The acting Director of the National Folklore Board, Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante, has revealed the reason why the Board wrote to Marvel Studios over the ‘Adinkra’ clothe used in Marvel blockbuster movie – ‘Black Panther’ – was to protect Ghana’s folklore.
She also noted that it was to ensure that Ghana gets the due credit for the usage of the nation’s folklore.
Speaking on Asaase Radio’s ‘Between Hours’, she revealed that Disney has copyrighted the Swahili phrase, ‘Hakuna Ma Tata’ and the Board did not want this to happen in Ghana’s case.
“Hakuna Ma Tata has now been copyrighted and to add, should I say, insult to injury, now technically Kenyans and all Swahili speaking countries need permission from Disney to use Hakuna Ma Tata in certain context and that’s what we don’t want, we want to prevent that,” she said.
Nana Asante told show host, Naa Ashorkor, that, “the statutory fees that are payable for use of our folklore outside the customary context is peanut” so the Board is not about money but rather to protect Ghana’s folklore.
“Rebirth” of the Folklore Board
She also said that American comedian and actor Kevin Hart wore kente and was portrayed in the movie ‘Ride Along II’ as a Nigerian Prince, because the producers of the film “did not come for permission to use” the kente.
The acting Director attributed this happening to the fact that “unfortunately while the Folklore Board has been in existence since 2005… it was not until His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo became president that the institution saw a rebirth.”
According to her, the Board has since “done a lot of sensitization” doing “a lot to sensitize people on the fact that they need to seek permission” before using Ghanaian folklore.
This sensitization she believes is “the reason why we got a response from the producers of Black Panther” because according to her, the “institution is becoming more and more popular… more relevant in the scene.”
Nana Abena Boakye-Boateng