Entertainment: Africa beckons as Stevie Wonder considers moving to Ghana over respect for Black lives in America

Steve

Stevie Wonder, the legendary African American singer-songwriter has announced that he is packing up and relocating to Africa, saying goodbye to America.

According to a report in moguldom.com, the iconic performer recently told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that he’s moving to Ghana due to the continuing political turmoil in the U.S.

“I wanna see this nation smile again. And I want to see it before I leave to travel to Ghana because I’m going to do that,” he said.

Winfrey asked, “You’re going to permanently move to Ghana?”

“I am,” replied Wonder, who is known for such hits as “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

He continued, “I don’t want to see my children’s children’s children have to say, ‘Oh please like me.

Please respect me, please know that I am important, please value me.’ What is that?”

Wonder has nine children with five women.

This isn’t the first time he has said he was considering moving to Ghana. In 1994, he said he felt there was “more of a sense of community” there than in the U.S., CNN reported.

Born in 1950 Saginaw, Michigan, the 70-year-old Wonder became blind shortly after birth. He learned to play the piano, drums, and harmonica by age 9, becoming a musical prodigy. He was signed as a singer and songwriter to Motown Records in 1961. Since then, he has won 25 Grammy Awards and been nominated 74 times.

The government of Ghana has been actively encouraging Black Americans to move to the West African country.

In 2020, the government negotiated with local chiefs to set aside 500 acres of land for newcomers, which is enough space for about 1,500 families. The government of Ghana has also waived survey and registration fees for members of the African diaspora, The Washington Post reported.

This offering grew out of a public campaign called the Year of Retur, which attracted a record number of tourists to the West African country in 2019. Four centuries after the first slave ship landed in the Virginia colony, Ghana’s tourism effort sought to urge visitors to become residents with special land deals, expatriate guides, and easier paths to citizenship.

“We want to remind our kin over there that there is a place you can escape to,” said Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, in the Washington Post. “That is Africa.”

The program seems to be working. In 2019 the number of visitors from January to September increased by 45 percent to 237,000, according to the Ghana Tourism Authority.

Most of them visited from the U.S. About 3,000 American expatriates, the majority of them Black Americans, live in Ghana.

Ghana ramped up its efforts to lure Black Americans since the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, which sparked protests worldwide — including in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

President Nana Akufo-Addo sent the country’s traditional kente cloth to Floyd’s family after his funeral in Houston.

“We continue to open our arms and invite all our brothers and sisters home,” said Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Ghana’s tourism minister, at a televised ceremony remembering Floyd.

“Build a life in Ghana. You do not have to stay where you are not wanted forever.”

For Stevie Wonder, Ghana’s offer is alluring. He said he’s unhappy about the state of race relations in the U.S.

In January, to mark Martin Luther King Jr. day, Stevie wrote a letter to the late civil rights leader addressing the “lack of progress” around racial inequality, Celebretainment reported.

He wrote, “Dear Dr. King, I met you when I was 14 years of age. You were a true hero and you became an inspiration…

“It is painful to know that needle has not moved one iota. For 36 years, we’ve had a national holiday honoring your birthday and principles, yet you would not believe the lack of progress. It makes me physically sick. I am sick of politicians trying to find an easy solution to a 400-year problem.”

The letter also urged action from the U.S. government. Wonder wrote and asked for “all those in the Senate to speak truth to what they know they can physically see and begin the steps towards accountability, forgiveness and then healing.”

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