Kwaku-Sintim Misa presented on satirical communication drawing on his experience in the fields of acting and radio. | Photo by Greg Clark.
Renowned Ghanaian actor, satirist
The speech was titled “If It Ain’t Funny, It Ain’t Serious.”
Misa left his home in Ghana, Africa to major in acting and directing at Trinity College in Connecticut. He later went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in film production from New York University. In his time in the U.S., he became the first Ghanaian to star in the hit television series, “Law and Order.” Later, he started his own radio talk show called “Talk Shop” which became popular in Ghana due to the controversial subjects that were discussed. He also created one of Ghana’s most popular talk shows: Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF). TGIF was the first broadcast of its kind to convey satirical sociopolitical issues with humor.
During the lecture, Misa drew upon his experiences as a radio talk show host and elaborated on the importance of message accuracy in communication.
“While conveying a message, the important thing is to sync the intent, which is the reason and purpose, with the impact, which is the actual effect of the message,” Misa said.
In his popular radio show, Talk Shop, he created a new character that was purposely annoying and discussed controversial social topics. This gained Misa both attention and criticism.
“They were many that hated me,” Misa said. “But whether you hate me or love me, you can’t ignore me. You may disagree with what I’m saying, but you have to defend my right to say it.”
After his time being a radio host, KSM transitioned to the stage to do more theatrical roles and tell compelling stories about important issues related to politics and culture.
“I realized that more than the message, it is the medium that is important,” Misa said. “I took the hard things, the mess that we had and made jokes about it on stage, and people loved it. People who laughed at me, who hated me, loved it. And they amazingly walked away with a message. That’s the magic of satire and the power of comedy. ”
Many Ghanaian or Ghanaian American students that attended the talk felt that it was important for everyone, especially the Ghanaian community, to hear his message.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Anita Oppong, a doctoral student from Ghana said. “I watch his shows on YouTube and he’s a celebrity. The fact that he still persevered even though he didn’t get the reception that he was looking for, and made it. That’s the story that most Ghanaians who are successful would tell you.”
A brief question and answer session wrapped up the his talk, with him answering many questions about the constraints in international communication and adaptation.
“His idea of intent and impact syncing was really powerful,” Rachel Ansong, a graduate student of English said. “That you might have an intent but the way someone would receive it would be different, was very powerful. So it is important to make sure that how you communicate has to have the impact that you want.”