Edo cultural heritage won’t be complete without the likes of Amb. Osayomore Joseph, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Akaba Man, Fabomo, Chief Arala Osula and the youngest of them Richard Iyasere popularly known as ‘Daddy Rich’ or African Diaspora Hero, an accolade he received from Billde Blasio in Bronx, years ago.
The popular Urhonigbe-born prominent Edo Funk entertainer and cultural activist is set to celebrate 40 years of dance choreography.
The celebration is billed to hold on November 3, 2021, same day with the most popular Ekaba Festival of Urhonigbe, the Akwete dance style pioneer paved way in the Edo funk music genre and Edo people’s traditional music by popularising it with his dance choreography in Europe, America and parts of West Africa.
Recall that SirVictor Uwaifo created the Akwete music genre in the late 1970s without a dance style before a vibrant young dancer from Urhonigbe Grammar School succeeded in inventing a cosmopolitan popular dance style, known as Akwete dance that remained unbeatable and memorable in the Edo people’s entertainment history.
The majority of Benin musicians wouldn’t have been known to the entire world if Richard Iyasere aka Daddy Rich hadn’t promoted or presented them through his Daddyrich Production Entertainment company to African descendants in the diaspora.
The veteran dancer whose choreography garnered prestigious numerous entertainment awards had worked with legendary Osayomore Joseph, Victor Uwaifo and Afro-beat acts such as Flavour and Oritse Femi with his choreography works.
“My Akwetedance style is an evergreen in the Edo people’s dance history and remain a protege in fighting music royalties from Nigerian Copyright Commission. Some of our Edo Funk music legends have started earning from my quest of music royalties from competent government bodies on copyright laws,” Iyasere stated in an interview.
Born on August 22, 1968 at former Usonigbe now known as Urhonigbe in Orhionmwon local government area of Edo State, he attended Immaculate Conception College in the 1980s and graduated at The City University of New York, Bronx Community College in 1999.
Richard’s cultural activism and quest for returning the Edo people’s stolen artefacts by the British missionaries and colonial masters during the Benin Expedition of 1897 partially yielded positive responses from British dignitaries fueling the immediate returns of some of the artefacts to the Oba of Benin.
The annual Edo Excellence Award, which is the Edo State highest cultural recognition co-established by Victor Uwaifo, recently honoured Richard Iyasere with the Award for ‘Edo Patriot of the year 2021’.
Richard will never deny his political role with Democratic Party in the Bronx as a community leader and a campaigner for his confidant, Bill de Blasio.
The veteran traditional dance choreographer and musicologist feels 40 years of prominent participation in cultural activism deserves acelebration.