Celebrated presenter Eddy Blay (EB), host of Xclusive, caught up with ace Radio presenter/DJ and host of Vodafone Icons, Benny Blanco (BB) for an exclusive interview that touched on his career, family and personality.
Tell us about yourself.
BB- My name is Benny Ashun Jr, aka “Benny Blanco”. I’m a young, vibrant, sometimes arrogant perfectionist, who likes to have a lot of fun and wants to be known as someone who takes pride in his craft.
You host quite a number of shows, including Vodafone Icons and Jamming Spot. What is the favorite moment in your career this far?
BB-Every time I step onto the Icons stage, the thrill I get from it is incredible. Also, being spoken to in the streets by fans who listen to me on radio. That to me is like a daily wake up call.
What are the most important things in life?
BB -Integrity, honesty, loyalty and truth. Nowadays there are a lot of people who say things that can’t be backed up. Whether they mean it or not when they say them is what’s shaky.
I’m at the point in my life where if I say something that I’m going to do, I should be able to back it up. Too many people are empty barrels.
Whatever belief you have, be it spiritual, political or whatever else, you must be able to back it up with reason and something decent.
Are you speaking from experience?
BB-Well, yea, I would say so. Life has thought me quite a lot of things. My father was a very vocal person.
He was in politics, and even involved in some of the things that happened before the coup and all that.
My family experienced a lot during those times. Many don’t even know this, but we were even exiled from Ghana. These experiences have a lot of effect on my views on life today.
How is the media scene in Ghana, and where do you fit in?
BB- Well the media has finally become an industry that makes money. If you are in the right position, with the right contacts, and you can do the right thing, you can earn a good living. However, there’s a lot of bogus stuff out there.
I hardly mince my words and the truth is, I just will not listen to certain music, and absolutely will not tell you that I like the music just to make you feel good. The media right now is an open ground.
There’s a lot of new things coming out, and old stuff that’s trying to hold on. One thing for sure, it is developing, and evolving. You need to be able to keep up with the changing times.
Do you have a role model?
BB-Oh yea! My main role model was my father. He thought me a lot of stuff, not just in business, but about life itself.
My father was a people watcher, and by doing that, he was able to understand why people do certain things.However, he also told me, if you can understand a crazy man, you’re probably crazy yourself. So it’s not everything you can comprehend. You need to be able to accept that, and get on with it. My other role models would have to be comedy geniuses like Bernie Mac, Eddy Murphy, and Richard Pryor.
Any regrets in life so far?
BB-(laughs) That’s a funny question because I’d say yes, but even though the reasons I regret them are personal, they have shaped me into what I am today. If you ask me do I regret getting married, I’d say only because I got divorced. I was at a really good point in my life when I was married, and I wouldn’t bad mouth it to anyone.
What is the best thing about living in Ghana?
BB-Opportunities! There are so many of them, man! GH has become a place where if you’re ready to persevere, persist and fight for your dreams, you can make them a reality. But you need to have patience, otherwise forget it.
Are you still doing the morning show on radio?
BB-No I’m not doing the Atlantis Morning Drive anymore. Reason being, we just didn’t see eye to eye, and I needed to do what’s best for my career.
Tell us about the new season of Jamming Spot?
BB-Jamming Spot is going well. The feedback we got from season 1 was overwhelming. There have been some changes to the format of the show, but we are going on successfully and the feedback we’re getting is very positive.
What are your thoughts on Vodafone Icons?
BB-Besides the Gino TV adverts, Icons is probably what I’m best known for.
The show actually made me a household name and I thank the people at Vodafone for giving me that opportunity, and believing in my talent.
Do you think there are too many holidays in Ghana?
BB-(laughs) Hell, yea!!I came from England, where I originally started working, and over there, Bank Holidays were God-given. But over here there are way too many. There are religious, agricultural, ministerial and too many other holidays. It goes on and on, and there are even more coming.
What is your favorite gadget of the moment?
BB-Wooooo!!There are 2!!My Blackberry, mainly because of Blackberry Messenger (BBM), because besides that I would throw my Blackberry away. The other is my Samsung Tablet.
Which actor would you have play you, in a movie about your life?
BB-Wow, that’s a good one. Now you have me thinking (laughs). I’m thinking Will Smith. Why not? I mean he’s bigger than me but we do have the same sense of humor, I think.
What would you do if you were live on air one day and your mic stopped working?
BB-Continue with the show, man! The show must always go on! The reason why we wake up every day is because we’re professionals and we love what we do, so on with the show!
What’s your idea of a perfect Friday night?
BB-Getting out of the house, seeing what Accra has to offer and obviously hanging out with the people that are important in my life, my boys.
If you were president for a day, what would you do?
BB-Wow, that’s another good one! There are 2 major things that really bug me in Ghana. One is road safety. We don’t seem to appreciate the road safety problem in the country.
We lose hundreds if not thousands of lives monthly, due to the stuff that happens on our roads. Secondly, I would try my best to get children off the streets by opening more orphanages, etc.Crazy people too! I would take all of them off the street.
How do you deal with being a celebrity?
BB-Well for starters, I’m still trying to find out what a celebrity in Ghana really is. A DJ, TV Host or a vocal politician can all be celebrities, I guess. I’d just say I’m a popular person or “public figure”, but that’s about it.
What’s next for you?
BB-Well I’m working on season 2 of Jamming Spot, and Vodafone Icons is scheduled for early next year. I’m currently developing my new radio show as well. And also I’m looking at developing a new TV sketch show, where we can poke fun at the idiosyncrasies of life, and a few people.
Hopefully they won’t get offended. Then again they probably will, so who cares? (Laughs)