Kojo, the cultural messenger
Ron Scott | 3/21/2013, 1:24 p.m.
He spent some time in Los Angeles in 1973 and later became heavily involved in the music business as the road manager and publicist for musician-composer-producer Norman Connors from 1975-77. Woodie King Jr. gave him his first marketing job in theater (1977) at the New Federal Theater (founded by King). From there he was on his way, working with Vy Higginson's musical "Mama, I Want to Sing," the Negro Ensemble Company and as an independent on August Wilson's Broadway
He was the first African-American male to get a group sales ticket broker license in 1987. This afforded him the opportunity to get tickets off- and on Broadway for Black churches and community organizations at group discounts, as well as coordinating distribution of flyers. "For me, this is basically grassroots promotion trying to give back to the community,"
Kojo selects his projects wisely. The productions are significant and relevant to the Black community and can be a focal point of new understanding for others. "The formula for audience development applies to all arts and culture," stated Kojo. In 1979, he worked with Elombe Braithwaite and Peter Long, who were responsible for bringing Bob Marley to the Apollo Theater.
In 1987, he worked on the award-winning play "Death and the King's Horseman" by Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first African laureate. His film projects have included "Sankofa, Daughters of the Dust" by Judy Dash and "Glass Ceiling" by Charles Burnett. His current projects include the African Film Festival at Lincoln Center, the Second Company of Alvin Ailey and the National Black Arts Festival since 1996.
"We should not separate our community from the value of our culture; our culture is a part of our daily life," says Kojo. "Embracing our whole community through our arts and culture will provide us fellowship, enjoyment and self-esteem as human beings."