The introduction of alté/alternative culture in Accra

The year is 2017, and while artists like Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Ebony, Stonebwoy, E.L., and Eazzy, among other top stars, were dominating the airwaves and media with more widely commercially accepted music and art, there was a beaming crop of talents who were injecting a new wave of sound, fashion, and art that would give Ghana’s entertainment industry a refreshing new look away from a saturated hiplife, hip-hop, and dancehall period.

With La Meme Gang, Amaarae, Tribe of God, Riaboss, Okuntakinte, Ayat, B4bonah, Worlasi, TMSKDJ, and Free The Youth as front runners, Accra would embrace alté culture, which at the time had become a significant part of the Nigerian entertainment industry. They would integrate that with alternative lifestyles and music adopted from the West through trap music and other genres largely considered alternative. This period will kickstart Ghana’s alternative community’s rise.

(Amaarae by Pmboakye)
(Amaarae by Pmboakye)

Progress and Setbacks

Despite the backlash and setbacks, these creatives would be the catalyst that would spark a change in the music industry. Places like Lokko House and Serallio in Osu, BBNZ in Nima, and platforms like Livefm, Yfm, GroundUp Chale, Yoyo Tinz, Culartblog, iMullar, and Blacklef provided them with the needed support, platform, and community to build, connect, and push their collective dream of seeing people outside the stereotypical art circle succeed, which they did. Free The Youth has become a leading clothing brand in Ghana and the continent, with various exploits worldwide. Amaarae has become a giant in the music space, scoring continental hit songs, collaborations, and sold-out shouts in the diaspora.

(Marince Omario on YoyoTinz Soakme sessions)

However, while some progressed, others would fade into obscurity, never to be heard from but seen in other industries outside the creative arts. At some point, just like the creatives, the spaces, and institutions like Blacklef, Livefm, Yoyo Tinz, and Serallio that platformed and supported them would either run out of business or pursue other interests. One underlying factor was the lack of investments, a general headache for Ghana’s industry. Alté culture has always been a niche market and very few people

(Worlasi and Akan at YoyoTinz Festival 2018 by @_krxxks on Twitter)

The current standing of the alté/alternative community…

However, some of these artists have become the leading stars in the country or have influenced the generation of stars currently pushing Ghanaian music and arts. From 2017 to date, Accra has remained a pillar and hotspot of the alté/alternative community and culture through music, fashion, photography, and the arts.


Today, alternative culture has spread mainstream, and people who may not typically be alternative or alté pick inspiration from the culture in music, photography, fashion, creative direction, and collaborations with community members. SuperJazzClub, 99Phaces, T4Tstudios, Juma Mufasa, Chale, Marince Omario, Baaba J, Moliy, and All My Cousins keep championing the amplification of alté/alternative culture through their music. This time around, they are not alone in their efforts. The exploits of those before them have resulted in investments pouring in, and more platforms and spaces are being created for people who identify with the culture.

(T4TStudios Merch Line)


There has been a breath of fresh air in the creative space, thanks to the growth of the alternative community. The existence of communities and like-minded people who also succeed at their craft has encouraged others to step out of their shells and live out their truth. It has also offered a variety of entertainment for people who do not readily enjoy the everyday concerts and overly packed nightclubs. Day parties, art exhibitions, fashion shows/pop-ups and special curated events tailored to particular tastes, genres, and likenesses.

(Ladipoe In a Tribe Of God x Sony Music Publishing Collaboration Shirt)

Despite the dominance of Afrobeats, other artists are charting a different path with their music, offering variety to music consumers.    Spaces and spots like Freedom Skatepark, Kity Palace, GCR, Surf Ghana, Jambo Spaces, Vibrate Studio, Oasis Gathering, iMullar Sound System, Unwind Accra, Beehive, Plam Moments, and others have taken the initiative to create spaces and spots where the alternative community can create, collaborate, and grow.

To provide a broader perspective, below are accounts from five people who have contributed to the growth and continuation of alté/alternative culture in Accra.

Vibrate Space

I think more people are into the sound now. There has been growth in terms of people within the community. But I do not think it is still mainstream. The idea behind Vibrate Space is to create a space where creatives can come together to connect and collaborate. The studio was made available for artists to get a place to record and make music. Knowing how expensive studio bookings are in Accra, we made the space so people would be more open to making music. People have taken advantage of it and come through to record, which has given them a space to put their things together.

