Derrick N. Ashong, born in Accra, Ghana, and raised in the USA, is the content material creator and businessman behind AMP World Applied sciences and the Take Again the Mic app, a platform that rewards customers who uncover and share trending content material with ad-supported cell information.
“Our crew at AMP World is dedicated to increasing web entry and creativity for communities world wide,” says Ashong. Through the world pandemic, he launched and hosted the primary season of The Mic: Africa, a digital hip-hop competitors primarily based on his two-time Emmy-nominated digital sequence, The World Cup of Hip Hop.
The Mic: Africa is a multi-platform music competitors the place viewers use the TBTM app, out there for Google and iOS units, to pick out 18 semifinalists from six nations: Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, Mauritius and Kenya.
These 18 semifinalists compete over the course of 5 episodes in entrance of a worldwide jury from throughout the diaspora, in addition to celebrities together with music artists DJ Maseo of De La Soul, Doug E Contemporary, Woman of Rage, Nigerian rapper M.I Abaga, Indian rapper Raja Kumari and South Africa’s standup comedian David Kau. The primary season simply wrapped with Nigerian artist Fecko successful the grand prize and title.
For(bes) The Tradition spoke to Ashong about launching a worldwide platform throughout a pandemic and what he’s planning subsequent to amplify the creativity and voices of artists throughout the diaspora.
For(bes) The Tradition: Why did you select music to unify the varied nations throughout the continent of Africa?
Derrick Ashong: Individuals speak about music as a common language. African music is simple within the scale and energy of its world impression, however lots of people are unaware of the core African influences in music like hip-hop, reggae, the blues, salsa,samba, jJazz and rock and roll. In the end, Africa is the place the flavour was born, and music is the tapestry that weaves the continent and the diaspora collectively as an interconnected complete—discovering, reflecting and evolving one another’s voices as we proceed to innovate and redefine the structure of world popular culture. We consider that by starting with music, we give Africans at residence and throughout the diaspora, a typical house the place we will uncover ourselves and one another by way of new eyes, and invite the world-at-large to hitch us there.
For(bes) The Tradition: How has the Take Again the Mic app amplified the creativity of artists throughout the African diaspora?
Ashong: The Take Again the Mic app helps creators to construct actions round their content material. In tandem with The Mic: Africa sequence, the app helps to show probably the most promising undiscovered artists on the continent into world stars. As a result of the TBTM app places the facility within the arms of the viewers, it allows surprising creators like graffiti artists, dancers and songwriters to even be amplified to an even bigger stage.
For(bes) The Tradition: How is that this multi-platform music competitors the primary of its form?
Ashong: The Mic: Africa is the first-ever interactive TV format born on the African continent to be exported world wide, carrying an African cultural framework to audiences throughout the globe.
In contrast to conventional mainstream music competitions, the sequence is actually interactive as a result of followers solid, curate and decide the result of the present from begin to end.
For(bes) The Tradition: How are you persevering with to shift gears throughout the pandemic?
Ashong: The pandemic compelled us to actually stretch our creativity and suppose in another way about how you can develop and launch a brand new sequence. One “comfortable accident” of the covid period was our resolution to have interaction filmmakers on the bottom in every of the nations, as a substitute of getting one crew fly in every single place. In all probability our greatest take away from the expertise was the conclusion that whereas world web use went up 70% within the early days of the lockdowns, excessive velocity web use was flat at 7% in Africa. That’s as a result of folks right here pay the very best costs on the earth for cell web entry.
So, we constructed a toolset inside the app to allow customers to earn cell information primarily based on their engagement, and to make use of that information anyplace on the web. That “gateway to the web” functionality impressed a broader initiative known as 70 x 25, to take Africa to 70% high-speed web use by the tip of 2025.
We’ve been capable of carry on our first telco companions as a part of that moonshot coalition, together with 9Mobile in Nigeria, Kenya Telkom and Liquid Telecom, and are working to develop the initiative with model companions throughout quite a lot of sectors, in addition to inter-governmental establishments just like the UN, UNESCO and UNHCR.
For(bes) The Tradition: What initiatives are you and your crew planning on launching sooner or later?
Ashong: We will certainly be doing extra seasons of The Mic: Africa, and are already in talks to develop the format to different areas. We’re additionally working with some actually cool media companions in Hollywood and different world markets, to launch new content material properties that leverage our expertise to drive deep engagement between creatives and their followers. Within the coming months we’ll be launching a sequence of options that allow companion manufacturers to construct direct relationships with followers on the platform, and make it simpler for creators, distributors and content material homeowners to construct and develop actions round their content material.