‘African Music Not Just About Drums’: Ghana’s DJ Black

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Botswana had a taste of fine Ghanaian talent recently, when DJ Black belted out his foot-tapping numbers on the opening night of the Forbes Under 30 Africa Summit that took place from April 24-28 in Gaborone and Kasane.

“I didn’t expect such a welcome in Botswana and especially not by the President,” said Kwadwo

Ampofo, famously known as DJ Black, when we caught up with him in Botswana’s capital Gaborone where thousands gathered on the opening night in the city’s historic Main Mall, an outdoor shopping and commercial hub, to also enjoy his live performance.

This included the country’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who made a mention of the DJ in his welcome address and said: “My wife and I are in our dancing shoes and we are ready to rock!”

Born in New Tafo Akim in the Eastern Region of Ghana in West Africa, DJ Black has also been a broadcast journalist and has an abiding passion for African food, culture and of course, music.

His career started with an invitation to casually deejay at the University of Ghana in Legon, a suburb in Ghanaian capital Accra, one Tuesday night and this turned into a regular set eventually leading him to undertake further studies in mass communication and PR at the University of Ghana, and a master’s degree in media management from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

“It was important for me to not just DJ, but to also have the formal knowledge to back it up. I wanted to be an example to young people to show them the importance of gaining the practical knowledge; almost like merging street smarts with business school.”

Today, DJ Black is the head of music and entertainment at Joy FM, a radio station in Ghana, where he is responsible for all music content that goes on air.

He also offers a comment on the state of the African music and entertainment industry during our short interview in Gaborone: “We’ve come a long way. The world used to think African music was all about drums and percussion only to now seeing the rise of artists like Wizkid doing partnerships with international artists. We now see people all around the world that listen to Afrobeats, Kwaito, Amapiano and the like.”

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