For years, Highlife artiste, Akosua Agyapong has been campaigning for better conditions for musicians when it comes to royalties and while that may have made her unpopular in some quarters and even attracted threats to her life, she tells Graphic Showbiz she won’t stop fighting.
Akosua Agyapong who was at the Graphic Showbiz offices on Monday, August 18 said although it may seem she had gone quiet lately, she was still fighting for musicians to get what was due them.
“No I haven’t stopped, I am still on it and I’ve had issues, especially recently when I received threats when someone wrote on my wall, ‘I will kill Akosua Agyapong.’ I am still talking about it because I am growing and all my kids are into music so if we don’t get the right thing done, it will always continue,” she said.
Akosua and a number of musicians have been up in arms against successive administrations of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) over what they say is corruption and low royalties they receive.
For her, poor leadership is one major reason musicians are not getting what is due them.
“We don’t have the right leaders leading us and that is one of the biggest problems. GHAMRO receives a lot of money not only from the government but the telcos, TV and radio stations and even the ‘spinners’ at events, yet, our musicians are dying poor.
“There is a lot of rot at GHAMRO; when Rex Omar first assumed office, the first thing I alerted him to was receipts; at a point, there were five different receipts for royalties collection and I told him to speak with the spinners because they were given different receipts but I don’t think he took that into consideration because if he did, he would have realised there was something dubious going on.
“There are some GHAMRO officials who go round collecting royalties and after charging, they take penalties, some of which are written on pieces of paper. How? Some receipts cannot be accounted for. After the recent audit by the Auditor General’s Department, about 176 receipts couldn’t be accounted for. Why were they quiet about this?
“The minute you talk about it, you become the enemy but I am not going to stop till the right thing is done. I will continue to talk about it till everything comes back to normal,” she said.
Next year, Akosua Agyapong will be celebrating 30 years in the music industry and although she has enjoyed success, she told the Graphic Showbiz it’s been very tough.
“It has been very tough and I always cite how our old ones die not out of old age but out of sickness and poverty. It is sad and I will keep saying lack of good leadership is the reason, the governments have for years not considered what musicians and actors go through with piracy.
“It was just in 2012 that the government decided to give money from the recordable things that people import and they called it the blank levy. Apart from TV and radio stations, as well as telcos, even Google pay in dollars but our musicians are dying poor. This saddens my heart and I can say that it has not been a smooth journey,” she revealed.
Even though it hasn’t been smooth sailing, Akosua Agyapong said it had been worth it somewhat because doors of opportunity were opened for her by virtue of who she is.
On Friday, August 30, Akosua Agyapong will be honoured by the Oak Plaza Hotel in Accra at its Dinner with the Stars event, which the hotel uses to celebrate musicians who have immensely impacted the Ghanaian music industry and she expressed her happiness at the gesture.
“First of all, I want to give thumbs up to Oak Plaza for thinking about legends like us. If I am not mistaken, Oak Plaza is the first hotel that has really taken upon itself to honour legends.
“That means they have seen what some of us have actually done for mother Ghana and for them to go all out for us is great,” she said.
She disclosed that she was planning something special for patrons and encouraged people to patronise the event.
“I have surprises as you always know for people that will be there. They know what Akosua Agyapong does and this time, they are going to see new things. I don’t want to blow my own horn but the audience will judge,” she said.