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06.03.2006 Diaspora News

Ghana In-De-Wemb-Dance

By Miss Joana Jehu-Appiah ([email protected] )

As expected the Ghana Independence Day events that took place in London, namely the 'dances' that were spotted at difference locations throughout London on Saturday 4th of March were an absolute travesty, well the one that I went to that is, @ 'The All New Silver Spoon Banqueting Suite, Wembley', and probably so of the others. First the segregation of the promoters involved in the events, made it difficult when deciding on which show to support, the show at Stratford Rex, held by 'Radical' D, which I've supported in the past and have been disappointed with, or the show at Wembley, held in the hard to reach derelict area, by rivals 90% and the one and only, number 1 for Hip Hop and R'n'B 'Choice FM'. Obviously not number 1 for holding dances, more so when they involve Africans, because ironically even though the reason for the celebration was to pay homage to Ghana's Independence from the British Colonies, the organizers still consciously or not treated us like uncivilised beings. One only had to wait in the sub-zero conditions outside, and witness the debasing way the patrons of these event's, without whom the promoters wouldn't even make a light noted Cedis, were being treated with crazy dogs, and 'over' irate bouncers. Now my major concern was of whom to be more afraid off, the non-substantial pieces of meat 'holding' the dogs (to say 'controlling' the dogs, would be a misuse of words) or the mutts themselves, and also if the NSPCA, would see reason, should I have dug my three inch heels of my fine-looking diamante studded shoes into the back of an excited and erratic dog (Sorry animal lovers, but if I had a 'bleep' and one of them dogs came within close proximity to me, as excited as it was, whilst being the reasonable lady that I am, I still would have 'bleeped' it, standard! And maybe the piece of meat, holding the dog as well).

On a serious note, what the hell was discussed at the meetings which led up to the event. Actually I take that back, there probably was no meeting just text messages thrown around between those involved. The essence of it probably reading, 'being a predominantly black event, get some vicious looking dogs to hold down these bush Africans, and bouncers who look just as vile and rough as the dogs themselves.' Well with the exception of 'Crazy man' (who liked to use the French Connection UK, acronym a lot in his sentences) who courteously, managed to get me and my girls into the club before the organizers began switching the lights back on.' And as if not bad enough, whilst waiting outside the venue to get in, we were subjected to the torture of hearing the PA's on stage and UK Hip Hop Rapper Sway, knowing that by the time we went in the hall, he'll be 'Upping his speed' out of the area to the next event. And right I was too.

Ok, so the Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian ravers (who are always welcomed) weren't exactly on their best behaviour, but it's a vicious circle. The more they resist the control, the more the controlling agents tighten up on there game, someone's got to give, and it wont be those with dogs, batons, gas sprays and the law on their side.

The cloak room, or should I say the, coat dumping area, which had the audacity to charge people to have their coats, dumped on top of other coats, with the lame reassurance that we will get our coats back through the use of the messy ticketed system, which meant that coat number 295 was casually dumped on top of coat number 37, so when it came to retrieving our coats at the end of the night, it was expected that we'll be searching for a needle in a hay stack.

I guess it was also naive of me to think that I would go an event such as this and not have to re-enact out a scene from the past where our ancestors on the fields in the blazing heat, under the supervision of the 'Masser' not be allowed water to quench their thirst but have to slog it out. Well, the dance floor became the setting and the bar was the water fountain, it was taxing. So, this leads me into the drinks situation, one had to slog their way through the masses to the back of the hall to the one running bar in the whole 1,000 capacity spaced venue, to get drinks. Now with the non existence of air-con in the venue the heat became suffocating meaning the most important thing upon arriving in the club was finding the best way to the bar for a drink before hitting the floor in slow motion caused by dehydration.

So the Sound Boys thought it was suitable enough to play about 20% of the greatest Ghanaian imported tunes, we all know and love, but in the situation we were subjected to, what would have been more fitting would have been a dose of… 'Hot in Herre' from the Gleaming Grillz Kids 'Nelly', or a remix video to Britney Spears, 'Slave For You', because the situation epitomised those particular videos and songs, it was an inferno in the there.

Now I haven't been to one of these events in probably three years because back then it was no good, putting it lightly, simple things like promising a Ghanaian artist on the night and not showing up, it's still the remains in a 'Favela' and 'Shanty' town state.

So in Summary, you get what you pay for. Some managed to by cheap tickets from others who just decided against it and sold their tickets for as little as 2 for £5, I however still feel short changed even though my ticket was just £10.

Now those of you, who are regularly of this website, may see that I have written before. It's not that I haven't got a good word to say about all things that surrounds Ghana, but what can be noted in these articles are issues with 'organization' and 'civility' all of which seems to be missing. However with every 'bad' comes 'good', and soon I'll write about them, when I experience it.

It's a shame because 2007, will be Ghana's 50th Independence Celebration, but this time, I wont be making the same mistake because ….'Once bitten twice shy, third time…..no excuse why?', I'll rather stay at home with a bottle of Supermalt. And to think of those that took the time, (or rather rushed, by the look of it) to sew their traditional meets Western traditional outfits, which would have been more suitable in the warmer climates of Ghana, upon saying that, some still looked good, others I'm afraid wasted their material, unless of course they were being economical and thought they'll go halves with Adwoa. (Word of advice, when piecing together your ensemble, 'Express' yourself, don't 'Disrespect' yourself) Upon all of that, Happy Independent's day people, and let us remember the real reason for the celebrations and the African leaders such as the front man Kwame Nkrumah who have done us proud.

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