Fuse ODG has resonated in the music industry since his 2013 single 'Antenna' captivated the world. Working with the likes of Wyclef Jean, Sean Paul and Ed Sheeran, he helped to bring Afrobeats to the general public.
The first Ghanaian ever to win a Grammy award, he's changing the perception of Africa through his music, but he’s also using his connections, voice and resources, to make it possible for children in rural areas in Ghana and Jamaica to access quality education. During our chat, we discussed his community-focused projects and asked him how the diaspora can help shape the African narrative.
This Is New Africa, also known as TINA, is a movement founded by Fuse ODG prompting the African diaspora and local communities to showcase the real portrait of Africa to the world; presenting Africa as a vibrant and community-oriented continent.
TINA is also the name of the singer's debut album, which promotes self-love, as well as love for Africa. Born in Ghana and raised in London, Fuse decided to return to his country of birth in 2011. Ghana has become a place that both inspires him and offers an alternative view on matters of life.
"If you are from Africa, your mission should be loving yourself and developing a love for where you are from."
Nowadays, Fuse is rebuilding schools in rural communities, promoting the Year of Return and organising festivals in Accra. He’s even launched a line of dolls inspired by courageous African women to give children a sense of pride and appreciation for their backgrounds.
His contributions were recognised during the African Diaspora Awards, an event sponsored by WorldRemit.
'This is a very special moment for me as it means a lot to have the diaspora backing the New Africa movement," he commented on his win.
Fuse ODG and the #WeWillRizeTogether initiative
In 2007, Fuse ODG and his team joined forces with Wood World Mission charity to build a primary school in Akosombo, a town in the eastern region of Ghana. The school now accommodates over 200 students and has become an essential part of the community. Education there is free, although parents can choose to contribute any amount they can afford.
The first cohort of students is now due to start high school. Unfortunately, the closest secondary schools are miles away and are often a costly option that families simply can’t afford.
Fuse is determined to change that. With reggae artist Chronixx, fitness entrepreneur Chakabars and artist Donisha (who's also Bob Marley's granddaughter), he has embarked on a new mission; to build a high school in Akosombo, and to refurbish a secondary school in Jamaica. Students will be equipped with various skills that will help them earn a living in the future - from carpentry to hairdressing or sewing.
One of the visions of this project is to link both schools through technology as well as the curriculum. It's a collaborative project that employs many people in the community while providing volunteering opportunities.
"Together we are stronger; we believe that people are generous and want to give, they don't trust big charities, because they take ages to get jobs done and you often can't see where the money went," he shared.
Find out more from Fuse ODG himself in our video.