Creative Consultant and Producer, Sharifah Issaka currently living and working in Accra, Ghana has significantly influenced the creative space. Born in Ghana and raised between Canada and Saudi Arabia, this cross-continental upbringing ignited her creative pursuits and approach to storytelling—whether through film, tourism, journalism, or design. As a producer, she has worked for the likes of Apple, Netflix, and most recently Beyoncé as the Ghana Unit Producer for ‘Black Is King’.
Tell us about how you began your journey as a Creative Consultant and Producer?
“I actually started out in international development, but had always been interested in media—and all things creative. I realised that I could combine my interests and began doing videography and content production for NGOs in Ghana, as I wanted to make sure they were telling the stories of underserved communities with dignity.
At the same time, I began getting involved in Accra’s creative community and meeting so many people doing so many cool things. I began using my videography skills to document what was happening in the creative scene (and contributing to it in other ways as well). In the course of doing so, I ended up building a network that has been invaluable to my work as a producer and (as a naturally outgoing and curious person) my knowledge of people, places, and things has also served me well in my role as a creative consultant.“
What has been the most exciting project you have worked on so far and why?
“Can I pick two? Obviously, Black Is King is among. To get to work on a project for Beyoncé is exciting, but for it to be this particular project? And to have contributed to said project from here in Ghana? Excitement is an understatement. So yeah, Black Is King for sure. However, it’s actually tied for the top spot with a project I worked on when I first moved to Ghana in 2012. Ghana Decides was a non-partisan elections project led by a group of Ghanaian bloggers and tech enthusiasts who were using social media to engage and inform the electorate during the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
For 6 months, I worked as the project’s videographer (shooting and editing content for the Ghana Decides YouTube channel). I got to travel all over the country covering election events and interviewing the people—from career politicians to everyday Ghanaians. I learned so much. About Ghana, about media, and about myself and what I was capable of.“
What advice would you give to those that wish to work on campaigns with major brands and artists?
“Work hard, of course, but also be kind. Production work is hard. You can make things a little less difficult by being kind to others. Trust me, this works. As an added bonus, if you are pleasure to work with then people will want to work with you again and / or recommend you to others. And when I say “be kind”, I mean to everybody. Not just to the people that you want to impress. The impressive thing is being the kind of person whose kindness extends to everyone.“
What advice would you give to young women trying to navigate in a male dominated industry?
“Do not listen to imposter syndrome. Apply for that job, role, or position and have confidence in yourself and your ability to do the work. Also (and this is a big one) collaborate with and support other women. Recommend other talented women for jobs, if you can. We have to be intentional about the change we want to see in our respective industries. Lastly, find (or become) a mentor. There is always someone to learn from as well as those who might benefit from what you yourself have learned thus far.“
What does the future look like, what can we expect to see from you in 2021?
“I am endlessly inspired by the work of my fellow African creatives. People are really doing things. The future is in very good hands. In2021 you can expect to see me pursuing purpose-driven projects in Ghana and beyond. You can also expect to see me chilling on a beach somewhere because self care.“
Follow Sharifah on Instagram.