Where do I start with Ameyaw Debrah? Well I love his work -for starters; -I admire him [and hope that Ghana appreciates this national treasure], he is an incredible journalist -and a very funny man. I first stumbled across Ameyaw Debrah when I was researching a piece for Ghana Rising. This brother's work was everywhere! YouTube? Check. Facebook? Check. Modern Ghana? Check. africanews.com? Check. And so forth -and so forth. On his myspace page, -Debrah describes himself as' 'West Africa's Number 1 Celebrity Journalist' -and he is soo right. From Ovation International (Ghana) Limited [he was their on-line editor] to Jamati, orijin-ent and of course his own Blog, 'The Jaded Renegade' -he has interviewed everyone from John Legend, Damon Dash, Ozwald Boateng, Jay Z -to Akon. I particularly love the interview he did with the elusive Pearl Amoah [a model I have been trying to track down and interview -forever], and come to think of it, -the piece he did with Amanda Annan for Jamati [it was also an eye opener]. I love his, 'probing but respectful' style, -and even though he has interviewed [or snatched a few seconds here and there] with some of the greats [Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary General), President J.A Kufuor, Rev Jesse Jackson, President Obasanjo etc]- I love his lighter work with artist such as; Dentaa and comedian Kojo -where his personality really shines through. Debrah is a busy bee, -and he is working hard to start his own [entertainment] newspaper -at present, -so we are very please to bring you this insightful interview..............enjoy xx
GR: Hello Ameyaw -how are you?
AD: Hello, I'm doing quite well for someone who is always working on new ideas and news updates. We thank God
GR: What projects are you working on right now?
AD: Currently I am working on a number of interviews with Ghanaian entertainers in the Diaspora with the hope of getting the people back home to know of the amazing achievements some of our brothers and sisters have made out there. Also, I am working on providing more content on Ghana for some African publications such as Arise magazine, BHF magazines etc. In the mist of all these I still have to juggle with keeping my YouTube fresh with exciting interviews, event coverage etc. Oh, not forgetting updating my columns on www.modernghana.com, www,ghanaweb.com, www.jamati.com, www.ghanacelebrities.com as well as my blog, The Jaded Renegade.
GR: Ameyaw can you tell us about your background and how you got into journalism?
AD: I have a Bachelors degree in Publishing Studies from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. While in school, I won the prize for Best Publishing student in my year and as part of that I had the opportunity to do my National Service at Ovation International. This was where I started writing and finding my interest in the entertainment industry. At a point when Ovation was heading towards redundancy, I signed on to the Voices of Africa project where I was given a nokia phone to file video and photo reports on interesting subjects within Accra, Ghana. With this tool, I started exploring more mediums such as YouTube, Facebook etc to tell my story and the stories of other to the rest of the world. And viola, now I can say my name is a household name.
GR: Does journalism pay in Ghana?
AD: In general I would say no based on my experiences at Ovation and from the experiences that my colleagues have gone through.
GR: With all the brain drain going on in Africa -have you been tempted to take your talents abroad?
AD: My dream is that I would be successful to the point that I can travel abroad to cover events, interview people and always come back home to Ghana.
GR: I know that you are working away, -with plans to start your own entertainment newspaper. How's it going?
AD: It has always been my dream to have my own publication, where I would have more control in terms of content and style but I am quickly finding out that this could also be achieved in the cyber/virtual world [i.e. the internet] and I hope to fully exploit that now. The newspaper market is saturated at the moment -and sadly, it isn't all good so I don't want to jump on the band-wagon. I am hoping to have my own website and explore what I can achieve with it and then eventually turn it into a newspaper or magazine with a difference.
GR: Well, we can't wait for your magazine or newspaper -you deserve it. Ameyaw, you are one of the most exciting journalists in Ghana -and you have interviewed some of the greats[ like; Kofi Annan, President J.A Kufuor, Rev Jesse Jackson, President Obasanjo etc]. Who has been your favourite interviewee thus far, -and who would you really, really -love to interview?
AD: Let me use this platform to clear certain misconceptions about the people I have interviewed. I created a profile on MySpace saying that through my work, I have met or interviewed some of the people you mentioned above. In the case of Kofi Annan, I did have the opportunity to do a 5 minute or so interview with him. With the other names it was just a meeting opportunity that presented itself during the Ghana@50 celebrations. Now to the question about my favourite interviewee, hmmm that's a tough one! There have been several great interviews but I would try to name a few. I loved my interview with Ade Bantu because he was so deep and interesting with every answer he gave me. I asked him of his origin and he said he is NiGerman (half Nigerian, half German), I will never forget that. Jon Germain was also interesting and perhaps since he has been around the business for long, he knew what to say and how to say it. Kojo the Comedian was another great interviewee perhaps because he is a funny guy and I am a sucker for jokes. As for the people I would want to interview the list is endless, -right on top of that was Michael jackson but of course that is now a real unreality for me with his passing. Obama is the man of the moment and it wouldn't hurt at all getting an exclusive with him [God knows I tried when he was recently in Ghana]. There is also Kanye West; Beyonce -and back home, I would love to meet the maestro, Kojo Antwi.
