Tuesday, 7 July 2015

‘Multimedia Betrayed Me & Banned My Songs’

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

Activist Reggae Musician and popular  radio presenter, Blakk Rasta, has confirmed to NEWS-ONE he had resigned his job as host of Hitz Fm’s ‘Taxi Driver’ show and cut ties with Multimedia Group, owners of the station.

“I was still on the radio [Tuesday morning] when I tendered my resignation.  I have been with Multimedia for eight years and I think it is time to move on because I am no longer inspired there and of course, a few other things happened here and there that made me feel betrayed”, Blakk confirmed to  NEWS-ONE during a telephone interview.
The popular reggae musician denied vehemently that he was sacked by the station or forced to resign under duress: “no one sacked me. If I was sacked I would have told you because there is nothing embarrassing about it. I resigned and when I handed them my letter, they even said I had to refund to them a month’s salary because I resigned without serving them prior notice.”

Blakk Rasta was recently made headline news when he was summoned before Ghana’s Parliament after had campaigned on radio for  the decriminalization of  marijuana use in Ghana  and alleged that some 80 percent of parliamentarians use ganja.
The award winning musician did not mince words in disclosing to NEWS-ONE that the ripple effects of that invitation was one of the key factors that led to his  resignation from Hitz Fm.

“When   I was invited  by Parliament , my employers did not even sit me down before the invitation so we plan on what exactly we should say there and how things should go, they did not get a lawyer for me, nothing. Nothing like that happened.  Even my HR who was there knew next to nothing about the incident when he was questioned about the issue and what exactly I had said.
“I did not get any support from Multimedia which I thought was unfair.  I thought once I was with you I should get your support. Even if you do not agree with what I said, you can go and say you do not agree and that you are pleading for clemency. But that was not done and I even had to look for my own lawyer.
“No one was interested in my wellbeing as far as that invitation was concerned but they were rather interested in the story and in getting the news so they [Multimedia] set up their gadgets and carried the news live both on radio and television”, Blakk narrated to NEWS-ONE.

When NEWS-ONE called the Programs Manager for Hitz FM,  Mark Okraku Mantey on phone to cross check from him the veracity or otherwise of Blakk Rasta’s allegation, he could not speak to the matter because there was a lot of noise where he was and the conversation was barely audible.

Okraku Mantey however asked that the paper called him back later in the evening but his phone was not answered when the paper called back and a text message sent to his phone over the matter was also not responded to before the paper went to bed.

Blakk was emphatic that he felt his work was not appreciated by his employers and they even placed an embargo on his songs after the invitation by Parliament.

“It has been a nice family but I now feel uncomfortable, I feel betrayed and I am not inspired anymore to work with these people.  This slip could happen to anybody but it depends on how you handle it but I was betrayed and I had to go look for my own lawyer, I went there  on my own and even after that, not even one  person from Multimedia  has called me to talk to me how about it and the way forward.
“What they rather did was to go ahead and ban my songs on radio saying that I do not attend station gatherings and all that so my songs should not be played on radio. What is this? I don’t intend granting interviews or talking about this because I have been working with this station for eight solid years.
“I think Multimedia is not appreciative of my work and commitment. Time and again I have heard them say utterances that make me feel I am not appreciated and my die-hard passion is not appreciated. I put in all my passion and energy but this afternoon, I just decided to tender in my resignation.

“Next week, I am travelling to Italy for the Milan Expo and I would be representing Ghana on the t7icket of the Trade Ministry and we are bringing home and award. Right after that, I am going to America, then Australia and then Trinidad and Tobago.  It looks like the outsiders seem to appreciate my works more and I am looking forward to using this platform to push my ‘Serwa Akoto’ on the international scene.
“I hope to be back in the media soon. Long before my resignation, some stations had approached me but I did not give in. I am not sure which station I would be moving to because it would be about the biggest bidder and who would appreciate me and respect what I do.”


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Halifax Ansah-Addo is a Ghanaian journalist living and working in Accra. Currently, he is Editor of THE PUBLISHER (www.thepublisheronline.com), a private-owned Ghanaian newspaper with nationwide circulation in the country. He attended the African University College of Communications in Accra and an alumnus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Berlin, Germany. He was awarded the 2015 Best Entertainment Journalist/Writer at the GN Bank Awards. Halifax writes on politics, human rights, arts and social issues. He is a Christian.

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