The future of the alternative space is super bright, and things will get better. We at Vibrate are planning on putting things together and bringing more initiatives on board, as we have done with our masterclasses and events. Hopefully, all of these will align to give the alternative community as much spotlight as it should. – Tommy Taylor (Vibrate Space)

iMullar Sound System

When people hear alternative space, they think of super underground or super niche. An alternative for me is a way of life, a way of seeing things, and an ideology. Now it is more acceptable to be alternative or alté, and it is way cooler and more welcoming. People used to feel that if you were alté, you were unruly or did drugs, but they have come to know that the alternative space means being free to be who you are without judgment. That is the difference between now and then.

iMullar Sound System is the bridge between the alternative space and the mainstream. We found a way to bring the two worlds together under one roof so they could enjoy themselves. This is how we have contributed to the communities to ensure everyone feels like a part of the community. We are the mediators of the alternative or alté community. That is our stance, and that is what we seek to preach, highlight, and let people know their role in the community. Maxwell Adjavon (Founder of iMullar Sound System)

Oasis Gathering

To be honest, the joy of building keeps us going, knowing why and who we represent. The truth is, Jesus himself didn’t promise it would be easy. Knowing that being different in a very stereotypical environment causes a lot of pushback, we are very mindful of how we move and what we do. We constantly remind ourselves of what we started and why we started, and that keeps us going. Jesus Christ is for everyone, and sharing that message is tough.

We want to shed more light on Ghana as a country through all this. Our art, our culture, and our love for God and how we represent it. We want God to be seen and Ghana to be known. We want to empower Christian creatives to also take hold of their space and push the word as much as they can in their own way. There is so much to do, and we hope we can with the help of God and the support of many. – Nana Yaw Ofori-Attah “Oneman1000” (Founder of Oasis Gathering)

Kity Palace

Ria Boss (founder) realized that in order to create a real and impactful creative community, we have to truly believe in the power of collaboration. Creatives should not make other creative’s jobs harder for them, we believe in creatives having room to ideate and execute.

We like to believe that Kitty Palace is the answer to the setbacks. Don’t have a large budget for a project? How can we collaborate with our resources, inventory or network of creators? How can we make sure that we are empowering creators to work together and not take too much of an individualistic approach? The only setback to our model would be anything anti-community. We have a zero-tolerance policy and are an all-inclusive space and platform.

We are seeing more collectives forming like 99Phaces, Hakpanya Collective, etc. We also see a lot more cross collaborations which we would say many of our events have been hyper-focused on. We produced Ria Boss’ elaborate Cat Mama World, The Goodbye Gold Coast Expérience for Joewackle and Church of Stories, and also the Jane Can Do Creative and Tech expo (to name a few)

There has been more of an emphasis placed on community and skill sharing (Kitty Palace Workshops, Black Girls Glow, Vibrate Space Masterclasses), which we believe is allowing for a lot more growth and experimentation. More creatives are being equipped with the tools to achieve their dreams. More investment in the space would be helpful. And not investment that hinges on a company’s bottom line, but that keeps quality at the forefront. There are no limits to Kitty Palace’s reach. We hope our Kitty Palace Workshops become a well respected resource for creatives to go deeper in their craft. We also cannot wait to bring more live show experiences through #Riabossopenmic and #RiaBossPresents. We also believe that we will be the biggest and most reliable live music event producers on the continent. The future means that we would be able to provide more subsidized housing for creatives on a larger compound we acquire. Manifesting!

The Gold Coast Report

We founded GCR in response to the lack of representation young adults had in mainstream Ghanaian media. Our mission was, and still is, to amplify African creativity. The reception for what we do remains incredibly positive. In our early years, we focused on building the platform and learning how best to support unique voices and creative ideas. Now, with a thriving community, we’re able to discover and empower incredible talent, turning ideas into reality.

We directly fueled the growth and vibrancy of Ghana’s podcast scene. We are proud to have played a significant role in this cultural shift.. By showcasing successful partnerships and actively supporting emerging voices, we aim to create a more connected and supportive ecosystem. Ghana’s alternative space is a vibrant and essential force, the cultural heartbeat of our communities. From soul-touching music and art to grassroots activism, it pulsates with a hunger for authentic expression and a desire to build a better future. GCR is committed to advocating for and supporting this thriving community, ensuring it continues to flourish and reach its full potential.

GCR’s future is deeply intertwined with the alternative community in Ghana and the wider African continent. Our growth has been driven by fostering genuine connections and collaborations. We are committed to expanding our support for creators and communities, while continuing to create content that resonates and inspires. Together, we are building a future where diverse voices are celebrated, creativity thrives, and the African media landscape is truly representative of its people. – Kwadzo CEO of GCR

Autor Nana Kojo Mula