Blakk Rasta “dines” with Obama, Mugabe and Abbas of Palestine

Ghanaian reggae artiste Blakk Rasta, who is a household name in his homeland, has the distinction of dining with presidents and not losing the common touch. The year 2009 is one which Blakk Rasta will always remember in a special way. He says that his song, titled Barack Obama, was among the reasons that brought the first black president of the United States to Ghana that year, for his first visit to that part of Africa. Meeting with Obama at a state dinner, and being asked by the then president if he could have a picture with him, was a moment he’ll always remember.

“My biggest song was Barack Obama; it was released in 2007. When Mr Obama came to Ghana, he asked for me specifically. He said, ‘Where is the young man who did that song for me?’ And the politicians tried to stop it (the meet-up), but I was invited to the state dinner. I was the only Rastaman there, and I had on my robe. When Mr Obama turned and saw me, he said, ‘Your song inspired me to victory. I used it in my campaign, thank you.’ Then he asked, ‘May I have a photograph with you?’ I will never forget that moment,” Blakk Rasta told The Gleaner.

The artiste, who is a proud pan-Africanist, is known for his uncompromising activism. He has even had an audience with none other than former prime minister of Zimbabwe, the late Robert Mugabe. “In February 2016, he invited me as a special guest artiste for his 92nd birthday in Harare, Zimbabwe. I had a song for him which I played. He was so happy. He asked me to remake the song, which was 11 years old at the time. It is called Robert Mugabe, but the remake never came out before he died,” Blakk Rasta said sadly.
Late Robert Mugabe and Blakk Rasta

Also popular for his fiery poetry, Blakk Rasta hails Jamaican poets Mutabaruka and DYCR, along with late Nigerian reggae star Ras Kimono, as major influences in his exciting and at times, tumultuous journey. “I used to listen to them and imitate their style. Then in 1999 I recorded my first album, The Rasta Shrine, and released it the following year,” he explained, adding that music, surprisingly, was not his chosen vocation.

Blakk Rasta and Palestine Leader Abbas

However, 21 years later the outspoken Blakk Rasta, whose musical style is a blend of reggae and African sounds, has a huge repertoire that comprises 10 full-length albums, some of which have intriguing and relatable names such as More FyahGanja MinisterNatty BongoNaked WireVoice of the African Rebel, Born DreadAncestral MoonsplashKuchoko Revolution and Timbuktu By Road. He also has numerous singles, and, with his unique style, he has become a household name in Ghana. His latest single is a collaboration with reggae singer and Ugandan politician Bobi Wine, titled Bloody Museveni.

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