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Joselyn Dumas on portraying strong African women

When you think of a strong black woman on TV, one who commands attention by just batting an eyelid, Viola Davis often springs to mind. But for Ghanaians, who swear by the power of Adams Apples, Joselyn Dumas is the woman you think of first.

Once a paralegal, Joselyn caught her big break when she landed her first major role as Jennifer Adams in Adams Apple. “Since it was my big break, most people remember me by Adams Apples than any other project I have done,” says Joselyn. But it’s certainly not the only project Joselyn has been involved in. We sat down with Joselyn to talk a bit more about her career.

You studied Administrative Law in college, what made you venture into acting?

Acting is something that has always been in me – my paternal grandmother was in the arts. She was a lecturer in Performing Arts at the University of Ghana, so acting is something that I couldn’t run away from. It’s something that I’ve always loved and I knew that I could be good at it if I put my mind to it. But I realised that I couldn’t just do it while working in a law firm. So it just happened, it was planned at all.

Do you ever miss your career in law?

I miss the structure sometimes – for instance knowing exactly when you’re getting paid. Also being part of a team that brings some kind of justice gave me some fulfillment. But it was time to move on and I don’t have any regrets at all.

How did you make the transition, did you go to film school?

Acting came naturally for me, by the grace of God. After my first audition for a TV show, I got a call back the next day. I thought it was for a second audition but they put me right on TV as the new host. When I got the job I was still working in a law firm. I started to produce the show as well after taking advice from my then TV boss. I was involved in the research, choosing the guests, locations and everything else that would make the show a success.

That’s when I really transitioned because I was sort of running away from work at the law firm to go on location. I weighed my options and decided to actually invest in TV.

Tell us more about your role in Shampaign?

Shirley Frimpong, who’s the writer and director of Shampaign, wanted to move away from the stereotypical way of portraying the African woman. The character that I play, Naana, is an ambitious single mother who wants to become the first female president in Ghana. Usually when you are a single mother you can’t run for office without some backlash from your opponents which this show tackles. It’s not only Naana’s character that is moving forward, she has a team that is relentless and is working hard to make sure that she comes out the best. And of course, you have the opposition who highlight the things female politicians go through in Africa. The show is driving the idea that anything is possible if you work hard at it. It portrays a lot of strength in women.

Playing a female politician in such a male-dominated career, what was going through your mind at the time?

I was very excited when Shirley told me about this role because I’ve had instances where I wish that people would just go beyond the hips and see what else I’m doing. I do a lot of philanthropic work and I have a television show. I was a bit hard on myself when I accepted the role because I really wanted to nail it. I wanted to prove to everybody else that anything a man can do, a woman can do if they put their mind to it. It doesn’t always have to be a competition; there is enough room for everybody. I had played many roles but I had never played a serious one. I read about politics, watched The Good Wife and paid attention to everything about Alicia Florrick, her mannerisms, body language and movements. Since I am very animated when I talk, I needed to learn how to tone down a few things because this was a different environment. I needed to embody the character and make it as believable as I can.

How challenging was it, trying to nail that political persona?

It was quite challenging, I am a very smiley person and my character Naana had to be serious all the time. Dealing with your teenage son’s issues, the state of affairs, your political ambition and then your love life, it’s a rollercoaster. But it was great, I had fun shooting it and I felt like I was learning on the job as well.

Let’s talk about Adams Apples and its impact on your career as an actor.
Adams Apples came at a time when nobody took me seriously enough as an actor to give me a role because I was a TV host. I auditioned about six times because Shirley Frimpong (the director) wasn’t sure where to place me at first. I eventually got the role and decided that I was going to challenge myself to be the best that I can be. I studied my character Jennifer Adams; I would call Shirley late at night to discuss the character. I was so excited because she had given me a chance when nobody did and I didn’t want to let her and myself down. The role made people take me seriously. Of course there was some negativity; some people thought I was very rude because of the character I played. Maybe because I played the character too well, people could not separate the character Jennifer from Joselyn.

Other than your TV and movie roles, you currently host your own show At Home with Joselyn Duma, how did this show come about?

It came about when I came in contact with Michael Djaba who had an amazing concept about a show that entertains people while also making them feel at home. After watching my other talk show, The One Show, he saw a witty side to me that people don’t really see and At Home with Joselyn Dumas was born. It’s a very conversational talk show where we are all just having a good time.

You make hosting seem so easy, any challenges?

I had a guest on a new show (which I was recording a few months ago) and we had a prior conversation about what she was going to say. But once the camera started rolling, she couldn’t say anything. That is always the most difficult thing for every host, when the guest isn’t forthcoming. Sometimes it’s not because they are trying to be mean, they are probably just camera shy or they just freeze. Those are some of the moments I start panicking because I know the conversation I’ve had with this person when the camera is not rolling. I know how much it would impact other people if they are able to say it on camera, and I just don’t want to force it out of them. It is the most difficult situation. I face it every now and then but as a host you need to find a way of making them feel relaxed.

What’s the hardest role you’ve ever played?

It has to be Kwaaley in Love or Something Like That. I needed to take myself into a dark place in order to show my character’s emotions. It was not a matter of snapping in and out of it, I had to stay like that for six weeks while we were shooting. Most of the time, my character was very emotional and that was very challenging. I am a very happy person so finding that sad place is hard, staying there is even harder.