GR: You are based in Accra. Can you tell us about some of your favourite hot spots in Accra [ I am planning to touch down very soon]?
AD: In general, the hottest district is still Osu. You will find almost anything there. The hottest area now [hands on] would be the Accra Mall, although it can get crowded, you will never have a dull moment when you pass through.
The Sony Centre -Accra Mall - http://www.accramall.com/
GR: Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn or Confidence Haugen?
AD: From a far I see the famous Confidence 'boob job' and I guess I'm sort of keen on proving that it isnt real. Sally is almost scary, and I don't have a strong liver although I like to speak my mind. Not much to choose between the two but I would go for Confidence
GR: The best restaurant in Accra is?
AD: The Tulip experience is Golden for me [lovely starters, first course to dessert]. Maybe I enjoy their food so much because each time I ate there, I didn't have to pay
The Golden Tulip gets Ameyaw's vote as the best restaurant in Accra -http://www.goldentulipaccra.com/
GR: The best hotel in Accra is?
AD: The La Palm experience is still royal
The La Palm triumphs as the best hotel for Ameyaw Debrah - www.gbhghana.com/lapalm.html
GR: The best nightclub in Accra is?
AD: I am not much of a clubber but as someone who monitors the entertainment scene, I think Aphrodisiac offers a lot more than most others.
Aphrodisiac -one of Accra's finest nightclubs -http://www.clubaphro.com/
GR: Accra is buzzing right now. Where can one go in the capital to chill out?
AD: Osu is still hot, you can go there to grab some food with your Friends and loved ones; hop from one club to the other, and go home completely 'wasted' or satisfied. If you want a more relaxed setting, you can do the Accra Mall. Citizen Kofi in Osu is also making waves and so is Mirage Nightclub.
GR: You was at GFW [Ghana Fashion Week]. Which shows did you see ....and who is the next hot Ghanaian designer?
AD: Yeah I was there on the first, third and fourth days and I saw some amazing stuff. Although there weren't that many designs for guys -a lot of the Ghanaian designers showed potential. I was particularly impressed for the first time by the collection of House of Eccentrics. His stuff were cool. Salimi Akil also showed great potential so lets keep our fingers crossed for Ghana.
GR: Who is hot right now [in Ghana]?
AD: There are amazing things happening on the Ghanaian entertainment front that gives hope to many of us [that want to see it grow from strength to strength]. Currently, acts like Ayigbe Edem, Asem, Richie, Sarkodie, Bradez and R2bees are hot on the music scene. There are also some up and coming acts enjoying massive following and they include Yaa Pono, Chase, Shaker, Eassy, FOI and many others. In terms of film, Lydia Forson is turning heads.
GR: On to more serious things Ameyaw, -there are so many issues effecting Ghana [and the rest of Africa] -what really gets your goat?
AD: For me it has to be poverty because it is central to all the woes facing Ghana and the rest of Africa. People put their children in labour because they want to make some money to survive, people are unable to put their wards in school because there is no money and people live in unhealthy conditions because often they lack money for general hygiene and access to quality healthcare. And of course you throw in a bit of bad governance, and the situations is worsened.
GR: The dump site in Agbogbloshie really gets my goat, -how does the ordinary Ghanaian feel about it?
AD: Generally we all hate it, even if not for the health implications it has on the people, at least the stench would put any one off.
GR: How is President John Atta Mills doing?
AD: Tricky question but my answer is simply....so far he hasn't stood out for me. I think I saw Kufuor achieve more over the same period that Mills has been in office. Or perhaps Kufuor was just more visible than Mills is currently. Nonetheless, I haven't given up completely on Mills, -I think he is a slow starter. But in the mean time, I would like to see more improvement in the economy because life is 'simply' hard in Ghana at the moment.
GR: What did the visit by President Obama and his family to Ghana -mean to you?
AD: Personally, it made me proud to be Ghanaian. Professionally, it would have done my career a whole lot of good -if I could interview him or at least meet. In general I think it put Ghana further on the map, -and with this, would come more opportunities in investment, health delivery etc.
GR: And finally Amyew, -what are your hopes and dreams for Ghana?
AD: I want to see Ghana succeed in everything we do; in terms of politics, economy, development, entertainment etc. We should be a unique pride of Africa.
GR: I love your work and appreciate what you are doing. Keep it up. God Bless all your dreams..........
AD: Thank you very much. And you keep up with your great works as well.
You can follow Ameyaw Debrah on Twitters at:http://twitter.com/ameyaw112
For 'The Jaded Renegade' Blog by Ameyaw Debrah please visit: http://ameyawdebrah.blogspot.com/