First World Music: Akenataa Hammagaadji

Akenataa Hammagaadji, the person behind the online African music radio program, First World Music, was born in Monrovia, Liberia.
His mother had immigrated to the U.S. Virgin Islands, and sent for her children when Akenataa was 12 years old. Later they moved to the continental United States.
After attending college, he hosted an African music program for 12 years on Columbia University's WKCR station. Nine years ago he started working on his current show on WVKR, showcasing musicians from the entire African continent, known and unknown.
What keeps him going? There is much negative news out of Africa, and much of it is nor untrue; but his goal is to highlight the positive & beautiful: "Something from our heritage. Melodies, lyrics & instruments that are our own intellectual property."
As per his website, among the goals of the radio program is: "to promote African artists to that they can be rewarded for the music (...). We hope that by airing music music of African artists, some royalties will accrue to them which will help them live in dignity, care for their families and build their community." First World Music plays music from the entire African diaspora, including musicians from Brasil, Haiti, Perou...
Hugh Masekela, South Africa

Thione Seck, Senegal

Akenataa's personal goal is to own his own online radio station in the future. In the meantime, he also works in the hospitality industry as a waiter, party planner, and DJ, in the Hudson Valley (New York State).His influences? "My mother and maternal grandmother & maternal aunts are big influences on my life. I hear my grandmother's voice whenever I am thinking of doing something that degrades my humanity or brings harm to another person. She stops me from the grave."
Miliki Music, Nigeria
By the way--if you miss the show on Sunday at 9pm, you can listen to it the next day: visit

Julius Essoka, Cameroon


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