Saskia and I were leaning against the wooden fence outside the Office one Friday night. She looked over to the benches and said, “Hey, I think that’s the guy from the Mobile Boys. In Jesse’s video, you know?”
“Oh my God, we have to say hi to him!” I had read about him in African Masculinities, I had discussed him in class. And he was right here in front of me in Ghana.
“No, no,” Saskia said.
“Come on.” I slid off the fence and pulled her arm. She followed. We went up to him and said, “Hey, are you from the Mobile Boys?” He said he was, and invited us to sit down with him. His name was Kochoko. We talked with him about hip life, Jesse’s video, and life in Accra. Turns out it’s a lot harder to be a hip life artist than you’d realize. It’s hard to get a record label, hard to trust other people, and very hard to make money. Most people don’t have computers and even fewer have Internet, so it’s not like they download songs off iTunes. The albums they buy are bootlegged, and no one buys concert tickets.
Kochoko was telling us about a concert on TV the had to do the next night for free, just to promote himself and get the word out about his upcoming album. Before we knew it, he had asked us to dance with him on TV. The next night we were onstage at TV Africa. We had no idea what we were doing – I mean no idea – but the audience didn’t notice. They were excited just to see us dancing.
“Obruni, dance!” called a lady in the front row of the audience. They smiled and clapped along with us.
At the end of the show, one of the announcers said, “I don’t know what was up with those white girls or what they were doing here. Do you think they even understood the words? But that was great, can we give them a hand?”