Popular
Photo by Polly Irungu

Photos: A Night of ‘Cocoa and Color’ at Okay Space for Tony’s Chocolonely and Joshua Kissi’s ‘Reframed’ Exhibition

The exhibition, currently showing at Okay Space Gallery, advocates for fair practices in the West African chocolate industry.

What happened when cocoa hero Tony's Chocolonely and creative wonder kid Joshua Kissi rolled up to the Okay Space on the same night? Chocolate-y magic and sweet enlightenment. The two entities have been working together on a project called REFRAMED: Cocoa and Color aimed at shifting the perspective on the West African cocoa farmers who make Chocolonely's delectable bars.

The project kicked off its first US exhibition with us at the Okay Space Gallery in early October, where brightly colored chocolate bars of all sizes covered the tables as attendees had their pick of a variety of Tony Chocolonely's chocolate. Anywhere you looked, there was chocolate and smiles. The only time folks stopped munching on chocolate was to take a bite of the fantastic cuisine—jollof rice, fried plantains and beef skewers—from Gold Coast Catering and plantain ice cream from Kelewele NYC. The room was packed with a diverse and wonderful crowd, excited to interact with Kissi's work and curious about learning how the chocolate brand was focused on empowering Africans and African economies. DJ GFlamee created the perfect atmosphere with tunes that highlighted the region and made a Thursday feel more like a Friday.

The highlight of the night, however, was a live Q&A session between Joshua Kissi and Dena White, Tony Chocolonely's head of marketing for the US. Kissi created the concept and took photos of the people in Ghana and the Ivory Coast working to create the chocolate the world adores. Together, they discussed the methods and importance of Tony Chololonely's fight to end slave labor in the cocoa industry. It was illuminating to have the session with the faces of those being honored surrounding us, looking on, being included in something that has long been swept under the rug.

While the chocolate has all been gobbled up, Kissi's striking photos will stay on display at the gallery until October 31st.

Check out some of the action from the event below, with photos by Polly Irungu.


Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Music
(Youtube)

9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Listen to Berri's Infectious Afropop Single 'Fire'

The emerging singer makes a confident debut.