Ghanaian Dancehall artiste, Charles Nii Armah Mensah, professionally known as Shatta Wale has put Ghana and himself on the map again after his historical collaboration with American singer, Beyonce. This is another big achievement for the Ghanaian Dancehall king because it rarely happens that two songs of a particular African musician would be used in international movies.
Estaban Crespo’s ‘Black Beach’ movie which is now available on Netflix featured two of Shatta Wale’s songs, ‘Ayoo’ and ‘My Level’ in one of the scenes. With parts of the movie being shot in Cape Coast, Ghana, it wasn’t a surprise to many that Shatta Wale’s songs were featured. This is a big achievement for the musician and it’s worth the celebration and conversations as to who pulled the strings and made it possible for his two songs to be featured.
Now, let’s take a look at the background of Shatta Wale’s songs, ‘Ayoo’ and ‘My Level’ which are now trending after getting featured in the ‘Black Beach’ movie.
AYOO: The song was released on March 27, 2017, and so far, it garnered 10,107,010 views on Google’s video streaming platform, YouTube. It’s one of the songs that increased Shatta Wale’s popularity in Ghana as it was played across the country. The official music video was directed by Sire Choppenson. The song talks about the Ghanaian industry and how some musicians aren’t bold enough to point out the very things bringing the industry on its knees.
MY LEVEL: It was released on December 9, 2018, and so far, it has been garnered 10,402,636 streams on YouTube. The music video was directed by one of the top directors, Sesan. When the song was released, critics were of the view that it wasn’t a Dancehall tune but rather, a Highlife song. Shatta Wale received backlashes for releasing a Highlife song despite being a Dancehall artiste.
The above two songs of Shatta Wale were loudly played at a heated nightclub scene in the ‘Black Beach’ movie.
Here’s the storyline of the movie ‘Black Beach’ put together by Chockys;
“Carlos Fuster is a Spanish CEO who lives in Brussels (Belgium) working for an important USA oil company. Married with a 8-months pregnant Susan and with his mother Elena who works as a veteran United Nations’ diplomatic, Carlos’ lives in a upper-class full of luxury hoping to turn in associate of the company and with plan to move with Susan to New York City to get a better life.
His plans turn bad when his bosses chose him to negotiate in a remote African island country where he lived time ago after to know that Steve Campbell, an American engineer, has been kidnapped by a Calixto Batete, a former Carlos’ friend.
In the belief to be a fast and easy work, Carlos back to the country living in a house property of León, son of president Gregorio Ndong, and meeting again Alejandra, a Spanish NGO cooperator who lives in a boat with her friend and assistant Eva.
However, troubles start to appear by everywhere: Carlos learns that Ada, Carlos’ former love interest, married Calixto years ago”.
Now let’s get into the brouhaha of who made it possible for Shatta Wale’s songs to be featured in the ‘Black Beach’ movie.
A few hours after the movie was released, new reports suggested that popular Music Producer, Mark Okraku-Mantey played a vital role in Shatta Wale’s songs getting featured in the movie. One Ghanaian Blogger named Eric Toscar penned down how Mark Okraku-Mantey helped to get Shatta Wale’s songs featured in the ‘Black Beach’ movie.
Eric Toscar via his Facebook timeline wrote;
In 2019, during the Year of Return, a Spanish Movie Production company came to Ghana to shoot a movie. Most of the Ghana scenes were shot in Cape Coast.
I remember they had some issues along the line, shooting was halted because they didn’t have permit or something. It took some industry stakeholders led by Mark Okraku Mantey to help them fix the issues they had.
They continued their production, finished it, extended their stay, enjoyed Ghana and left. Now the movie is out, titled ‘BLACK BEACH’, Shatta Wale is the topic out of the movie because 3 of his songs were featured in the movie.
SM fans are on all social media platforms singing praises and shading alongside. What they (Shatta Wale and his fans) don’t know is that, the Ghana part of ‘Black Beach’ was a success because of Mark Okraku Mantey and his team.
This is the same person Shatta Wale and his fans said hasn’t done anything beneficial to the Creative Arts Sector even in his position as the President of the Creative Arts Council”.
But Shatta Wale’s Publication Relations Officer, Chris Koney, came with a counter article and refuted the above report that Mark Okraku-Mantey helped in getting Shatta Wale’s songs featured in ‘Black Beach’ movie.
Chris Koney in a Facebook post explained how Shatta Wale’s songs got featured in the movie.
I take this opportunity to express gratitude to the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Alicia Rico Pérez del Pulgar, for always getting me involved in very important projects.
In September 2018, I was invited to witness the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana and Casa Africa Consortium.
This led to the hosting of the 10th edition of Vis – a – Vis in Ghana in 2019. Also in the same month, I witnessed the signing of another agreement between Ghana’s Ministry of Business Development, the University of Ghana and INCYDE Foundation, a Spanish institution dedicated to the promotion and training of entrepreneurs.
There were some other important personalities of global prominence I met through my association with Her Excellency and the Embassy.
In early May 2019, Her Excellency shared with me a press dossier of a film to be shot in Ghana, titled Blackbeach. As usual, I will revert with areas I could be involved and the level of support. This led to my engagement with members of the team and a discussion of getting on board the biggest Ghanaian musician, Shatta Wale, onto the project.
I was put in touch with Valeria Rodríguez, the Production Manager of a film who will later requested for collaboration to get Shatta on the project.
Guess what had necessitated this? “Esteban Crespo, the director of the film, as soon as he heard the song “My level” fell in love with it and will be delighted to include it in his film.
Esteban Crespo, is an Oscar Nominee for his short film “Aquel no era yo” (“That wasn’t me”), short which won more than 90 national and international awards”, part of her email read!
Then the team proposed a package to use 3 of Shatta Wale’s songs in the movie which we agreed to. And today, we are here flying high the Ghana flag.
Thank you to Her Excellency and to 1 Don Charles Nii Armah Mensah, you exemplify the saying “Who Jah Bless, No Man Curse. Keep pushing!”
The ‘Black Beach’ has been rated 5.5/10 and has been nominated for Goya Award for Best Production Supervision, Goya Award for Best Special Effects, Goya Award for Best Sound, Goya Award for Best Art Production, Goya Award for Best Cinematography and Goya Award for Best Editing.