This digital issue has been 5 months in the making.
I first saw Ria Boss perform at a Christmas Eve event I was invited to by the Treehouse Restaurant in December 2022, I knew right away that I had to work with her on a project. Which project? I didn’t know, I just had to.
Five months later and for mothers’ day, my team and I had begun brainstorming on who our cover star for the mothers’ day issue for GLITZ Digital would be.
Ria Boss – the amazing artiste I had seen perform, who also is the daughter of one of Ghana’s most influential public servants – now Ghana’s Ambassador to France, H.E Anna Bossman was first on my list.
From our communication challenges due to our busy schedules, a lot of last-minute changes, and countless faux pas; which I am certain frustrated us all, especially Ria’s team (I see you Pamm) to the core, we made this happen!
On a bright Tuesday morning in East Legon, Ria arrived at the location, energetic, graceful and ready for the shoot! Wearing a black graphic print T-Shirt, baggy jeans and crocs, she was relaxed, so easy to work with and every bit collaborative.
Right after her make-up and hair prep was done, we proceeded to a cool and cozy greenhouse where we shot and filmed Ria about the women who shaped her into the strong, unapologetic badass woman she is.
Here’s RIA BOSS: My Maternal Influences in Her Own Words.
Who was Ria Boss as a child?
Well, first of all, she wasn’t Ria, she was Maria. She was also or still is, I guess you could say, an only child so very much in her head, very much a dreamer, extremely curious, always talking to herself, or I used to talk to my hands actually, they were my friends. I was into cartoon characters; cartoons were literally my friends like my Dexter tattoo on my arm or like Mickey Mouse on the other. I feel like I was raised by cartoons and comic books and all those kinds of things.
Ria as a child was very loved. My mom and my grandmother raised me and so I was surrounded by women, powerful women. She hadn’t yet discovered that there was power in her voice but she knew she wanted to sing pretty much from the time she came out of the womb.
She didn’t know her power then because I think Ria as a child was also shy and also Ria as a child was definitely not into glam, she was a tomboy!
Yeah, I guess that was Ria as a child.
What is your fondest memory of your mother and grandmother growing up?
I think the fondest memory of my mom and my grandmother, I wonder if I should do a joint one or if I should do a separate one. Well, let me give you a joint one. I think I’m very fortunate that my mom and my grandmother were always constantly traveling. I was actually called my grandmother’s handbag, because everywhere my grandmother and my mom would go, I’d be there with them.
I really distinctly remember, I think it was one summer where myself, my mother and my grandmother went to Belgium together and there’s this picture that we took on some stairs like standing as three generations of Bossman women. Every time I see that picture, I feel extremely proud… extremely proud because I had particular access as a young child that I feel like I was extremely fortunate and very lucky of me. You know, not everybody has the privilege of being able to travel very early on so I thank them for that. But it also was a reminder that I was super loved. My mom and my grandmother held me down. I guess that’s a really good memory.
A memory of my mom, I remember one time we were driving on the Tema motorway and I started singing the song tomorrow from the film Annie and my mom stopped the car, she parked and she said to me, “you have a very true voice”, which, at the time, I didn’t know what it meant but she explained that, ”you can sing something exactly as you’ve heard it”. I think from that point, I started seeing my voice a lot differently. It was a moment where some things changed for me, I realized I had a gift as opposed to something I could just do.
That’s a really fond memory of my mom.
How much of an influence did your mom and grandmother have on your self-expression?
To be fair, I feel like my mother has always given me the freedom. My grandmother was definitely like a typical Ga woman so the tattoos and stuff she was not very happy about. I did them when I like left Ghana so when I came back, she was like, what’s going on? But regardless of my grandmother not necessarily understanding, I had to bring her into my world, which was expressed to her why I express myself in this way. And when you’re able to communicate, especially with the older generation, it’s helpful. My grandmother, God rest her soul by the time she passed, she was super into my tattoos and my piercings.
My mom has always been a pretty progressive mom, I would say, the only thing she told me was that the only time you can get your own tattoo is when you can pay your own bills. So, what did I do when I got my first paycheck? I got a tattoo on my side and I hid it very well for two years and I even lied that it was henna. Sorry, Mom!
What is the one-character trait you have inherited from your mom and grandmother?
The one-character trait I got from both of them, as much as I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, is Resilience. I know sometimes women, you know, we don’t always like referring to ourselves as having to be strong or having to be resilient, you know, because sometimes we just want to be, but I think something I learned from both of them, especially watching my grandmother growing up and seeing my mom being the only one woman in rooms filled with men and owning them was resilience. And she was like, you know, in any room you find yourself, own it.
