Shaheera Asante

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Shaheera Efua Shama-Solomon Asante (born 1966 in London) is a United Kingdom radio and television presenter.

Early life[edit]

Her mother is from Guyana with Brazilian heritage and her father was from Ghana.[1] Her parents met at Cambridge University whilst studying obstetrics (mother) and law (father).

Her official Ghanaian title is ‘Nana’ Princess Shaheera Asante.[citation needed] Her late father Victor Laurence Kweku Shama-Solomon, was a chief, lawyer and later judge in Sekondi-Takoradi (1973–2004),[citation needed] and her grandmother was Queen mother Oyemun of Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan District, in the Western Region of Ghana, West Africa[citation needed]. This area of Africa still remains, in many areas, a matrilineal society.

Asante grew up in the United Kingdom, Guyana, Ghana and Canada;[1] in her later teens her mother re-married and emigrated to Alberta, Canada where Asante studied Humanities at University of Alberta.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1993 she began working as a music and entertainment television presenter in Canada working for Citytv, Much Music, Vancouver Television and Rogers Cable TV, where in 1995 she produced and presented various entertainment and music programmes including her own programme World Music Express the first dedicated world music show of its kind in North America at the time.[1]

During the show’s three year run, many of Africa's top musicians were featured and interviewed including Manu Dibango, Baaba Maal, Oumou Sangare, Angelique Kidjo and Femi Kuti. The series earned her a Best Ethnic and Cultural Expression TV Series Award, two years running in 1996 and 1997 respectively, from the Cable Television Awards in New York.[1]

In 1997 Asante was appointed cultural director of Vancouver's Web Cafe arts centre.[2] Asante returned to the United Kingdom in 2000, and became a presenter for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and also presented and edited BBC on-line Africa content music programmes including Africa On Your Street.[1][3]

In summer 2005, Asante curated several high-profile exhibits for Africa 05, to promote more positive images of Africa in the UK. She created 'Ghana 50' and 'Forward Africa' two large scale contemporary curatorial exhibitions, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to which music producer Quincy Jones attended the opening. She has also lectured on Contemporary African Art and Society at the Hayward Gallery in London and continues to be a creative pioneer for contemporary African culture. In March 2007, Asante took part in Resistance and Remembrance, an event at the British Museum to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.[4]

An apparent decision by the BBC to temporary replace her on one of the Late Junction programmes in 2006 was criticised in The Times by Paul Donovan, "Asante, 39, was incensed to be told by e-mail on March 1 by the show’s boss, the producer Andrew Kurowski, that for her next scheduled programme she would not be covering for the regular presenters, Verity Sharp and Fiona Talkington, but would be temporarily replaced by Mark Russell, who had not been a presenter of the programme since 2002. She regards the stated reasons as spurious." to this comment the BBC stated “To our knowledge, Shaheera hasn’t made these accusations to us. She has not been on a contract, but no decision has been made to take her off Late Junction, or the network, and she may well appear on it again.”[5]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Radio 3 Presenters - Shaheers Asante". BBC. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Vancouver's Web Cafe is 'wired to the max'" (subscription required). Hamilton Spectator, archived at LexisNexis (Hamilton, Ontario: Toronto Star Newspapers). 7 December 1996. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Africa On Your Street - Hosts". BBC. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Resistance and Remembrance". British Museum. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Donovan, Paul (26 March 2006). "Radio Waves: Paul Donovan: In the firing line". The Times (London: Times Newspapers). Retrieved 25 February 2010.