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Stevie Wonder: becoming Ghanaian on my birthday is amazing

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Legendary singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder is officially Ghanaian.

On Monday – the US musical icon’s 74th birthday – he was granted citizenship of Ghana by the nation’s president.

“This is it, congratulations!” Nana Akufo-Addo told a beaming Wonder, handing the Grammy winner a certificate at a ceremony in the presidential palace where he was also presented with a birthday cake with a Ghanaian flag iced on top.

Wonder told the BBC that gaining Ghanaian nationality on his birthday was an “amazing thing”.

The superstar was born and bred in the US state of Michigan but has long had an affinity for Ghana – a West African nation thousands of miles from home.

In 1975, with a string of hit albums behind him, Wonder openly expressed a desire to quit music and move to Ghana. He believed his ancestral lineage could be traced there, reports say.

Wonder stuck with singing and stayed stateside, but after headlining a Ghanaian music festival in the 1990s, he again expressed a desire to set up home there.

On a later trip to Ghana, Wonder wrote the entirety of his album Conversation Peace and in an interview just three years ago the star said he was moving to Ghana in order to escape racial injustice in the US.

Wonder’s love affair with the country was ignited by the people he met whilst there.

He told the BBC that one of these encounters was with late Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings, who in the 1990s hosted him at the presidential residence.

“I remember the late President Rawlings, who allowed me to be a co-pilot on a flight,” Wonder said.

“I was able to fly with him from one end of Ghana to the other end. The north to the south, and it was amazing.”

Stevie Wonder gains citizenship in Ghana
Flanked by his family and donning a scarf made of traditional kente cloth, Wonder was visibly delighted to have finally become Ghanaian.

Ghana has long prided itself on being a bastion of pan-Africanism – its founding leader, Kwame Nkrumah, called the West African state a “Black Mecca”.

Wonder is just the latest African-American icon to celebrate this message – writer W E B Du Bois moved to Ghana and was buried there in 1963, while Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali all paid high-profile visits to the country to reconnect with their African roots.

In 2001, Ghana became the first nation on the continent to give the descendants of Africans the right to stay.

Since then, Africans in the diaspora have been able to live and work in Ghana without renewing their visas or work permits.

And in 2019 the Ghanaian government launched the “year of return” initiative to encourage Africans in the diaspora to relocate there.

More than 300 Africans in diaspora have been granted Ghanaian citizenship since.

In a statement, Ghana’s interior ministry said Wonder becoming a citizen “marks a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to attract diasporan Africans and recognise outstanding contributions to the African diaspora”.

The man himself said he now plans to engage in initiatives that will create great job opportunities for Ghana’s youth, who make up roughly 38% of the population.

“The youngest generation is in Africa. We need to begin to think about how their greatness can shine,” he said.

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Netizens slam Charly Boy over comment on Soyinka’s mental health

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By Francesca Hangeior

Veteran singer and social activist, Charles Oputa, aka Charly Boy, has come under fire following his comment questioning the mental health of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.

Charly Boy in a post on his X and Instagram handle on Monday advised Nigerians to approach the statements and actions of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka with caution.

He said Soyinka might be experiencing brain deterioration due to his old age, noting that this could be influencing Soyinka’s recent rhetoric and behaviours.

He expressed his worries about the inability of Soyinka’s family and close associates to protect him from opportunistic politicians.

He also emphasised the importance of vigilance among concerned Nigerians to prevent the exploitation of Soyinka’s health condition for political purposes.

“Prof. Wole Soyinka is aged over 80yrs even tending towards 90yrs. For his age, some level of brain deterioration is not unexpected. His rhetorics and actions in recent times are suggestive of deteriorating brain disease, and as such he shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

“What we should be worried about as well-meaning Nigerians, is how his family and close friends can’t ward off agents of desperate politicians who are bent on exploiting his medical situation to their advantage, no matter how low it sinks the once respected Nobel laureate,” Charly Boy wrote.

This, however, did not sit well with netizens who felt the statement was insulting.
An Instagram user #Phorlarjuwon questioned Charly Boy’s contribution to the nation’s development.

Phorlarjuwon said, “As a lost man that you are, I think you can do better man than this…As a manwoman, what have you personally contributed to the betterment of the nation? I guess nothing. I didn’t think you have affected this nation in any positive way. Now we know who needs to visit a physician. How the opinion of another man became your problem because you don’t share the same perspective is what exposes how disordered your mental is. People who assume you will influence their life in a positive way need to see a physician as well.”

Another user, #Vesterz011 wrote, “I hope when you get to that age, you actually handle this kind of message, Bcus its definitely coming back.”

On X.com, #Quakes9ja, who tweets anonymously as Kweku Elenitoba-Johnson, wrote, “Address the man’s claims first before you rain abuse on him.”
Another follower said, “I think you could have made your point without insults, people look up to you. I believe we can de-escalate a volatile situation if we really want to keep our eyes on the ball, but to start speaking on people’s mental health with backhanded compliments isn’t savoury. Politics is planning and strategy, social media insults would achieve that. People listen to you, mobilise them in a way that works, and votes will not be counted based on social media insults and posts. Peace.”

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How I was prevented from performing in Nigeria due to indecent dressing – Tiwa Savage

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By Francesca Hangeior.

Popular singer Tiwa Savage recalled that when she returned to Nigeria from the United Kingdom to pursue her musical career, she was prevented from performing at concerts because her outfits were considered “too risqué.”

She revealed that some of her earlier music videos were not aired due to being deemed indecent.

The ‘Koroba’ hitmaker disclosed this in a recent interview with BET.

Savage said, “When I first moved back, I would turn up at a show and they would say I can’t perform because my outfit was too risqué.

“It was a cultural issue. Even some of my first music videos were not played on the television because they were considered indecent. I wasn’t even wearing bikinis.

“Despite the setbacks, I was still stubborn. My dresses were getting more revealing. It was just getting worse. They were bashing me online.

“It was funny because the females were secretly falling in love with me and my style. They couldn’t deny it. My fanbase, my followers, was growing. So they had to put me on shows and play my music because there was a demand for it.”

Tiwa Salvage recently revealed the inspiration behind her newly unveiled movie, “Water & Garri”.

Salvage said she got the movie idea while she was drunk.

She stated this during the pre-launch press conference at Livespot Entertainment.

The award-winning Afrobeat superstar Tiwa Savage said, “I said this before, this is an idea I had in my head when I was drunk in my room and when I brought the idea to my amazing team, they didn’t make me feel stupid. They just said this is a brilliant idea.”

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Actor Johnny Wactor shot dead in Los Angeles

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By Francesca Hangeior.

 

A long-time veteran of the TV soap, General Hospital, Johnny Wactor, has been shot dead in Los Angeles.

Wactor was killed on Saturday in a robbery that turned horribly wrong.

He died at age 37.

The actor reportedly mistook masked thieves stealing his car for tow truck drivers and intervened before they opened fire, Dailymail reports.

Wactor was said to be leaving his side job at a rooftop bar with a female colleague at around 3:25 am Saturday in the area of West Pico Boulevard and South Hope Street, when he saw the three men, believing he was being towed.

The Los Angeles police department said that one of the three men, all of whom were wearing masks, shot Wactor before fleeing in a separate vehicle.

Paramedics got to the scene shortly after and took him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The masked suspects remain at large and have yet to be identified or described.

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