You have probably watched his videos at one point or the other. Ghanaian-born US-based Clifford Owusu has been releasing hilarious videos since 2007 and he doesn’t plan on stopping.
Clifford Owusu is that guy with the ‘African dad’ impersonations; he mixes his love for dancing and his love for making people laugh to create his videos.
Clifford has appeared on Good Morning America, travelled internationally to share his trademark humour, and had his videos featured on BuzzFeed.
He chats with OkayAfrica about his inspiration, how he started out with his videos and much more.
Read excerpts from his interview below.
When did you first start making videos and what inspired you: Around 2007. I had just graduated from college. My friends and I used to post videos on Facebook all the time; we used to do a lot of dancing to music. Then in 2007, my friend recorded me dancing (it’s still on YouTube). It’s a very old video; I hate it but it’s still on there. Nana Boateng, my best friend and manager (also the person I’m ignoring in the video where my phone goes off and my ringtone keeps me from picking it up), will not take it off. He posted the video back then, and it went off—so we thought there might be something to this video thing. Honestly, I really do enjoy just making people happy—that’s really it, no other motive. That’s what inspires me. I like to see people smile. Do you know how powerful a person is that can people smile? They can get whatever they want. If my girlfriend has a guy friend who’s really funny, I would tell her she can’t be friends with him anymore because he could steal her heart at any moment. [laughs]
You make a lot of videos about being an African in the US. Where on the continent is your family from? What do you think is unique about the experience of being African in America: My family is from Ghana. I was born in Tema, and I came to the US when I was 6. Back in junior high, being African was one of those things people I was growing up with weren’t proud of. People made a lot of jokes about us—everything you can think of. There was no honor; it wasn’t something to be happy about. A lot of people tried to adapt to the culture here, but I couldn’t because my parents were so African that there was nothing I could do to hide it. [laughs] My mom was so protective, she used to walk me to school every day. Fast forward to now: now everybody loves Africans. At the age I’m at right now, for me there is no better feeling than being African. I love the culture. I feel very connected to it even though I’m not back home. My home right is still filled with my culture because my parents never took me out of it. It’s a blessing to be in touch with my culture.
When was the last time you were in Ghana? Have your videos allowed you to connect with other Africans: In 2011, I was there for 2 weeks to see family. I went back like a tourist; I didn’t know anything or anyone. My relatives took me around like I was a tourist, and I loved it. They were so pressed to show me Accra Mall, and things that are more western developed. But I wanted to see the market, see my people, see the way they interact. It was an amazing experience. Yes, my videos have allowed me to connect with Africans and non-Africans all over the world. They refer to me as [laughs] “you–the guy who dances all the time!” They always say that one line that makes it worth it: “you make me so happy.” That’s why I do this. It’s a blessing, because before my connections used to be very local.
Does your dad watch your videos? How does he feel about your impersonation of him: He watches all of my videos, and he reads every comment. If you write something, he’ll read it. If you write something that said “Cliff, what you did offended me,” he’ll tell me the next day. He laughs because he’s not like the character. He finds it funny because he knows other people that act that way—my dad, trust me, he’s very funny. But he’s very calm. The only thing that’s like him is the no nonsense and the way he issues punishments.
What’s your favorite part of making videos: There’s too many! My favorite part has to be the creative process. It’s very easy to become one way and just keep doing the same thing over and over and over again. I love the actual production of it because I do everything—when you see different angles, that’s me putting the camera on my desk or my dresser or counter. I love the editing too. But the ultimate happiness is when you put something up and the response comes. When I put something up, I take a walk for 15 minutes and then come back and hit refresh. I love the responses from my viewers, who are like my friends. They are so good to me.
Watch some of his hilarious videos below!