Ghanaian Prince Inks Partnership with US Based D Street Media Group
New York City, March, 2020- Prince Etornam William Attipoe from the Royal Duklui Attipoe family of the Anlo Kingdom, and CEO of NewMax Group, a mining, shipping and investment company in Africa has acquired a 40% equity stake in burgeoning production and distribution outfit D Street Media Group. The historic deal will align Africa and African storytellers with an American company to develop, package, produce and distribute content from the continent, for the world. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, however with such a large equity position in the American company, the partnership will likely have a positive impact on D Street's ability to finance and package projects with A list talent from the West and African talent who would not otherwise have the opportunity.
"The time for Africa to get out of the shadow of the West is now. Says Founder/CEO of D Street Media Group, Dexter Davis. With the lack of diversity in the industry being a hot topic these days, I feel we cannot have an honest conversation without including Africa and South America where many Afro-Latinos have almost no voice or representation in the world of cinema." Davis went on to say, "The partnership with H.R.H Prince Etornam means the world for our company. We are in the process of building a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art movie studio in the picturesque seaside town of Port Shepstone, South Africa. The studio will give us the ability to have more independence and autonomy, which should help us create a star system in Africa, in order to compete globally. I am truly humbled by His Highness's belief in me and our mandate at D Street.
Independent producer Jeff Rice, who has over 100 films under his belt, and has worked with the biggest actors in Hollywood such as Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron, Rosamund Pike and many others, has come on board to produce. "Dexter wants to make sure the films they produce have the same high quality scripts and production value as any top Hollywood film. His idea to tell stories from Africa that are commercially viable is new and exciting, said Jeff Rice of Jeff Rice Films. I'm happy to be a part of the team."
D Street Pictures has been working for several years to get their international heist film 'The Blue Mauritius' off the ground. The film will star Anthony Mackie, 'Avengers,' Isaac Hemptstead Wright, 'Game Of Thrones,' Mathieu Kassovitz, 'Amélie,' with French director Camille Delamarre, 'The Transporter Refueled,' and 'Brick Mansions' attached to direct. The project is a co-production between Germany and South Africa. Dexter is producing with Thomas Pierce, co-producer Oliver Damian and executive producers Carmella Casinelli and James Few. Prince Etornam has the option to executive produce if he should choose to do so.
The Prince indicated that, “there’s a quote that says "Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter." Africa is a continent full of history and we are storytellers. However for a long time our stories are told only between the four walls of our homes or our communities at best. The decision to make this investment is to create a platform for our stories, our side of the story to be told beyond our countries and continent into the larger space. This I know will be entertaining, profitable and will correct a lot of narratives about our beautiful continent”
Atlanta based Chris Gilmore, Esq., Steven J. Pritchett, Esq. of Townsend & Lockett, LLC and South Africas Mr. Success Theko of Theko Attorneys, the Prince's Councilor Mr. Mishack Sibiya and Pesa Capital Partners brokered the deal.
HIS ENTREPRENEUR JOURNEY
I have always been an entrepreneur, back in boarding school - my twin brother and I would save all our “chop money” (allowance). Rather than spending our allowance, we established a lending system helping our mates who needed money at an interest. If I could remember, we were only 15 years old at that time. So the entrepreneurial journey started for us as far back as I can remember. It was a natural progression of what my twin brother and I use to do back in school and I think it become more apparent that we were on to something major when we got into university. I saw an opportunity in the Information and Technology space while I was in university studying Information and Technology. We partnered with some of our lecturers to write a software that we sold to one of the most prestigious schools in Ghana. At that moment, we realize we have the potential of not just making money but also creating opportunities for others to make money and the rest is or was history. Moving forward, I am grateful and humbled to see my vision and dream manifest: NewMax group is a holdings company headquartered in Accra, Ghana with operations across Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia. It is registered with the Registrar Generals Department (RGD) of Ghana in compliance with the Companies Act. NewMax has business interest in investment, construction, mining and exploration, shipping and logistics, and forex and commodity trading. The words NEW and MAXIMIZE were fused together in order to create the name, NewMax, which means “new ways to maximize”. NewMax has grown into a multi-faceted organization with investments in a wide array of companies with key holdings in companies that are able to keep pace with the prosperity and growth of Africa, especially in Ghana’s development.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Identifying the right human resources to help make all my visions a reality. I am a visionary but that’s not enough. Every visionary needs the right people around him or her to be able to communicate those visions into a reality and that was the hardest part for me. I was able to overcome it when I decided to look at competencies, abilities, balance and capacities of the people I bring onboard instead of relationships, familiarities and conveniences. A lot of people think initial capital is the hardest part but honestly that wasn’t my problem not because I had money but because to me money was an output of my hard and smart work not an input...”I need to work to make money and not have money to work”
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
Read anything and everything. Read on and outside your field of endeavour. Read to gain knowledge because knowledge is power and read to be interesting and enlightened. I read a lot of biographies to know how the people before me have done what they’ve done and to make sure I don’t make some of their mistakes. A wise man once said “experience is the best teacher” and I am quick to add, it must not necessarily be your own experience. You can learn from other people’s experience when you read or know about them. I am currently reading a book titled “ The Perennial Seller” by Ryan Holiday.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it?
Yes I did. And how I handled it was to become successful at what I was doing and the contention stopped. Success is a great unifying force. It brings everybody together. I was focused to prove everybody wrong and I used all the rejection and contention as a tool to keep pushing my vision, and then allow the results to do the talking.
What would you do differently in hindsight?
Nothing really. And it’s not because I have had a perfect journey but because I have more tomorrows than yesterday so I don’t dwell on hindsight. I am still living, learning and pursuing my visions and I am become finer at the art of entrepreneurship because of my past experiences and failures.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
My team. I have a great, reliable and solid team like no other. My people are the best at what they do and we are like a great family.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
God has all the answers. I know that sounds religious but that’s my truth. God has been faithful to me and has seen me through so much on this journey that time and space can not permit me to tell the half of it. I wish I knew this sooner but I am happy I know now and I apply God in everything.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Knowledge is power. Please read, research and learn more about all your fields of endeavours and then learn to apply what you know. And remember you don’t know it all. Get the right people who know what they are doing and create the right enabling environment for them and then get out of their way so they can give you their best.