Samuel Okyere is a Ghanaian television personality firmly planting solid roots in Korea. Okyere was born on April 21, 1991, in Accra, Ghana. He spent his childhood there until he travelled abroad for schooling.
Okyere initially went to Seoul, Korea, in 2009 after being selected for a Korean Government Scholarship Program to study computer science. Nine years later, he has taken that opportunity and catapulted it into living his best life possible while exploring and exceeding all of his wildest dreams.
He graduated from Sogang University in 2014 but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Clearly, Okyere has capitalized on his time in Korea well as his resume is pretty hefty. He began his entertainment career by starring in small roles in commercials.
His big break came when he was cast in a show called Abnormal Summit.
He has since hosted SNL Korea, Master Chef Korea Season 3, been a cast member of Hello Counsellor – a popular show that features citizens from diverse backgrounds to discuss their unusual problems on air, has modelled for Vogue Korea and appeared on Korea’s longest-running television show, Happy Together.
He’s currently a cast member of a show dubbed Dunia: Into a New World.
He also sings and has snagged a radio slot and hosts his own show on Korean radio.
Okyere does not take his blessings lightly. “I see myself as an African ambassador every time I get the opportunity to be on TV. At the end of the day, I see it as a platform to represent my people to the fullest and broadcast what we’re made up of as a people. A couple of years back, blacks, and Africans especially, had little or no opportunities whatsoever in Korea. We were seen as poor and not particularly the type to get deep into Korean culture. But things have changed drastically. Koreans are now more open to Africa then they were before. I’m also promoting Ghana through our cocoa, through our gold, through our clothing and every other means possible.”
The TV host, singer, model and radio personality continued to Joy Online in 2014, “My goal is to bridge the gap between Ghana and Korea through TV work.”
His stardom has not emerged without hiccups. When he first moved to Korea, he recalls experiencing racism. “People would openly come up to you and say really bad stuff like “’You black monkey, go back to where you come from.’” “And sometimes you go to a place and people don’t want to sit next to you. Like, that was heart-breaking.”
Okyere continued, “I was like, wow! It really hit me for the first time that racism is real, it was always sort of a concept that didn’t really exist for me. I read about it but never experienced it until I came to Korea. So that really opened my eyes to what racism is,” he reiterated to Ghanaweb.
Instead of allowing the unfair treatment to deter him, Okyere learned how to speak Korean. “Once you learn the language, you feel like you’re a part of the people and the people feel like you’re a part of them. Learning Korean really was the difference between ‘my black friend Sam’ and ‘my friend Sam,” he explained.
Okyere also speaks Twi, French and Swahili.
His work has not gone unnoticed. In 2015, Okyere won the Korean Drama Awards under the category of Global Star.
Okyere has opened up a school in Ghana and co-founded a campaign to bridge the gap between cultures through food and fashion.
Venturing into the world of entrepreneurism, he has also designed t-shirts exhibiting fusions of African and Korean food.
In 2017, Okyere was named in Forbes 30 under 30 in Entertainment and Sports in Asia.
Okyere is an excellent example that proves you can make it anywhere as long as you are more than determined to, and make a killing while doing it.