by JR Valrey, The Minister of Information, Oakland Bureau of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper
Marisha Ashanti is a very talented rhyme-sayer I met at D’Wayne Wiggins Compound, where I used to regularly host. I’ve caught three of her performance sets over a year, and every time she had the whole room captivated by the content of her lyrics and bobbing to her dope production.
She is one of four women performers accompanying D’Wayne Wiggins of Tony, Toni, Tone on a tour to Ghana starting in late December of this year. I wanted to give Bay View and Black New World Media readers the inside scoop on such a historic undertaking. Check out Marisha Ashanti in her own words.
JR Valrey: What is the story behind you going to Ghana with D’Wayne Wiggins of Tony, Toni, Tone in December?
Marisha Ashanti: I had a friend invite me over to D’Wayne Wiggins’ Compound to be a part of a feature for her set. During practice I did some improv with a musician and got invited again but this time with my own set. That’s also the first post show live interview I ever did with you, JR.
So the community began to see me and my personality. That night was magical for me. That night was also when I met D’Wayne for the first time. From that night on I’d pop in and do my thing. And here we are going on tour in Ghana!
JR Valrey: What is it about Africa that makes it mandatory for you to travel for over a day to get there?
Marisha Ashanti: As an African American, I have had a distant relationship with Africa. When I look around and see cultures with traditions, customs, artifacts and stories that span across centuries, I want that for myself and my people. I’ll take just about any chance at figuring out what those things are. That’s a well spent 24 hours if you ask me.
JR Valrey: What is your mission musically in Africa? What do you want to accomplish while on the ground in the Motherland?
When I look around and see cultures with traditions, customs, artifacts and stories that span across centuries, I want that for myself and my people.
Marisha Ashanti: Ultimately, it’s always about authentic networking for me. I’m looking to cultivate relationships on the music scene, so meeting different musicians, producers and artists of all kinds is the main goal.
JR Valrey: Can you explain how you first became exposed to African music and dance?
Marisha Ashanti: Honestly, and this is going to sound so corny, but I took a Djembe drumming class as a teen, haha. I didn’t really start appreciating and blasting Afro Beats – and again this is going to sound corny, but I’m being honest – until Wiz Kids latest album “Made in Lagos” hit the scene in the states.
I hate that it took me so long to find Davido, Burna Boy and Tems, but you can’t deny these are timeless vibes. That fusion of jazz and Afrobeats is just magic.
JR Valrey: Besides music, what do you want to see or accomplish in Ghana?
Marisha Ashanti: I want to see some history in connection to the Trans Atlantic slave trade. I am trying to see what that food is hitting on! And I wouldn’t mind seeing what the art scene looks like.
JR Valrey: How could people help you financially, if they are inspired to do so?
Marisha Ashanti: Any donations are welcome! I am available on Cash App, Venmo , as well as Apple Pay!
JR Valrey: When is the tour?
Marisha Ashanti: The tour is Dec. 22, 2021, to Jan. 4, 2022.
JR Valrey: How can people stay online with you and your music?
Marisha Ashanti: I can be found on all major streaming platforms under Marisha Ashanti. Follow me on IG @marisha_ashanti. And for a deeper look, check out my current project and cool behind-the-scenes footage on my YouTube page under the name Marisha Ashanti! Thank you for all the love and support!
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. Visit www.BlackNewWorldMedia.com to read more.