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Derrick Ashong

student, ethnomusicology, Harvard

Derrick Ashong, also known as "DNA", (born 1975 in Accra, Ghana), is a musician, artist, activist, and entrepreneur. He is currently studying for a PhD in Ethnomusicology and Afro-American studies. Ashong was a founding member of the Harvard Black Alumni Society. Ashong's musical career started while at Harvard. He produced a musical entitled Songs We Can't Sing, for which he won awards, before forming a band called "Black Rose". The band latter became known as Soulfge. Ashong has worked with such established artists as Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, & Bobby McFerrin, and is MC and leader of the pan-African band Soulfge, under the name "DNA", producing works that have aired globally via outlets including MTV Africa, MNet Africa and BBC World Service. In 1997, Ashong had a role in the Steven Spielberg-produced movie Amistad, playing the character Buakei, a role he gained through attending an open audition in New York. He also appeared in a 2006 documentary about the Angola 3, entitled 3 Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation. Ashong founded a talent agency, ASAFO Productions.