The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Barbara Oteng – Gyasi has asked international institutions and associations to follow the right procedures and acquire permission from the appropriate authorities before using the Ghanaian Kente fabric in any function, activity or audiovisual material for commercial activities or any other purpose other than it’s originally intended one. She stated this a few hours ago on social media after a photo was shown on C.N.N of some American Democrats kneeling to show their support to the late George Floyd and wore the Kente fabric in a sash form. However, the Minister appreciated the fact that it was a Ghanaian fabric that was used in the symbolic act of unity and solidarity. The Minister used the opportunity to speak to the global audience as the death of the American George Floyd has sparked a global outrage.
Hon. Barbara Oteng – Gyasi a few hours ago, asked the international community to obtain permission prior to using the Kente fabric as an ongoing effort to consolidate the gains of the usage Ghanaian culture abroad. “In as much as we are proud of the use of our Kente in standing up to injustice and systemic racism, we however, call on all who intend to use our kente outside the customary context and for commercial purposes, to seek the appropriate approvals and permissions from the relevant state institutions, as well as duly acknowledge Ghana which is in accordance with Ghanaian law and international conventions as well as best practices relating to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression”, she wrote in her post on Facebook.
This goes to fuel an earlier effort made by the National Folklore Board to caution and possibly retrieve royalties due Ghana for the use of the Kente fabric in the hugely successful ‘Black Panther’ movie, and also for the wrong illustration of the Ghanaian mythical character ‘Ananse’ as a god rather than a mischievous character in an American series.
However, Hon. Barbara Oteng – Gyasi in her post, also admitted being happy seeing the Ghanaian popular Kente used in such a symbolic act. “The resplendent beauty and symbolic relevance of Ghana Kente was rehashed by top Democrats and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States when they took a knee in honour of George Floyd, whose life was truncated by the inexplicably barbaric act of some police officers. We open our arms, and beam with pride in acceptance of every black life, and all others who journey back to Ghana through the revered use of our Ghana Kente”, she wrote.
Since taking office as Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Barbara Oteng – Gyasi has endeavored to empower all the various arms and bodies under the large umbrella of the Creative Arts. Some of her efforts was the first ever creative industry forum held in 2019 where she interacted with stakeholders by listening to their suggestions and also answering questions. She also addressed a gathering of filmmakers at the Ghana Film Summit in 2018 concerning possible solutions to the problems plaguing the struggling industry.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Barbara Oteng – Gyasi a few days ago, held a ceremony to honor the late George Floyd with some members of the Diaspora in attendance to echo Ghana’s support in the cry for justice and fair treatment for Africans in the United States of America and all around the world.
By Jerry Wonder