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Diasporian News of Saturday, 8 December 2012

Source: Oral Ofori

African entertainment in the USA

iRAP TV strives to become the face of African entertainment in the USA

By Oral Ofori

There is a television show on the airwaves of the East Coast of the USA that is gathering momentum among Ghanaians and Africans in the State of New York where it all begun. The name of this TV show is iRAP TV, which stands for International Rhymes and Poetry Television. Nana Yaw Boateng, a Ghanaian resident in New York City (NYC) is one of the brainchild behind iRAP TV which has been on the air since March 2012 on respective TV Channels in New York, USA.

Nana Yaw Boateng who prefers to be called Nana NYC in the world of showbiz is the producer and host of iRAP TV, his executive producer is Joseph Appianing and Bismark Osei is the chief editor. The other individuals who help put the show together are Hashim Haruna; the program manager and Collins Owusu; the Assistant Producer. iRAP TV is very dynamic and spontaneous owing to its highly exuberant youthful production crew and guests.

The show does not follow conventional lines, which makes it even more appealing to the youthful audience it has. One unique thing about iRAP TV is that it is not recorded or shot in a studio setting, it rather has an on-the-spot feel to it which gives birth to spontaneous interviews depending on where the production crew and the host may be at. So far all of the their interviews have been done outside studios and on location in places like Ghana, Canada, New York, and other places.

iRAP TV airs as a 30 minute show for now and the production crew is on the lookout for more potential hosts all over the globe who have the vibrancy and exuberance which defines it. The current host, Nana NYC is studying Media Technology at the Bronx Community College in New York, he and his production tem use a lot of new-media in the production and hosting of the show. The show airs in The Bronx and Brooklyn areas of NYC. Viewers in the Bronx can catch it on Cablevision (channel 69) or Verizon FiOS (channel 35). Brooklyn customers can watch the show on Cable (channel 67), Time Warner Cable (channel 34), Verizon FiOS (channel 42) and RCN (channel 82). Anyone can also enjoy the show anywhere on the globe via its YouTube Channel. Find out more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lOhzMQCdHc4#!

Producers of the show say their primary target audience is literally everyone living in the United States of America and any youth on the face of the earth. This is evident from the personalities that have appeared on iRAP TV in the short while that it has been around. The show has had people from all types of backgrounds who are very much open to each other's cultures ranging from Africans, Jamaicans, Americans, Europeans and basically anyone out there who might be interested in hearing or watching music videos from third world countries.

Recent statistics conducted by iRAP TV revealed that youth and adults between the age range of 16 to 45 years have been tuning into the show in the New York ares of the USA. Measures are being put into place to increase traffic among the global audience via their YouTube Channel. There are a lot of African Businesses such as African Restaurants and African Markets that favor this show because as they work and provide their goods and services to people, they also get to tune in and watch interviews and music videos from various artist across the African continent or with connections to the continent.

What the makers of the show want to achieve is to allow the creation of an opportunity to shed light on the independent entertainment industries around the world, especially those of the African industry be they on the continent or outside of it. The host of the show, Nana Yaw Boateng, is personally working to make this long term goal a reality through his own independent company called AFANFRI'S M1Y UNLIMITED. The company is presently promoting BOOGIE DOWN NIMA PRODUCTIONS, a company based in New York. Their purpose is to bring popular Ghanaian/African artists to the United States for independent tours, something which will provide a lot of content for the iRAP TV management and production team as the show grows.

Nana NYC is himself an artiste who ventured out with the help of his team to put this television show together because they came to realize that there are a lot of Americans and foreigners from other places in the world who love to come to African concerts owing to their love for the continent's music and entertainment industry. The purpose here is therefore to expose more of these talented musicians, actors, dancers, comedians, spoken word poets and other kinds of entertainers and personalities to the American audience to create familiarity and in the process bring more of such persones to a wider audience through live shows and spontaneous interviews. 'We are doing this because channels like BET, VH1 and MTV do not have television shows that exclusively caters to Africans' says the iRAP TV crew.

American music television giant--MTV has been observing iRAP TV's momentum and is making attempts to tap into the show as they see the potential. As at November 2012, some personnel of MTV have been in talks with the show after Nana NYC featured and interviewed acclaimed artistes and personalities like ace Ghanaian Highlife musician Amakye Dede and Ofori Amponsah, K-Switch and Flava N'abania of Nigeria, IWAYNE and Young Joc of Jamaica and the USA respectively, Ghanaian Presidential hopeful Nana Akuffo Addo, Hiplife group VIP of Ghana and a whole host of others.

Most of the positive feedback for the show comes mainly from Americans, especially African Americans who express their love and appreciation for the show. These people are really in love with the African beats and rhythms and are occasionally relating to the subject matters of the music videos and how well the directing and editing is sometimes done.

Every good thing has its difficult and struggling sides and for iRAP TV, one major headache faced as pioneers in their fields is the difficulty associated with getting the word about the show out there to a much larger and more global audience and arousing interests in potential hosts all over the world to contribute by way of video blogging where they will be offered the opportunity to talk about things relating directly to them in their own cultures. The iRAP TV team is very small and everyone on the team is preoccupied with school, work and their own dreams and aspirations. The crew has been managing to keep the show on air with funding out of their own pockets. Holding such a team together can sometimes be very daunting and difficult, yet the burning desire to keep Africa on the map is what inspires iRAP TV.

People and businesses out there who may be interested in supporting the iRAP TV dream by way of sponsorship, partnership, etc are encouraged to drop my blog a line. I will personally pass your messages on to the producers and directors of the show. I personally believe this is a great African dream that must not be allowed to die, which is why I am bringing some much needed exposure by way of my blog. You or someone you know has the capacity to be of some form of help, so spread the word and we will all do our parts in making this seed blossom into a tree where generations can take shed under and enjoy the fruits of success.

Oral Ofori, +1202-706-9881, oralofori@gmail.com, Freelance Writer ( www.oralofori.blogspot.com), Wikimedia Ghana Enthusiast, Broadcaster, Retail Specialist, Music Promoter, Artiste. http://about.me/oralofori/