The creator of the ‘Ashaiman to the World’ festival, renowned Ghanaian Afropop, dancehall and reggae musician, Livingstone Etse Satekla, better known by his stage name Stonebwoy, has addressed media reports of casualties at this year’s edition of the event.
He gave his reactions during an interview on Lagos-based TVC’s programme called eSplash.
To him, media reports on the issue is “normal because surely people must talk about us and we are grateful to be in the news but most often not for the right reasons [but] that’s not our doing.”
“We understand that media has to curate some following and attract some eyes, so sometimes they try to say it in different ways. It’s all out of love,” he opined and proceeded on some apologetic efforts.
“The reality is that, Ashaiman to the World is like Surulere to the World or Ware to the World because I come from the hood.
“I’ve been putting up this festival for them for nine years running, seven years active because of COVID and you can’t argue, it’s the biggest outdoor event by an artiste for his community as a charity stuff.
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“People troop in, you get 40 to 50,000 plus [people attending]. I’m not even kidding.”
According to the ‘Therapy’ hitmaker, among these teeming patrons are the troublemakers.
First, he observed the latest edition of ‘Ashaiman to the World’ “was a peaceful event till the end of it.”
However, “you see this [event] brings a lot of people together [and] realistically, there are people with bad ideas [in attendance].”
He went on to highlight the tendencies of crime are “definitely” present “wherever you go [but] especially in the slums [like Ashaiman] where the system has turned us into different things.”
Stonebwoy is of the view the hardships of communities like Ashaiman lead people into undesirable activities but with a near-noble reason.
“We are looking out to make sure that we can [unlawfully] pick up something and make ends meet easily.”
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This is out of the hands the festivals organising team, he believes, adding efforts made to ensure maximum security for patrons.
“I speak the truth only but you know what, it’s nobody’s fault, it can’t be my fault because we triple security everytime but intention is the most important thing.”
The decorated reggae/dancehall artiste then made an appeal drawing attention to the basic purpose of the festival.
“So I urge a lot people to desist from that minor [incident] because there have been worst things. I’m not trying to trivialise this but the source bottom of making such a programme is to throw good light on my community [Ashaiman] because we understand that years ago, when you say you come from, for instance Ojuelegba, you’re not gonna be employed, you’re not gonna be looked at, but we’ve changed the narrative.”
That notwithstanding these efforts, “the more you change the narrative, the more some people in the media must try to give some other [negative things attention].”
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Stonebwoy who is currently in Nigeria promoting his new song ‘Gidigba’ is confident this year’s music festival did not leave his “fans frowning, they are all very happy and very well.”
“So we’ll look to making sure that we continue to curb these unintended events after shows,” he assured.