What qualifies as a no-go zone for you when accepting a role?

Since I am an artist as well, if the role I am given is telling a powerful story, I am not going to say no. I wouldn’t go completely nude but if it is a powerful enough role that is going to send a powerful message out there, I don’t know why I should say no to that.

Which famous actor do you draw inspiration from?

There are quite a few I love, veterans like Julie Andrews and Helen Mirren but when it comes to the younger ones, I think Charlize Theron is such an amazing actress. Lately, I am falling in love with Viola Davis, she is very powerful on screen.

What about a popular show you’d like to star in?

Queen Sugar and Power. Power is just so realistic, there are times when I am watching it and I wish to be part of it. I get so envious. 50 Cent better write me in, because I can’t take any role from the other actors, they all play it so well.

Any thoughts on internet streaming services like Showmax since your three shows – Shampaign, Adams Apples, At Home with Joselyn Dumas and movie Love or Something Like That – are currently on the platform?

I think it’s the future and I am so happy to be a part of this new wave. I’ve had fans from Jamaica stopping me in the mall to gush over my shows and fans from Guam sending me emails to tell me how much they loved my movie. That is what the internet does, it bring us all together by taking our products all over the world. When someone stops me at the airport to tell me how Love or Something Like That made them cry and pushed them to take an HIV test, that gives me great satisfaction. So thank God for internet streaming services like Showmax where people can stream and enjoy the magic we are creating in these parts. It can only get better from here.

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Entertainment

See Photos: Ex President Rawlings Shows Cooking Skills On Yvonne Okoro’s TV Sow

Season 3 Season 3 of Yvonne Okoro’s cooking show, ‘Dining With’ will start airing on Ghone TV this Sunday January 21 at 4pm.

The show promises to be exciting as it features an array of great personalities including former President Rawlings who will be showing off his cooking prowess. It is the first time he is ever appeared on a cooking show. Other personalities like Hon.

Kennedy Agyapong, Kwaw Kese, Lydia Forson, Aplus, Afia Schwarzenegger and Nigerian male Barbie Bobrisky will also be on the show. The likes of controversial counsellor George Lutterodt and sibling stars Sister Debbie and Wanluv Kubolor are some of the personalities to also look out for.

The award winning show does not only engages personalities who pass through to try cooking their favourite meals but also discuss other topical issues of the day and funny quiz moments.

Hosted by Yvonne Okoro, Dining With is produced by Desamour Company Ltd and Directed by Shirley Frimpong Manso. The third season is dubbed ‘Cooks & Braggarts’ just as the second season and it will be showing on GHone TV on Sundays at 4:00pm. It is sponsored by KLEANZ products a product of Ghandour Cosmetics and Alvaro a product of Guinness Ghana LTD.

 

(more…)

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Celebrities

Komla Dumor’s wife shares photo of kids as she remembers husband’s demise

Kwansema Dumor, the wife of late Ghanaian prolific broadcaster Komla Dumor, has shared a lovely photo of her three children all grown up.

The late Komla Dumor has been given a posthumous tribute by his wife and children, four years after his demise.

Wife of the late journalist, Kwamsema Dumor, took to social media to share photos of their fully grown three children. Mrs Dumor bore three beautiful daughters with her husband before his demise and she decided to pay tribute to him in the loveliest of ways.

The photos were accompanied by the words: “1Cor 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. “We love you Komla and remember you always!” It’s been exactly four years since Komla Dumor passed on after reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest.

The ace broadcaster died in London on January 18, 2014, having been an employee of the BBC before his demise. Komla Dumor also once worked with Joy FM, where he was the host of the Super Morning Show.

 

 

 

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Entertainment

There’s no rapper bigger than Sarkodie from Ghana – Cassper Nyovest

South African rapper, Cassper Nyovest, seem to have unintentionally waded in the popular conversation that has been running for quite a while now on the Ghanaian music scene on who is the biggest rapper in Ghana.

The South African rapper who won the Best Hip Hop act award at the just concluded Soundcity MVPs shared his thoughts on the issues of Hip Hop music on the continent said most African rappers are unable to cross from their territory to conquer the rest of the continent.

Cassper who was speaking during an interview in Nigeria said regardless of how big artistes are in their home country, they are hardly able to make it as big in other countries.

The “Doc Shebaleza” crooner explained that hip hop is not an African sound but obtained from Americans while also expressing optimism that Africans will one day find their own hip hop sound which will be peculiar to them.

Speaking on the domination of the South African music on the continent, Cassper said;

“South African Hip-hop is in the forefront of African Hip-hop in general. It might not be as popular as it is in South Africa in Nigeria. But I know for a fact that the rappers from Nigeria are kinda unknown in SA. If we talk about crossing over, I know that a lot of people in Nigeria know about my music. I know that in Kenya and Ghana it’s the same thing”. He stated

He further added that, “I’m not just talking about me, I’m talking about the movement. Sarkodie is big in Ghana, but are there other rappers who are as big as Sarkodie from Ghana? The South African Hip-hop movement is big across, also in London, New York…we are out there performing in different countries.

Me saying that might offend people here. They might feel that I’m taking shots at Nigerian music. But that’s not the deal. If we are to discuss in terms of numbers and appeal across the world, it’s just the way it is”. He concluded

 

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