghana international media rarely if EVER shows us is DYNAMIC. It’s like progressive ideas are fighting their way through an old-skool shell. Activists are taking risks to challenge ideas about who and what is acceptable. Musicians are creating new genres, shopkeepers are engineering fixes to the distressingly unequal distribution of vaccines in the nation. In short, Ghanaian genius is in full effect.
There’ll be more on that – and the podcasts from the African diaspora that I love – in upcoming posts.
Photo by Christabel Nsiah-Buadi