Award-Winning Artist Deborah Cox will be performing at the Ghana World Music Festival which takes place 3rd – 4th August at the Fantasy Dome to close out the ‘Year of Return’ edition of PANAFEST & Emancipation activities. Cox arrived for the first time in Ghana Thursday afternoon to a welcome from a cultural troop and a team from Year of Return to make her first visit to Ghana a warm one.
Her first call of duty ahead of her concert performance on Saturday was an engaging panel discussion, Women in the Arts, just hours after her arrival. The panel was moderated by Naa Ashorkor and featured Actress Yvonne Nelson and TV Presenter Nana Aba Anamoah. The ladies had some candid conversations about what women face working in the arts and entertainment business. Cox, who has been in the industry since age 12, shared some of her professional journey with the audience, including what it’s like to make some difficult decisions that can potentially impact your career.
Nelson also spoke about this difficulty as a woman particularly when one becomes pregnant and how it affects your earning potential and can even slow your career’s momentum. She specifically mentioned her own experience losing a major contract because she was pregnant. Anamoah was appalled that this happens and said it’s discrimination for women to still experience this. Cox also shared how her career shifted when she became pregnant and had to make the difficult decision to leave her label as a result.
Women often find themselves in male-dominated spaces in the industry and Anomoah said it’s because there are not many women in the boardrooms making decisions. Ashorkor asked the women, “How can you bring another woman along with you?” shifting the conversation towards how women can support each other. “I think you start where you are and try to find a place where you can bring someone in,” Cox said. “[Example] someone up and coming that might be a hair person, a makeup person…a photographer and they happen to be female, that’s an opportunity [to support], it’s trying to find places where you can bring someone along.”
The conversations became very passionate when they all shared experiences of being shamed online and how they handle it. Women seem to be pitted against each other often and they spoke about why it’s important to dispel those stereotypes of women fighting each other. When asked about the situation in North America, Cox said there are still the reality shows that perpetuate the stereotype of ‘catty’ women, but at the same time, she said, “…you have a lot of women who are trying to do their best in empowering and lifting each other up without all the other drama.”
Cox spoke about her new upcoming album and how excited she is to get back to her R&B roots and share her new music with the world. She’s best known for some of her hit songs including, ‘Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here’, Sentimental, and ‘Who Do You Love.’ Many don’t realize that she is also an accomplished actress and Broadway performer. She travelled across the U.S. doing live productions and is now excited about getting back to her music. She gave Ghana the first look at her new music video that has not been shown anywhere in the world yet. The new song is called ‘The Easy Way’ and Cox shared some insight on it before showing the video. She said, “It expresses the complexities of love, that there is no easy way to love.” The program wrapped up with the women coming together for a group photo and inviting women in the audience to join them to represent the future of arts, music and entertainment in Ghana and beyond.
The Ghana World Music Festival will feature other artists including Ernie Smith, Third World, Samini, Lamisi,Kojo Antwi and more. Ticket information can be found on the website www.ghanawmf.com
Written by Ivy Prosper