Since 2016, when Gospel musician Cwesi Oteng decided to pitch camp with the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he has faced criticism from some quarters and has had to justify his decision.
In spite of the criticism, he again supported the NPP and President Akufo-Addo this year and he told Graphic Showbiz recently that his Christian faith motivated him to do so and he wasn’t perturbed by the backlash.
“I think it is okay for celebrities to add their voices to social development. It is okay when necessary for celebrities to stand with political parties that they believe have the right policies to move the country forward.
“Taking a step like that will not be accepted by all and if that is called backlash, it is okay because not everyone will like you no matter who you are.
“As part of the things I do, I am a youth advocate. I have advocated for development since I came into Gospel music. I advocated for us to have better music videos as Gospel artistes. At that time, our videos were shot at the beach and by flowers.
“I also advocated for a new day of Christian music where music is global, where Ghanaian Gospel musicians will not be bound to Ghanaians in Ghana but to other nationals as well.
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“When I saw that the policies of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo could shift our country to another day away from the days when families sold their properties to educate their male children and left out the female, I had to support the NPP.
“We are talking about an era where education is for everyone. When I see that people are magnifying other things above education, I can’t support what is not ordinary, sit back and dance and appear on TV as if everything is okay.
“For the past 20 years of my life, I have read one book every week so I may have read over 2,000 books so I cannot sit unconcerned.
“I campaigned with the National Cathedral because I believe it is a symbol of respect and honour. These were the reasons I voted for Nana Addo. Apart from his successes with development, education and infrastructure, I also voted on my faith as a Christian,” he said.
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Away from politics, Cwesi Oteng also spoke on the challenges of the Gospel music sector including its performance at awards.
There have been times when we hear that the organisers of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards(VGMA) are unable to get enough works to nominate for the Gospel categories but Cwesi Oteng opines that it should not be the case, saying they should be spoilt for choice.
He said Gospel musicians always put good works out there and organisers of such awards should not be found wanting. “I don’t see what else they can do with the nominations as far as Gospel music is concerned.
“I believe that they can actually allow Gospel music in many more categories than just Gospel categories. Gospel musicians are musicians but they are just tagged Gospel. That whole identity is based by religion and it is not helping creativity.
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“It is as if Gospel is tagged to be accepted anyhow it comes out whether productions are good or not, just because it is tagged it is okay.
“But I think Gospel musicians must be treated as musicians because some of the people who have led revolutions in creativity have also come from the Gospel fraternity. I think that the categories where Gospel musicians are accepted should be wider.
“I think a lot of creativity has come out of Gospel music and a lot of investment goes into it. You can have a secular show without any keyboard on stage but you can’t do that with Gospel event. Gospel musicians invest more in live performances than secular ones,” he said.