Ghanaian music duo R2bees, takes a tour of Smithsonian Museum

Renowned, multi-award-winning, Ghanaian music duo, R2bees, made up of Omar Sterling and Mugeez, made their first ever visit to the historic Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, in Washington, D.C., United States on March 8 2024.

The special private tour which coincided with the weekend of Ghana’s March 6 independence day celebrations, was organized by Oral Ofori of TheAfricanDream Consultancy in collaboration with Duke Concept Entertainment.

It formed a part of R2bees’ scheduled music concert at The Anthem, a music venue and auditorium in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood of Washington, D.C.. The duo performed at the first edition of the Rolling Cocoa Festival organised by Duke Concept on March 9. An event that celebrated Ghanaian music, culture and solidarity. 

The duo was eager to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of their homeland, which was displayed within the museum’s walls. A 25-person crew accompanied R2bees through the architecture of the museum, a mixture of traditional African and modern design. 

Magdalene Johnson Obaji, the National Museum of African Art’s immediate ex-Advisory Board Chairperson, and Gathoni Kamau, acting head of Visitor Experience and Engagement formally welcomed the crew, and expressed the museum’s delight at the private tour.

R2bees with museum officials and a cross section of the team that visited the museum that day / ©

In her welcome address, Gathoni Kamau, disclosed that the museum is renowned for its “efforts in promoting traditional and contemporary African arts since its establishment in 1964.” Its collections include 9,000 works of traditional and contemporary African art from both Sub-Saharan and North Africa, 300,000 photographs, and 50,000 library volumes.

It was the first institution dedicated to African art in the United States, and continues to distinguish itself as the first museum in the United States to include a sustained focus on modern and contemporary African art in its mission.

The tour was mutually beneficial as expressed by the docents. During their tour of the galleries, the entourage were captivated by the colorful textiles, elaborate sculptures and art works that depicted the rich history and creativity of Africa. Particularly, they observed an Ashanti gold pendant and stool from pre-colonial Ghana, admiring its unique craftsmanship and symbolism and to the delight of the docents, added valuable cultural content or nuggets.

Inspired by the museum’s collection and the warm reception, R2bees promised to visit again and to share their experiences with friends, family and fans on their return to Ghana. 

“We see a lot of synergies here and we plan to take some of the good ideas shared here back with us home to Ghana and hope that they enjoyed learning from us too,” said Omar Sterling and Mugeez to in a post-tour interview with Kwame Asante Ofori.

R2bees with Oral Ofori (left), Duke Osita Ugeh (middle), and R2bees manager, Ike Otoo Arhin (right) / ©

“We also want to thank Mr John K. Lapiana, the museum’s Interim Director for his amazing work here in ensuring this museum is truly representative of African art – both visually and culturally. We can’t wait to contribute soon to the performing arts part by inviting performing artists from all African countries and genres to find ways of collaborating with each other on and off the continent to add more to the beauty of the Smithsonian and other museums across Africa,” they added. 

Duke Osita Ugeh, CEO of Duke Concept Entertainment believed the tour was important because “it was a moment of cultural exchange and connection, bridging the past, present, and future of Ghana and Africa as a whole.” 

Mr. Ugeh further said that these kinds of bridges are “what my business and that of Mr. Ofori of TheAfricanDream Consultancy have been building over the years, and when doors like the National Museum of African Art openly welcome our efforts, we are energized to do more for the benefit of the people of Africa and the world at large.”

R2bees’ performance at Mr. Ugeh’s maiden edition of his company’s Rolling Cocoa Festival (which is now Golden Cocoa Festival) was one by many Ghanaian top music stars, including Stonebwoy and Black Sherif. Other performers included Efya, Kwesi Arthur, Camidoh, S3fa, and KiDi. Incredible Zigi choreographed the performance, and Kwasi Beast and Kappacinco served as hosts. 

The visitors to the Museum expressed gratitude for the trip and the chance to engage in important conversations, networking possibilities, and cultural exchange, after the tour. 

“This unforgettable visit would remain a highlight, and a testament to the power of art and culture to unite and inspire,” said Mr. Ugeh.


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