Arts + Culture

Michaela Coel Will Be the Keynote Speaker At the Prestigious Edinburgh International TV Festival

The "Chewing Gum" show runner will be the first black woman, and the youngest person ever to give the lecture.

Michaela Coel will give the keynote lecture at this year's Edinburgh International TV Festival, an annual event which brings the biggest names in British television and media to discuss the challenges facing the industry.

With all that Coel has already accomplished in her career, she will now be adding becoming the first woman of color, and fifth and youngest women to give the MacTaggart lecture under her belt.


Michaela is constantly making big moves internationally and domestically on and off-screen, continuously earning the title "the first to..." in front of her name beginning at a young age. Born Michaela Ewuraba O Boakye-Collinson in London, Coel is the proud daughter of Ghanaian immigrant parents. She went from being the only black girl of her year in a Catholic school in London, to becoming the first black women enrolled to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in five years, to dominating the Royal Exchange and National Theaters in London. She gained notoriety by her artistic uniqueness through poetry and storytelling which resulted in becoming a consecutive poetry slam winner, amongst many other awards. Her playwright award for Chewing Gum Dreams turned the dream into a reality as it led to her current Netflix hit series, Chewing Gum.

When in between roles, some of which have been in innovative, popular series' like Netfilx's Black Mirror, and blockbuster titles Star Wars: The Last Jedi, she can be seen sharing words of wisdom. She consistently empowers women of color who are striving toward a career in the media industry, and holds interviews and talks to encourage media honchos to seek more diversity.

The Edinburgh International Television Festival is both a festival and charity to create paths for people of all ethnic backgrounds to enter into the TV industry. As director of Sky Arts & head of entertainment for Sky, Phil Edgar Jones put it on the Edinburgh Festival website, Coel "speaks directly to the next generation of talent coming through the ranks and has something to teach the TV 'establishment' too." So it is no wonder that she was chosen as a speaker this year.

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Featuring Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, Amaarae, Kwesi Arthur, Shatta Wale, Efya GuiltyBeatz, Joey B, R2Bees and many more.

2019 was definitely an exciting year for Ghanaian music.

Right from the top of the year, we saw both new and established make their mark with songs that would soundtrack the nation's airwaves, functions, and nights for months to come. In 2019 we got to experience an E.L comeback, Shatta Wale and Beyoncé on the same song, numerous solid Ghana-Naija collaborations, and bop after bop by old and new artists alike.

We also saw the rise of brand new artists, starting from the likes of J.Derobie's wave making debut in January, to Kofi Mole's widespread trap anthem, to Fameye's declaration of brokeness, to the promising future superstar Sam Opoku. As far as projects go, 2019 was a good year for that in the Ghana music space as well. We were blessed with an EP from Sarkodie, an album by the superstar duo R2Bees, talented singer King Promise's debut album, Ko-Jo Cue's stellar debut, and M.anifest's 7-track feel-good EP, among several others.

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Check out the list below. Listen in no particular order.—Nnamdi Okirike

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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