Ghanaian musician/entrepreneur and jack-of-all-trades Ishmael Osekre may be as he says, “just a boy from Kokomlemle,” but he’s been making cool stuff happen in the states for years. Arriving in NYC for undergraduate school at Columbia with only $30 in his pocket Ishmael ran up against the harsh realities of financing a US education and had to fund raise his way through college. He started a band, Osekre & The Lucky Bastards, toured with them briefly, curated loft parties and basement shows, and hosted breakout sessions during the height of the 285 Kent, McKibbin Lofts and Cameo Gallery era, got accepted to the Harvard innovation lab, curated festivals, started platforms to engage in conversations around community, food and culture, including the hugely popular Jollof and Pepper Soup Festivals up and down the East coast.
Ishmael has now relocated to the DC area as co-owner of the city’s newest African hot spot 1230DC Afrofusion Champagne Bar & Lounge. It’s a hip, welcoming spot where you might hear a live band, or DJs or encounter a food tasting and silent disco, basically anything that builds community is fair game for 1230DC Afrofusion. We had a chat with Ishmael about opening the spot, his work on the African food festival and got into some interesting West African geo-politics…ahem. Check it out!
[Click play at the top of this post to hear our interview with Ishmael]