Rhythms of the Globe is producing Akwaaba (“Welcome”), an urban romantic comedy reflecting the multi-faceted fabric of Ghanaian life. Set in present day Ghana, Akwaaba chronicles a young woman's self-discovery through the culture of an Africa most people have never seen or heard.


In the tradition of "The Harder They Come", "Saturday Night Fever" and “Once” – unique in contemporary music and story, a vehicle for a specific genre of music, and the ability to reach beyond the genre to attract a global audience – Akwaaba is a platform for African music and culture.

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote about the many recent films portraying Africa as a place of corruption, violence, and disease: “It is exhausting having your conscience pricked so regularly.” Yet, Africa possesses enormous diversity and cultural richness that rarely is depicted by the media. What better way to represent a new, emerging Africa than through a romantic comedy featuring contemporary music and culture – a positive rendering of Africa, with no violence, disease, corruption or elephants!


An urban romantic comedy based on a true story, Akwaaba follows Gwen, a young American white woman who travels to Ghana because Ghanaian music touched her heart when she was young. Just fired from her job as an assistant at a record company in NYC, Gwen decides to visit Ghana, where she gets involved in the music business, working with a band that wants to establish a presence outside of West Africa.

Going through the usual ups and downs of a romantic comedy, with the added dynamic of Gwen being in very different cultural surroundings, she is able to obtain showcases in New York and Los Angeles, and a world tour. (When the movie is released, the band(s) actually will be on tour). Most importantly, Gwen finds what she is seeking in Ghana, inspiration in the people and in the music that will change her life.


The timeliness for Akwaaba is demonstrated by a confluence of events:

  • Thanks to its stable currency, the cedi, and pro-business government, Ghana has emerged as a preferred option for western investors looking for African investment opportunities. allAfrica
  • Ghana will be the fastest-growing economy in the world this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Bloomberg, April 10, 2019.
  • ““Black Panther,” “Wonder Woman,” “Us,” “Captain Marvel,” and “Crazy Rich Asians” proved that audiences want to see themselves represented on screen. Making movies that feature people of color and women in the lead role isn’t just a moral good, it’s good for business.” Variety, April 4, 2019.
  • Boomplay, Africa’s biggest streaming platform with 5.6 million users, recently raised $20 million to continue its rapid expansion on the continent and signed license agreements with Warner Music and Universal Music. Billboard, April 5, 2019.
  • Ticket sales in the U.S. climbed 7% to top out at a record $11.9 billion and the global home entertainment business increased by 16% to reach $55.7 billion last year. Variety, March 21, 2019.
  • Outsiders have noticed that the [African] continent is important and becoming more so, not least because of its growing share of the global population. Governments and businesses from all around the world are rushing to strengthen diplomatic, strategic and commercial ties. This creates vast opportunities. The Economist (Cover Story), March 7, 2019.
  • Netflix Is the Most Intoxicating Portal to Planet Earth – Instead of trying to sell American ideas to a foreign audience, it’s aiming to sell international ideas to a global audience. The New York Times, February 22, 2019.
  • For Amazon Studios, “international productions are such an important of its business”, and its “strategy is to diversify storytelling and reach a more international community”. Variety, February 13, 2019.
  • ONE PLANET UNDER A GROOVE: Reggaeton, dancehall, baile funk, afrobeats and other diasporic styles are mixing faster than ever – without much help from the U.S. music industry. Rolling Stone, October 17, 2018.
  • Universal Music Group is making a big expansion into West Africa, including a major Universal Music Nigeria division. Digital Music News, July 17, 2018.
  • Black Panther "... has challenged the myth that films with predominately black casts don't sell ..." – Huffington Post, March 10, 2018.
  • Labels are looking to Africa for the next Global Pop Star, highlighting Universal Music's recent purchase of a majority stake in Kenya's AL Record – Billboard, March 9, 2018.
  • Kendrick Lamar's "Black Panther: The Album", Number One on Billboard's Top 200 "... is Pan-African in scope" -- "all songs considered" -- NPR, February 21, 2018.
  • Roundtables at the American Film Market Conference include an initiative to further the development and promotion of the African film industry for films produced in Africa with cross-cultural appeal.
  • The whispers among those in the know are saying that Accra is the next big hotspot for African cultural production. Afripedia, February 2016.
  • Sony Music announced the opening of an office in Lagos, Nigeria, the first step towards establishing a footprint in a West African market that “… has huge growth potential”, and last year Universal announced a five-year plan to expand into the market. Billboard, February 29, 2016.
  • On August 8, 2015 Hiplife made its New York debut at a sold-out Apollo Theater in New York City with a concert featuring the Ghanaian Hiplife star Sarkodie. “The Apollo is an exciting way for the Ghanaian artists to reach out to broader audiences and to enter into the American mainstream musical consciousness,” The New York Times, quoting Jesse Weaver Shipley, a professor of anthropology at Haverford College.
  • The growing recognition of “African Creative Industries: The Sleeping Giant”. African Business.
  • The Financial Times recognizes Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry, as a US$250 million industry.
  • There is a newfound energy in the Ghanaian creative communities, whose work in film reaches the same Nollywood market.
  • An expanding global audience interested in different cultural experiences is rapidly emerging, and Akwaaba showcases an Africa many have never seen, with a contemporary story told through contemporary Ghanaian music and culture.
  • New distribution platforms allow access to these expanding audiences. Now, “… five smart guys can do a movie for a massive [global] audience without a huge distribution network … [t]there’s a great opportunity for someone there.” Carl Icahn, Time Magazine.
  • “The 56th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony reflected a changed music business in which top celebrities command constant attention yet a monster hit can come from anywhere.” The New York Times, January 27, 2014.


The proven, ready markets for Akwaaba comprise a cross-section of traditional demographics: those interested in the new global sounds; Nollywood’s (Nigeria’s $200 million film industry) expanding audiences in Africa and in North America, the UK, and Europe; audiences interested in inventive, independent films featuring music and exploring different cultures; and audiences liking romantic comedies.

As the film is being made, these markets will be targeted with information about the film and its music, setting the stage to attract a global audience for the film, the music, touring and merchandising.


Laurence Singer

Producer and Music Supervisor

Akwaaba is being developed for Rhythms of the Globe by Laurence Singer, who is serving as...


King Ampaw


King Ampaw is the director. King studied filmmaking in Ghana and Europe, and has achieved...


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Laurence Singer
Phone: 1 646 327-8772