Rapper Marisha Ashanti Rocked D’Wayne Wiggins Most Recent Tour to Ghana
By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information
I assisted in helping to organize D’Wayne Wiggins from Tony, Toni, Tone’s tour to Ghana, West Africa in July and in December of 2021. On the most recent tour, which went from the end of December to the beginning of January, rapper and singer Marisha Ashanti was the up and coming star from the Bay Area who was picked to display the artistry of northern California, in particular. She rocked stages and wrote a song for Yaa Pono, one of Ghana’s popular Afro-beat/Hip-Life artists, who has been regularly touring with D’Wayne Wiggins in Ghana, for many years. She also got to experience the centuries old and current-day culture and history of Ghana, alongside her husband. Here is her reportback.
JR Valrey: How did you get the opportunity to tour Ghana with D’Wayne Wiggins of Tony, Toni, Tone and what were your expectations?
Marisha Ashanti: I had been in conversation with you about going to Africa. We talked about it a couple times in passing. Every time I would be super clear that I was serious, and the next time you went I wanted to go. You knew I could sing so you put me on when the opportunity presented itself. The rest is history. I really didn’t have any expectations. I was just grateful for the opportunity and knew any mic I got my hands on while I was there, I was going to set on fire. (Spoiler Alert: I did just that.)
JR Valrey: What were some of your thoughts when you and your husband spent your first day on the ground in Ghana? What did y’all do?
Marisha Ashanti: The first day is a blur. It felt like a dream. I just kept staring at the people and the things around me. We were so lit, it wasn’t even funny. You could feel our joy from a mile away. We hopped off the plane, and the first thing we did was head to a club to meet up with everyone else. It was a party from start to finish. I barely made it through the trip. Ghana knows how to party. They party til the sun comes up, and then go get breakfast, and party some more!
JR Valrey: What was it like connecting with D’Wayne Wiggins in Ghana initially?
Marisha Ashanti: It was amazing. I had never chilled with him until the tour, and he really laid the game out for me. He introduced me to some beautiful people. He is a class act for-sure. It was definitely a blessing to get to know him better. In a way he made me feel like my dreams are closer than they appeared. It was an experience to say the least.
JR Valrey: What was the D’Wayne Wiggins tour daily itinerary like?
Marisha Ashanti: Oh man, we preformed pretty much every night, except for when we went to Sankofa Beach to prepare for the festival. We had like three days on this resort where we just chilled and chopped it up. Man that life was amazing. I could do that for the rest of my life; performing and seeing the world. It was like a dream come true!!!
JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about what you thought of the music scene there?
Marisha Ashanti: The music scene there was crazy! It’s like nothing I ever experienced. Like I said, the music is sooo captivating! At times I didn’t know what they were saying, but that never stopped me from dancing. It’s almost like I didn’t have a choice. The music wouldn’t allow you to stay still.
JR Valrey: Can you talk about working with Ghanaian star musician Yaa Pono?
Marisha Ashanti: Man this was a definite highlight of the trip. We got to see him perform one night. Of course he was fire. When I was introduced to him, I was introduced as a writer. He looked at me and said write me a song. I said “say less”. The next morning I wrote him a song, about my home girl’s one night stand. Just like that I became an international songwriter. Like I said, Ghana was magical. Yaa Pono was cool doe. Very cool dude.
JR Valrey: What was your favorite part about the whole trip?
Marisha Ashanti: I think my favorite part is that we performed in a city called Elmina. And the next morning we eat breakfast at this place called Mabel’s Table! OMG THE FOOOD WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. No cap! Sooo good. But the company was even better. Me and my husband sat and learned so much from this Black Rabi. He was one of the wisest men I have met in my lifetime. He had so much information about Africa before colonialism. It was by far the highlight of my trip.
JR Valrey: How was it for you to share a life changing tour like this with your husband? What were his thoughts on the trip?
Marisha Ashanti: Man, I love traveling the word with that man. I’d go to war against the world behind Nigel. We had each other’s back so we always felt safe. Going to the grocery store with him is fun, so you can only imagine how much fun we had together. He’s just a class act, so having this experience with him is priceless. I’m blessed and when I count my blessings I count him twice.
This is what he thought about the trip “I was just happy to be there. Seeing Africa for the first time was the shxt!! I want to go back and move there. It’s a reason they call Ghana the gateway to Africa.”
JR Valrey: When are you going back? And why did you make such a connection with Ghana?
Marisha Ashanti: We will be back in 2023 to make some money moves at the ports. I feel like the connection was made so quick and solid because I was surrounded by people that looked like me. I went to Ghana with an open heart. My heart was so full when I left. It felt so good to return.
JR Valrey: What are you currently working on musically?
Marisha Ashanti: So currently I got my new single “Its You” dropping in March! It’s the final single drop of “Mixtape Soul”, then I’ll be releasing a fashion show/music video. My blog explains the whole process and BTS on YouTube.
Photos in Ghana provided by Marisha Ashanti