Meet Sam Okyere: ‘The most well-known black colored guy in Southern Korea’


Meet Sam Okyere: ‘The most well-known black colored guy in Southern Korea’

Whenever Sam Okyere found its way to Southern Korea to analyze, he had been met with racism. But he discovered ways to transform their negative experiences into good ones, creating a title for himself as being a television personality that is popular.


To numerous audiences in Southern Korea, Sam’s performing voice is hugely familiar. You will find him on a number of the nation’s many variety that is famous and he also has their own radio slot. He raps in English and South Korean and quite often in the indigenous Ghanaian language Twi. He has become referred to as ‘the most well-known black guy of South Korea. although he had been created and raised in Ghana,’

Sam can scarcely walk the roads of Seoul without getting stopped by individuals requesting autographs. Luckily for us it really is reasonably peaceful during the juice club within the downtown that is popular region of this money where he agrees to meet up.

«It is crazy,» he explains. «there are occasions that i must wear a cap and a mask. People from different age ranges are coming as much as me. We have actually got grandmas coming up to me personally, i have got infants coming up to me personally, adults, high schoolers, folks from different age brackets coming as much as me personally requesting autographs. If someone might have said after some duration ago that that would take place, i might have stated: No, that is not feasible.»

Sam Okeyere has numerous fans in Southern Korea whom prefer to ask him for autographs regarding the road

Sam first set base on Korean soil nine years back. In the past he encountered a reality that is totally different. Sam relocated from Ghana to Korea as an element of a scholarship to examine computer engineering. At first, life right right right here was not really easy.

«Of program at that moment, Koreans had been much less ready to accept various kinds of individuals from different places, they certainly were not very subjected to various events and differing cultures.» As somebody who had not actually skilled racism formerly, he states it had been burdensome for him to understand. «People would freely show up to you and state actually bad things like ‘You black colored monkey, return to for which you originate from.’ And quite often you head to an accepted destination and people do not wish to stay close to you. Like, which was heart-breaking.»

Sam claims he to be realn’t ready because of this sort of therapy.

«I became like, wow! it surely hit me for the time that is first racism is genuine,» Sam elaborates. «It had been constantly kind of an idea that did not actually occur for me personally. We read about this but never experienced it until We stumbled on Korea. To ensure that really opened my eyes as to what racism is.»

South-Korea the most countries that are ethnically homogeneous the whole world. Over 99 % of South Koreans identify as ethnically Korean. Foreigners have actually just begun going to your peninsula extremely recently. Sam believes that this is really one of many explanations when it comes to racism. «In a means, since they are maybe not familiar with that, they have intimidated therefore the effect they have makes them seem to be racist,» he states. «But frequently it’s not too, it is simply simple lack of knowledge and not enough publicity.»

In the beginning Sam had been really annoyed by this therapy. But he recognized which wasn’t planning to assist him into the long haul. He knew it had been useless getting trying and angry to battle back. He chose to learn the language because language is often an important section of settling directly into a culture that is new. And thus he set to your workplace.

«when you learn the language, you are feeling as if you’re part of the folks and also the individuals feel you are a section of them. Learning Korean really had been the essential difference between ‘my black colored buddy Sam’ and ‘my friend Sam’,» he states smiling.

As their popularity expanded, Sam knew he needed seriously to deal with the problem of racism

When he had learned the language, he quickly made a lot of Korean buddies. But their life actually began to alter when he joined the Korean activity company. He started out with little functions in commercials but he ultimately got their break that is big on variety show called ‘Abnormal Summit.’ following this, he starred in more variety programs, got functions in television and from now on also has their radio that is own show. To start with he had been astonished, then pleased, to find out that he had gain popularity.

As their popularity expanded, Sam made a decision to use this platform to start out handling the nagging issue of racism on nationwide television. Speaking in proficient Korean he told a tale in regards to the time whenever a girl in the coach raced that he was about to sit in towards him and took the empty seat. She blocked him with her legs, while swearing at him and telling him to «go back into their nation.» He quickly noticed this is a as a type of blatant discrimination.

Their tale had the required impact and touched the hearts of several South Koreans. He claims for many people it absolutely was a wake-up call.

«a lot of people composed in my experience, saying: ‘Thank you for mentioning this, personally i think like we have been staying in a bubble, nevertheless now we actually realize that it genuinely is real, now you’ve talked about your experiences we are able to see it from your perspective’ and I also felt enjoy it had been such an essential and iconic moment on Korean tv. As it ended up being the time that is first like this ended up being discussed freely and actually.»

It really is sometimes difficult in Korea to cope with dilemmas freely. Speaing frankly about racism wasn’t done until Sam addressed it on nationwide TV

Korean culture just isn’t familiar with working with most of these dilemmas freely so Sam really noticed the distinction pre and post he chose to speak away. Within the last few nine years, an escalating wide range of black colored and ethnically diverse folks have made their house in Southern Korea.

Sam describes a large number of young Koreans have actually written to him telling him that their perception of Africa — or Ghana or also black people — has changed due to him. He tells another story to illustrate just how deeply ingrained attitudes about the good thing about pale epidermis in Korea are gradually changing.

«I keep in mind a couple weeks on it to make it lighter. ago i did so a show and also this old Korean ended up being like: ‘Oh my god, the skin can be so dark, you really must have held it’s place in the sun’s rays too much time, apply one thing’ But there is one lady that is old said: ‘No do not do so, your skin layer is stunning the way in which it really is. Jesus made you prefer this.’ and I also ended up being therefore moved! I happened to be like, wow, this really is therefore unbelievable, a Korean telling me personally your black colored epidermis is stunning, do not change it out for anyone, I adore it… You understand, folks are actually having the message.»

And then he smiles broadly before he ducks straight back out to the crowd of adoring fans.

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