The Director of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, has disclosed how he facilitated an engagement between American actor Spike Lee and some institutions when the latter visited Ghana.

Speaking to Kwame Dadzie on Showbiz A-Z on Joy FM, Akwasi said he let the Spike Lee’s team speak to the Director of Creative Arts, and they also expressed interest in meeting the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture and the National Tourism Authority. 

“We did know Spike Lee was coming to Ghana shortly before he came, at a very short notice. The American officials decided to inform us that we should be getting ourselves ready and that the clear direction they wanted from us was to get an appropriate hotel to go to and to be taken from the airport to the hotel, to be welcomed at the airport, and we did precisely that,” he said.

He added that later, the American officials requested from his office that they would want Spike Lee to talk to some government officials as well.

“We had facilitated that, exactly as they wanted it. There in my office, right out when they asked for it, they were able to speak to the Director of Creative Arts, then [they] mentioned that Ministry of Tourism was going to be an interest to them, the GTA etc. So we did bring the issue up and told them what exactly they should do,” Akwasi Awuah noted.

“It was then left in the hands of the American officials to take up the execution,” he further stated. 

His comment comes on the back of a statement Spike Lee made in on Asaase Radio that no one from the film industry approached him for a meeting when he visited Ghana. 

He even said he didn’t know Ghana had a thriving film industry. 

“I know about Nigeria, and no one has approached me from the film industry in Ghana. I would love to meet people in the film industry but no one has approached me,” he said.

However, Juliet Yaa Asantewaa Asante, the Executive Director of the National Film Authority has explained when they tried reaching out to Spike Lee they were told by his personal assistant that he was busy. 

This has engendered controversy in the entertainment space. While some are lashing out at the appropriate government institutions for not being intentional about engaging celebrities who come into the country, others hold the opinion that these visitors may come for their personal business engagements so should be spared meetings that could derail the purposes of their visits to Ghana. 

Spike Lee arrived in Ghana on March 27, 2023.  

The filmmaker, born Shelton Jackson, is known for films such as ‘Malcom X’, ‘School Daze’, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and 2020 Nefilx project ‘Da 5 Bloods.’

Lee’s work has continually explored race relations, issues within the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues.