ep 22 

Africa Week!

Sam Okyere on Abnormal Summit
South Korea (2014)

To end off Africa Week, I wanna talk about the remarkable success story of Sam Okyere, a Ghanaian university student who’s become a really famous Korean TV celebrity:

Ghanaian television personality Sam Okyere, 24, is not afraid to admit that he stands out on Korean TV shows because of his race and skin colour.

Speaking over the phone from Seoul, Okyere says: “If I’m frank, it’s because I’m black. There have not been too many black entertainers on Korean TV.

“Just for the fact that I speak Korean, I love their culture, I want to bond with the people. I want to do something that a normal foreigner wouldn’t. I think that’s what Koreans want.”

(Okyere is being too humble. He’s also been successful because he’s hella fine.)

Sam Okyere
South Korea (2014)

Okyere arrived in Seoul in 2009 on a Korean government scholarship to pursue a computer engineering degree at Sogang University. He graduated earlier this year [2014].

So far, being a foreigner has worked to Okyere’s advantage and earned him TV gigs… he recalls earlier appearances where he was on the receiving end of jokes about his African heritage.

“The jokes get old. The period of ‘Oh I thought Africans run after lions and run in the jungle’ is slowly coming to an end. People are realising that people from Africa are not like that. They realise that Africans live their lives just like they do,” says Okyere.

Sam Okyere in Nike advertisement
South Korea (c. 2014)

The verbose Okyere has big dreams beyond a TV career. He hopes to do his part as a “black representative” and create awareness about his home country and adopted home South Korea.

He says: “I get fan mail from people all over the world. Just the fact that they want to visit Ghana, it’s big for me.”

He has already got his first official appointment as an ambassador to promote seaweed from the small fishing town of Wando in South Korea.

He says with glee: “I love to eat seaweed. I ate a lot on the show Island Village Teachers. It was an honour to be made an ambassador.”

He’s been pretty busy since then. He’s also been in a movie called Intimate Enemies:

Sam Okyere and Hyeon-kyeong Ryu in Intimate Enemies
South Korea (2015)

… and he’s trained with the Korean army in a reality TV show called Real Men:

Sam Okyere in Real Men
South Korea (2015)

(That bit is cute because it’s when his mother and sisters come and visit him.)

And he’s now in a TV drama called Moorim School, where he plays the security officer of some elite high school where the male students keep getting shirtless.

Sam Okyere in Moorim School
South Korea (2016)

He’s really out to represent. And according to him, culture is flowing both ways:

During the broadcast, a female guest from Ghana revealed that she is a fan of Super Junior’s Siwon. After hearing this, Sam Okyere pointed out, “Lee Min Ho is the most popular in Ghana.”

He then added, “My cousin came to Korea after seeing Rain,” explaining that singer-actor Rain also holds popularity in Ghana.

However, he revealed that his cousin was met with disappointment once she actually arrived in Korea, as the male population was not what she had expected.

Awwww. Anyway, follow Sam on Instagram here. He really is adorbs.


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