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Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' - Celebrities - Nairaland

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Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Orlando7au: 11:22pm On Nov 22, 2018
To many viewers in South Korea, Sam’s singing voice is hugely familiar. You can find him on some of the country’s most famous variety shows and he even has his own radio slot. He raps in English and South Korean, he is equally fluent in his native Ghanaian language Twi, French and Swahili.

Although he was born and raised in Ghana, he has recently become known as ‘the most famous black man of South Korea.’

Sam can hardly walk the streets of Seoul without being stopped by people asking for autographs.

“It’s crazy,” he explains. “There are times that I have to wear a hat and a mask. People from different age groups are coming up to me. I have got grandmas coming up to me, I’ve got babies coming up to me, young adults, high schoolers, people from different age ranges coming up to me asking for autographs. If somebody would have told me a couple of years ago that that would happen, I would have said: No, that’s not possible.”

Sam first set foot on Korean soil nine years ago. Back then he faced a totally different reality. Sam moved from Ghana to Korea as part of a scholarship to study computer engineering. In the beginning, life here wasn’t so easy.

“Of course at that time, Koreans were not as open to different types of people from different places, they were not so exposed to different races and different cultures.” As someone who hadn’t really experienced racism previously, he says it was difficult for him to comprehend. “People would openly come up to you and say really bad stuff like ‘You black monkey, go back to where you come from.’ And sometimes you go to a place and people don’t want to sit next to you. Like, that was heart-breaking.”

Sam says he really wasn’t prepared for this kind of treatment.

“I was like, wow! It really hit me for the first time that racism is real,” Sam elaborates. “It was always sort of a concept that didn’t really exist for me. I read about it but never experienced it until I came to Korea. So that really opened my eyes to what racism is.”

South-Korea is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world. Over 99 percent of South Koreans identify as ethnically Korean. Foreigners have only begun moving to the peninsula very recently. Sam thinks that that is one of the explanations for the racism. “In a way, because they are not used to that, they get intimidated and the reaction that they have makes them appear to be racist,” he says. “But sometimes it is not that, it’s just mere ignorance and lack of exposure.”

At first Sam was very frustrated by this treatment. But he realised that wasn’t going to help him in the long run. He knew it was pointless getting angry and trying to fight back. He decided to learn the language because language is always a vital part of settling in to a new culture. And so he set to work. “Once you learn the language, you feel like you’re a part of the people and the people feel like you’re a part of them. Learning Korean really was the difference between ‘my black friend Sam’ and ‘my friend Sam’,” he says smiling.

Once he had mastered the language he quickly made lots of Korean friends. But his life really started to change when he entered the Korean entertainment business. He started off with small roles in commercials but he eventually got his big break on a variety show called ‘Abnormal Summit.’ After this, he appeared in more variety shows, got roles in TV and now even has his own radio show. At first he was surprised, then pleased, to discover that he had become popular.

As his fame grew, Sam decided to use this platform to start addressing the problem of racism on national TV. Speaking in fluent Korean he told a story about the day when a lady on the bus raced towards him and took the empty seat that he was about to sit in. She blocked him with her legs, while swearing at him and telling him to “go back to his country.” He quickly realised this was a form of blatant discrimination.

His story had the desired effect and touched the hearts of many South Koreans. He says for most people it was a wake-up call. “So many people wrote to me, saying: ‘Thank you for mentioning this, I feel like we are living in a bubble, but now we really understand that it is real, now that you’ve spoken about your experiences we can see it form your perspective.’ And I felt like it was such an important and iconic moment on Korean television. Because it was the first time something like that was spoken about openly and honestly.”

Korean society is not used to dealing with these kinds of issues openly, so Sam really noticed the difference before and after he decided to speak out. In the last nine years, an increasing number of black and ethnically diverse people have made their home on the continent too. Sam explains that lots of young Koreans have written to him telling him that their perception of Africa — or Ghana or even black people — has changed because of him.

He tells another story to illustrate how deeply ingrained attitudes about the beauty of pale skin in Korea are slowly changing. “I remember a few weeks ago I did a show and this old Korean was like: ‘Oh my god, your skin is so dark, you must have been in the sun too long, apply something on it to make it lighter.’ But there was one old lady that said: ‘No don’t do it, your skin is beautiful the way it is. God made you like this.’ And I was so touched! I was like, wow, this is so unbelievable, a Korean telling me your black skin is beautiful, don’t change it for anyone, I love it… You know, people are really getting the message.”

This article was originally posted on https://mg.co.za/article/2018-10-25-meet-sam-okyere-the-most-famous-black-man-in-south-korea

16 Likes

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by booblacain(m): 11:35pm On Nov 22, 2018
No one is born racist.

9 Likes 1 Share

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by bitcoin215: 11:41pm On Nov 22, 2018
wow
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by smoke9910: 11:53pm On Nov 22, 2018
Interesting story. Racism will never end but it's nice to see an effort to reduce it. The good thing is that he is a positive example of an African in the diaspora. The same way he has positively changed people's perceptions in a positive light is also the same way others have destroyed it. Life as a black man is difficult when you are far away from home but we shouldn't worsen it by committing silly crimes that confirm their distrust of us.

60 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by PhenomenalMorgan(m): 11:53pm On Nov 22, 2018
Op dont u fear God All this long post just for "the most popular black man in South Korea" Take ur time oh!!

4 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Sankabson(m): 1:14am On Nov 23, 2018
Him learning South Korea language. That must have been alot of hard work and dedication. That language strong abeg! Africans are getting there.

5 Likes 1 Share

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by abdulaz: 6:52am On Nov 23, 2018
Black man trying hard to belong and be accepted by another race.

Mental slavery is the new form of racism.

