Meet Sam Okyere: ‘The most well-known man that is black Southern Korea’


Meet Sam Okyere: ‘The most well-known man that is black Southern Korea’

Whenever Sam Okyere found its way to Southern Korea to review, he had been met with racism. But he discovered ways to transform his negative experiences into good people, building a title for himself being a television personality that is popular.


To viewers that are many Southern Korea, Sam’s performing voice is hugely familiar. There is him on a number of the nation’s many famous variety shows and he also has his very own radio slot. He raps in English and South Korean and quite often in the indigenous Ghanaian language Twi. Although he had been born and raised in Ghana, he’s got recently become referred to as ‘the most well-known black colored man of Southern Korea.’

Sam can scarcely walk the roads of Seoul without being stopped by individuals seeking autographs. Luckily for us it really is reasonably peaceful in the juice club within the downtown that is popular region for the money where he agrees to generally meet.

“It is crazy,” he describes. “there are occasions that i need to wear a cap and a mask. Individuals from various age ranges are coming as much as me. I have actually got grandmas coming up to me personally, i have got infants coming up to me personally, teenagers, high schoolers, individuals from different age brackets coming as much as me personally requesting autographs. If someone could have explained after some duration ago that that could take place, i might have stated: No, that is not feasible.”

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

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

“Of course at that moment, Koreans had been never as ready to accept several types of individuals from various places, they certainly were not very subjected to various events and differing countries.” As an individual who had not actually skilled racism formerly, he claims it had been problematic for him to understand. “People would freely appear to you personally and state actually bad things like ‘You black colored monkey, get back to in which you originate from.’ And often you head to an accepted destination and folks wouldn’t like to stay close to you. Like, which was heart-breaking.”

Sam claims he really wasn’t ready because of this types of therapy.

“I became like, wow! It truly hit me for the very first time that racism is genuine,” Sam elaborates. “It ended up being constantly kind of a notion that did not actually occur in my situation. We read until i came to Korea about it but never experienced it. To ensure that really exposed my eyes as to the racism is.”

South-Korea the most ethnically homogeneous nations in the planet. Over 99 per cent of South Koreans identify as ethnically Korean. Foreigners only have started going into the peninsula extremely recently. Sam believes that this is certainly among the explanations for the racism. “In an easy method, that they have makes them appear to be racist,” he says because they are not used to that, they get intimidated and the reaction. “But it is sometimes perhaps not that, it is simply simple lack of knowledge and not enough publicity.”

In the beginning Sam had been really aggravated by this therapy. But he knew which wasn’t planning to assist him into the long haul. He knew it absolutely was useless getting trying and angry to battle straight straight straight back. He chose to learn the language because language is obviously an essential section of settling directly into a culture that is new. And thus he set to exert effort.

“when you learn the language, you’re feeling as you’re an integral part of the folks additionally the individuals feel just like 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 had a need to deal with the problem of racism

When he had learned the language, he quickly made a lot of Korean buddies. But his life actually began to alter as he joined the Korean activity company. He started out with little functions in commercials but he fundamentally 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 today also has their radio that is own show. In the beginning he had been amazed, then pleased, to learn that he had gain popularity.

As their popularity grew, Sam made a decision to utilize this platform to start out handling the dilemma of racism on nationwide television. Talking in fluent Korean he told an account in regards to the time whenever a girl in the coach raced towards him and took the empty chair which he was planning to stay in. She blocked him along with her legs, while swearing at him and telling him to “go back once again to their nation.” He quickly noticed this is a kind of blatant discrimination.

Their tale had the required impact and touched the hearts of several South Koreans. He states for most of us it had been a wake-up call.

“a lot of people published in my opinion, saying: ‘Thank you for mentioning this, personally i think from your viewpoint. like we’re staying in a bubble, however now we actually realize that it genuinely is real, now you’ve talked regarding your experiences we could notice it’ and I also felt enjoy it had been such an essential and iconic minute on Korean tv. Since it ended up being the time that is first like this was discussed freely and really.”

It really is sometimes difficult in Korea to handle problems freely. Speaing frankly about racism had not been done until Sam addressed it on national television

Korean culture just isn’t accustomed coping with most of these dilemmas freely so Sam actually noticed the distinction before and after he made a decision to speak away. An increasing number of black and ethnically diverse people have made their home in South Korea in the last nine years.

Sam describes that numerous 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 informs another tale to illustrate just exactly how attitudes that are deeply ingrained the good thing about pale epidermis in Korea are slowly changing.

“we keep in mind a couple weeks on it making it lighter. ago i did so a show and also this old Korean ended up being like: ‘Oh my god, the skin is really so dark, you’ll want experienced the sun’s rays too much time, use one thing’ But there is one old woman that said: ‘No do not take action, the skin is gorgeous the way in which it’s. Jesus made you prefer this.’ and I also had been therefore moved! I was like, wow, this really is therefore unbelievable, a Korean telling me personally your skin that is black is, never change it out for anybody, I like it… You understand, individuals are actually having the message.”

In which he smiles broadly before he ducks right back out to the audience of adoring fans.