Few things balance speed and style the way Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie’s flow does. It’s not just impressive, it’s award-winning, and we’re counting down the days to Global Citizen Festival: Accra on Sept. 24 when one of Africa’s most decorated rappers will surely set the stage alight at Black Star Square.
The Afrobeats star will join Usher, Gyakie, Stonebwoy, Stormzy, SZA, TEMS, and Uncle Waffles at the festival where leaders, activists, and Global Citizens will gather to take action for girls, for the planet, and to create change.
The festival is part of our End Extreme Poverty NOW campaign, calling for the advancement of policies that empower women and girls, prioritise immediate climate action, break systemic barriers that keep people in poverty, and lift up the activists and advocates who help to define our civic spaces. The festival in Accra also builds upon Global Citizen's continued expansion of our pan-African movement, with recent festivals staged in South Africa and Nigeria.
Michael Owusu Addo, also known as Sarkodie or “Obidi-Pon Bidi” is a Ghanaian rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist born in 1998 in Koforidua. He later moved to Tema where he started school and began his music career as an underground artist. Over the years, Sarkodie’s contributions to the music industry in Ghana and Africa have earned him numerous awards.
We could talk all day about Sarkodie’s talent and accolades, but we also wanted to shed light on how he’s used his status and platform to uplift the communities and young people around him. Here are a few things every Global Citizen needs to know about the Afrobeats artist.
1. He Founded an Organisation to Support Underprivileged Children
The Ghanaian hiplife sensation first showed his now well-known care and devotion for children in 2013, when he supported the Royal Seed Foundation in Kasoa. Sarkodie then launched his charitable organisation, the Sarkodie Foundation, and celebrated his birthday by donating thousands of cedis to the orphanage.
"I have always been passionate about kids and always wish to be in the position to help them reach their goals''Sarkodie said at the time.
On Christmas Day in 2014, the foundation embarked on a “Feed the Kids” campaign in Tema, Ghana. The rapper, together with his team, provided thousands of children with bags of rice, yogurt, and beverage cans. They also gave away school bags, water bottles, hats, and other assorted items.
2. He Helped People Through COVID-19 Lockdowns
In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic reached its peak, Sarkodie, through his organisation, donated items to the people of Tema who at the time had been impacted by national mandated lockdowns.
His team visited several homes in the community, including those of the elderly, to provide them with packaged goods to help them sustain the lockdown.
“Obviously, we are in a very difficult and hard time, especially with this COVID-19 that has affected all of us,'' Sarkodie's manager Angel Town shared in a video on Instagram.
3. Sarkodie Reportedly Paid a Child’s Medical Bills
Earlier in January 2022, the celebrated rapper paid the medical bills of an 18-month-old baby who accidentally fell in hot water. According to the family of Rose Samira Sulley, the child was receiving care for months at the hospital and they could not foot the bills for further treatment.
Sarkodie, after seeing the month-long campaign by Metro TV and a tweet from Ace broadcaster Bridget Otoo, made a donation of 13,000 cedis to the family of young Rose.
4. He’s the First Ghanaian Rapper to Bring Home a BET Award for the Best International Flow
Taking African music to the world is important to help highlight the potential that Africa has beyond being defined as a place of poverty. Sarkodie set the bar high, and showed the world what Africa is made of when he brought home a BET Award in 2019.
The Ghanaian star is one of Africa’s most decorated artists. In 2019, Sarkodie, in a new awards category, won Best International Flow at the BET Awards ceremony in Atlanta. In his acceptance speech, he said: “I think Africa has always had it and it is about that time [...] This year is the ‘Year of Return’ and I will urge each and every one of you here to take a trip back home. If you’re coming to Africa, choose Ghana.”
Global Citizen Festival is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we will unite leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. Wherever you are in the world, you can join the campaign and take action right now bydownloading the Global Citizen app.