Stay woke. Let the blacks develop Africa so that a Korean can also come and learn how to speak Ghanaian, Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba.

But greed won’t allow Africa to grow, we would rather see our brothers suffer in penury while we live in affluence.

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Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Ejebleje: 7:08am On Nov 23, 2018
abdulaz:
Black man trying hard to belong and be accepted by another race.

Mental slavery is the new form of racism.

Stay woke. Let the blacks develop Africa so that a Korean can also come and learn how to speak Ghanaian, Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba.

But greed won’t allow Africa to grow, we would rather see our brothers suffer in penury
while we live in affluence.

Oga, stop being unnecessarily hard on yourself. The first thing any traveler should endeavor to do, wether within or outside the country , is to learn the local language , for seamless communication and integration;in fact this is one of the reasons why NYSC was contrived. Learning a new language , if anything , shows intelligence, not inferiority.

Talking about developing Africa, what have you done in this regard worthy of emulation?

Nothing, I reckon. Your post reeks of envy and frustration. If this side no favor you, e better make you port.

83 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Ejebleje: 7:18am On Nov 23, 2018
SKhanmi:
Shows nothing is impossible if you can integrate. I intend to master the major languages in naija too. Make my phelo citizens no carry drugs & fraud go integrate make everywhere spoil sha. Last last,there won't be anywhere else to run to.

Absolutely man. Life is much easier if you have affinity for languages.I know an Igbo guy who grew up in Ibadan and speaks Yoruba with their peculiar accent.Not so many people know his tribe until he opens up. On the other hand , there are those who’re just indifferent and don’t care.

Once you learn to speak a local language fluently , people see beyond the physical , and there’s an instant connection.Even when you don’t speak so well, in most cases , you’re appreciated for making an effort .

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Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by abdulaz: 7:25am On Nov 23, 2018
Ejebleje:


Oga, stop being unnecessarily hard on yourself. The first thing any traveler should endeavor to do, wether within or outside the country , is to learn the local language , for seamless communication and integration;in fact this is one of the reasons why NYSC was contrived. Learning a new language , if anything , shows intelligence, not inferiority.

Talking about developing Africa, what have you done in this regard worthy of emulation?

Nothing, I reckon. Your post reeks of envy and frustration. If this side no favor you, e better make you port.

I am far from hate bro as a Freethinker. Don’t get it twisted.

What will I gain from hating a fellow nigga?

I only stated the obvious.

How many Koreans you don see say he dey try hard to learn Yoruba or Igbo?

About making Africa great, it’s the collective effort of you and I. Though we are already divided along ethnic and religious lines which will continue to be the bane of development in Nigeria and Africa in general.

Peace.

11 Likes

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by kongolo(m): 7:45am On Nov 23, 2018
I am not impressed with this mans' "tale of triumph".His story indirectly gave too much power to those slant-eyed midgets whose males and females are difficult to differentiate.How could he be intimidated by a typically tiny korean woman on a bus?He is cowardly

8 Likes

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Ejebleje: 7:54am On Nov 23, 2018
abdulaz, you’re spot on with the fact that we’re divided along ethnic and religious lines, and that is what makes us so unattractive.

However, we see Americans and Europeans learning Yoruba,and some other local languages,does that necessarily make us better than them?

You hardly see Koreans trying to learn Igbo or Yoruba, even if they exist, because they come from a homogeneous society.It means they are essentially the same across board, in thinking, behavior, religion and their worldview in general.For centuries, they have also been self sufficient and hardly emigrate.The only thing they’ve known all their lives is Korean food,Korean language(with no dialects), kpop, kdrama, etc

My point is that, they’re not a good yardstick for measuring being cosmopolitan and if they don’t have the proclivity to do those things you mentioned, it’s because of where they’re from. Another example is Japan.

1 Like

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Ejebleje: 7:56am On Nov 23, 2018
Kongolo,what would you do in such circumstance?
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by kongolo(m): 8:08am On Nov 23, 2018
Ejebleje:
Kongolo,what would you do in such circumstance?
Five Korean men physically attacking me at thesame time with weapons can't do shiit to me so why should I be intimidated by any of them?African men have become too weak and "soft"

4 Likes

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Jadespices: 8:17am On Nov 23, 2018
Nice one
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by hisexcellency34: 8:17am On Nov 23, 2018
Well done sir
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by speedyconnect3: 8:18am On Nov 23, 2018
Congrats
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by iammo(m): 8:19am On Nov 23, 2018
smiley you can be famous for other things without drugs or fruad

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by papiwyte(m): 8:21am On Nov 23, 2018
OK Mike .....see grin angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by speedyconnect3: 8:22am On Nov 23, 2018
When will koreans learn Hausa, yoruba igbo?

1 Like

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Primusinterpares(m): 8:23am On Nov 23, 2018
Ok... nice
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Nobody: 8:23am On Nov 23, 2018
The racism of asians stem from pure ignorance and inexposure

2 Likes

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by emmabest2000(m): 8:23am On Nov 23, 2018
Grandmas are rushing him ? Hmmm .....


Where are Korean’s girls?

3 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by akdjr(m): 8:23am On Nov 23, 2018
I don't why black people can't call a white man "White chimpanzee"when they call you "black monkey"

4 Likes 1 Share

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Bitterleafsoup: 8:23am On Nov 23, 2018
Damn
Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Xkalaban(m): 8:24am On Nov 23, 2018
K, this space is not for sale pls.... grin

1 Like

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by Bitterleafsoup: 8:24am On Nov 23, 2018
papiwyte:
OK Mike .....see grin angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry
this guy really look zombie cheesy

1 Like

Re: Meet Sam Okyere: 'the Most Famous Black Man In South Korea' by sinach647: 8:25am On Nov 23, 2018
wow thats amazing

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