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How Ras Nene is Helping Shape Kumawood

The conversations on whether Dr Likee is funny or not are as divisive as could be, but I guess he wouldn’t mind a tad bit with the numerous endorsement deals and commercials that have come his way in the last year or two. 

Kumawood (Kumasi-based Ghanaian movie industry) amidst all its visible flaws, was great entertainment. Every Kumawood movie that I had sat through, out of my free will, was not for the moral lessons that they seemed to portray, the everyday life stories that were their very existence or at its later stages, the American-style action movies that were crowned by bad CGI. I was always there for the comedy.

Unfortunately for the industry, the bad things (not the negative tags) came to outweigh the good. And the industry hit a plump.

Ras Nene has been a part of the movie industry since 2009. His role in movies as sparse as they were, was limited to the show of strength, playing the gangster, armed robber and bodyguard roles. His physique and hairstyle (rasta) made him an easy typecast. Today, he has assumed different names; Dr Likee and Akabenezer are the most common, but the most remarkable thing is that his legacy has completely changed. How important has this change been?

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Trigmatic was a great rapper before he transitioned fully into singing and radio. At the time, he felt that was the best course of action for his career considering the music industry in Ghana. The great Cristiano Ronaldo has had to model his game to stay consistent over a long career span.

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For Ras Nene, he was pushed by circumstances and fate to be something different.

With the collapse of the movie industry and the pandemic in 2020, Ras Nene pushed to do the unlikeliest of things you would expect from a machismo actor, and the more people doubted and looked down on him, the more he got hooked.

From 2020 till date, it could be earlier, Dr Likee has led the charge for Kumawood actors who have had to migrate to short skits on YouTube to survive an industry that had reached a peak and couldn’t innovate beyond it. To say this had been an easy feat for him would be dishonest. For stars like Kwadwo Nkansah Lil Win, Akrobeto and Kwaku Manu who started one thing or another on YouTube, they already had the name and appeal, so whether it was celebrity interviews as Kwaku Manu ventured or random skits from Akrobeto, there was already a keen audience. There was no reference for the comedy or marketability of Ras Nene, and he had to make himself look stupid so to speak before being accepted as a comedian if he is even fully accepted.

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Dr Likee took what was great about Kumawood and owned it. He created a comedy that was consistent with himself, for somebody who doesn’t look funny, he had to try out different things and be different people before he finally became Dr Likee we enjoy now. Today, for all the channels on YouTube that he works with with his team, he is the major item. The constant Tom and Jerry battles between himself and Kyekyeku with 39-40 have become characteristic of the crew. But that is not all they are made of. They tell stories akin to the people of Kumasi and their surroundings, they portray love and family in their skits and dig deep into the Ghanaian moral stockpile to educate us as was with Kumawood. Dr Likee and his team are not afraid to infuse both trending and general topics to add spice to their skits. This is why there is a funny Dr Likee skit for every situation.

The great thing about the unassuming, the ones who are given less attention or hardly considered is, their ability to bring together similar-spirited people to create a community outside of the accepted. Soon, everyone wants to join what was once shunned.

Almost all the members of the team have a thriving comedy channel where they share content consistently and have their audience, and this is thanks to Ras Nene, who brought them under his wing. They have all been able to make something out of an unlikely person’s quest to survive, chief among them is his protégé, Kyekyeku.

Kyekyeku is the closest to Likee in talent and stardom, with some fans likening him to superstar and comedian, Lil Win because of their comedy style. His official Kyekyeku TV YouTube channel has millions of views. In the past month, Kyekyeku premiered his self-produced movie, 1957 in Kumasi and Accra, it features big stars past and present like Himself, Dr Likee, Kalsoum Sinare, Papa Kumasi, Vanessa Nicole and many others.

It is amazing the feats we can achieve when we decide to go against people’s expectations of us. Whether it is consciously like Trigmatic or due to circumstances like Dr Likee, his unselfish exploitation is helping the dry industry rise. And Kumawood is definitely on the rise. A country called Ghana by veteran Kumawood actor, Lil Win is also set to premiere on the 17th of May, and with 1957 already making waves, we can expect a grander reception (the trailer looks amazing).

The conversations on whether Dr Likee is funny or not are as divisive as could be, but I guess he wouldn’t mind a tad bit with the numerous endorsement deals and commercials that have come his way in the last year or two.  He is equally loved in the diaspora by Ghanaians who are always looking for a feel of home. Watch his skits on YouTube today and see if you like it. A pro tip, start from the latter part of 2021 from his Official Dr Likee TV or that of his affiliates, Tafo TV, Ama Ghana TV, Ghana We dey TV or Asanteman TV.

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