Supporting underprivileged children: HoodTalk Music Festival September 2 to raise funds
In January 2010, the World's focus was shifted on Haiti following one of the deadliest earthquakes recorded in the annals of history that ravaged the country and claimed at least 300,000 lives.
That disaster led to an all-star cast of singers to remake a song titled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti".
It was released as a single on February 12, 2010 and proceeds from the record aided survivors in the impoverished country.
Inspired and motivated by what the power of music can do to solve societal challenges in Ghana and in line with its objectives, the DreamChild Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, with support from Virtual Hub Entertainment Ghana Limited, an audio visual production company, designed an innovative musical programme dubbed “HoodTalk Music Festival".
Launched on August 3, 2023 at the Wan-Shi event centre at Asylum Down in Accra, the festival sought to create a platform to raise awareness to provide affordable paediatric care for underprivileged children, including girls. It was also to motivate people to contribute funds towards the construction of five Paediatric clinics in the country.
On Wednesday August 9, 2023, three team members of the HoodTalk music festival granted an interview to a Senior Reporter of the Daily Graphic, Vincent Amenuveve (VA), on the HoodTalk musical concerts and expected outcomes.
The team members are the HoodTalk Event Production Manager, Yvonne Ocloo (YO), General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Virtual Hub Entertainment Ghana Limited, James Amoakohene (JA), and the Project Manager, Virtual Hub Entertainment, Reggie Asare (RA).
Below are excerpts of the interview:
Vincent Amenuveve (VA): What is HoodTalk Music Festival and the concept behind it?
Yvonne Ocloo (YO): HoodTalk is derived from neighbourhood and sisterhood so it just signifies bonds. So hood and talk means people in communities having conversations.
HoodTalk is an initiative of the DreamChild Foundation and the big idea is to use music as a vehicle from one community to the other and to empower the youth by giving them the opportunities to practice their craft.
It is also to draw attention to the challenges that exist in those specific communities so that kind of attention and conversations will help in raising funds to solve the problems in the communities.
VA: What are the specific objectives?
YO: This year the DreamChild Foundation wants to raise funds to build five Paediatric clinics across the country. We want to have conversations about the plight that exists in those neighbourhoods and to use these conversations to draw attention and hopefully gather enough interested people and organisations to raise funds towards building the clinics.
VA: What is your reason for considering Paediatric care as an issue necessary for attention?
YO: I would say that to have good adults we need to have great Paediatric care at the fundamental stages. You cannot have great adults to lead the future when we don't have great child care.
The health sector is at the core of Ghana’s development. It is essential for the wellbeing of all Ghanaians that funding for health is prioritised. A healthy population is the basis for a prosperous population.
Therefore, caring for the underprivileged and the vulnerable is high on the agenda of DreamChild Foundation and the Hoodtalk initiative.
VA: Where are you building the Paediatric clinics?
YO: The plan is for us to build Paediatric clinics in Ashiyie, Tamale, Kumasi, Takoradi and Ho. But what we are most certain about now is the Ashiyie one because the land for the clinic has already been acquired by the DreamChild Foundation and donated for the purposes of the Paediatric clinic.
VA: Will you expand the support to cover the remaining 11 regions, including the newly created ones?
YO: I think we can go as far as all of us are willing to go because this is an initiative by a foundation but it requires the support of everybody else to come on board. So the more willing donors that we have who can donate both cash and kind, the further this initiative can go.
So I will say that as far as we have the interest and the support of Ghanaians, individuals and organisations from around the world, the further we can go with the programme.
VA: How do you hope to achieve your dreams or goals through music?
YO: That is why we are using the concert to achieve this initiative because it cannot be achieved by quietly engaging on this journey as individuals, as a foundation or co- founders. That is why there is the need to amplify the voices that are speaking on the platform of the HoodTalk festival so that attention can be drawn even beyond the shores of Ghana, so that the kind of help and participation that is required can be achieved or gained.
VA: Can you walk us through the itinerary for the musical concerts? I think Mr Asare may want to take this question.
YO: So Ashiyie is the first concert on September 2, on the 23rd of September the plan is to be in Tamale and then in October we will do Kumasi and Takoradi and then do Ho in November and in December, the programme will be climaxed with one at the Independence Square.
VA: What are the expected outcomes?
YO: Well, for starters Ashiyie, Tamale, Kumasi, Takoradi and Ho are not ticketed. However, we are collecting information of people who are attending because we want to generate a database of people who are interested in the issues that DreamChild Foundation is focused on.
VA: Can you tell us about some of the artistes you are expecting and the genre of music to be performed?
Reggie Asare (RA): All kinds of music will be performed. We’ve got the likes of Stonebwoy and Kwame Eugene who are all willing to come on board but there are many more who are willing to come on board. We are really going to use this as a means to make a difference.
James Amoakohene (JA): We also have the old time highlife musicians like Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Pat Thomas and we are looking at it as a variety show so we will have all kinds of Gospel artistes like the Tagoe Sisters and others from South Africa.
VA: If at the end of the day organisers are not able to meet their expectations what will be your next line of action?
YO: To be more straightforward music is a universal language and there has never been a place anywhere in the world where music was played aloud and there was not a gathering.
RA: I have been in this industry for some time now and there has never been an issue of failure because we've carried artistes all around the country to the most remote villages and you will still find people singing songs like they studied for it. Music has a means of just uniting people. So to respond to your question, it is not something that we even thought about.
YO: Vincent, but truly and honestly we are talking about music, we are talking about health care, we are talking about children. Those three things are commonalities to people everywhere in the world and I do not foresee a scenario where people will not be interested in the conversation.
VA: DreamChild's mantra is that these children are our future leaders so it is something that has a common understanding for everybody, so I don't see people not showing up and it's free as well.
YO: So, all of our regional concerts are free - Ashiyie, Tamale, Kumasi, Takoradi and Ho.
VA: Who are your partners and sponsors if I may ask?
JA: We are partners in the HoodTalk Music festival. For us at Virtual Entertainment one of our primary responsibility is to harness and encourage upcoming artistes, so we found this as a great opportunity for us to partner with the DreamChild Foundation to be able to carry out this agenda.
VA: Can you tell us the endorsement of the foundation's activities by the President?
YO: So on the 23rd of March the office of the President acknowledged a letter that was sent by the founders seeking the endorsement of the HoodTalk festival.
The President said he appreciated the foundation's laudable initiative to officially launch the HoodTalk festival and said he fully endorsed the initiative.
If you are a youth who is interested in the creative arts, this is a platform for you. You need to showcase your talent at no cost to you. This event will be live streamed and it will be on YouTube. Any body from anywhere around the world could chance on it to see your talent and hold your hand and take you to the next level, so I think the question rather is what is your reason for not coming?
VA: Thank you very much for granting us this interview.
YO/RA/JA: We thank you too for this opportunity granted us.