My grandmother had a very outspoken personality and I think I’m a lot like her. But my mom can also be very stern and outspoken in her own way. And so, I think I got their resilience and probably how outspoken they are.
Also, they’re like fashion killers, you know? So yeah.
What is the one advice they gave that has stuck with you till date?
There’s something my mother and my grandmother have always said, mostly, my mother, is to accept the good. It is a phrase that my mom has said over and over again, my whole life. And pretty much it means that no matter the situation you’re in, even if it’s negative, whatever the situation, you have to accept the good in it and I think that even as stubborn as I have been in my own journey to self, I’ve always sort of had that in the back of my mind to accept the good.
And when you kind of hold that you kind of feel good!
How did your mother reconcile the differences between your path and hers?
My mom is a lawyer by profession, she worked for the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). She has had her own consultancy firm. My mom is like a powerful woman, now she’s Ghana’s ambassador to France. I mean, the woman is a corporate and diplomatic baddie. But you would assume that because she’s done all those things, my path is very different. But I’ll tell you, my mom was in a band growing up, she played the guitar and she writes poetry. She was just in an anthology last year called Accra Noir and is also a published author. I’ve even done an art exhibition where I had poetry that she wrote alongside it.
My mom is extremely creative but she did not have the luxury of parents who at the time saw that creative pursuit was going to give her the kind of money that I guess she could have had now, you know, because then I don’t think they could have seen it.
My mom and her band played at Baden Powell High Street, they were about to go on tour but my grandpa said, PLEASE! She wanted to do linguistics and he was like, No! Go and do law! I mean, the law has helped my mom in tremendous ways and she always tells me that even though she didn’t get to do exactly what she wanted to do, the path that she chose, has also given her the same life that she wanted. I really love my mom’s perspective on life, because she’s able to sort of again, accept the good in literally any situation.
I think the only way that we’re super different is in the way we outwardly express ourselves. My mom’s sometimes like, “why are you she showing someone’s skin or so much makeup, your nails”. And of course, the tattoos, my mom is like, you should stop but unfortunately, I’m getting my neck tatted up next year.
I am honest with my mother, and my mother, also, knows who I am. When you’re transparent, they kind of know that however you express yourself, it’s an extension of you and so, the expression shouldn’t mean something negative or positive, it really just means that this is how, I’ve chosen to show myself to the world and she has been very, especially over the years, maybe more recent years, she’s been a lot more accepting of how I choose to present myself because I think she also sees that it gives me a certain level of confidence in myself.
Shout out to my Momma!
What is the weirdest thing you’ve heard about your mom?
When my mom was working for CHRAJ, there were all kinds of things in the news.
I think the weirdest thing we’ve heard is like, she’s running for president or like, she’s running for vice president and none of us knew. We found out in the newspapers and I looked at my mom like, “Oh, you want to be President, you going to be Vice President?” We all didn’t know and that was super weird, especially because even though my mom is currently working for the government, she’s always been extremely neutral. And even in her position as an ambassador, she’s super neutral and I think that’s because, she’s worked for human rights so really at the core of it all, she is a human rights advocate.
And so yeah, that was weird because it was like my mom? President? No! I mean, she’d be a fantastic President but I don’t want her to like stress and get old too quickly I need her in my life. She’s my mom, I don’t need her to be your President.
In 5 words, describe your mom
Stubborn. Panicky, like me, we have anxiety. Powerful. Beautiful. And the best mom ever. That’s like four words. But yeah, the best mom, even though we be fighting, the best mom ever!
Do you have anything to say to your mom this mothers’ day?
Mom, I know that sometimes, we butt heads and I know that sometimes you want me to call you more than I usually do but it’s because I’m really invested in making sure that I can create a life that you’re proud of and that I can take care of you the way you’ve consistently taken care of me.
I’m fortunate to be able to be a creative in an environment where my parents support me. It is a privilege that I don’t take lightly. And so, I want to thank you and I love you and Happy Mother’s Day!
Do you have any projects coming up?
Cat Mama World, which is a show that I launched last year on my birthday, which is the Ria Boss Experience is going to be every single year, we’re going to do the next one again on my birthday this year. But prior to Cat Mama World, we’re going to be doing Cat Mama World pop ups so please be looking out on my socials for all of that.
Apart from that, I also work hand in hand with two amazing organizations. Black Girls Glow is one of them and I happen to be their creative team lead and workshop facilitator. Our residency program is going to be this summer in July so look out for that look out for our women.
If you support Black Girls Glow, you’re supporting Ria Boss.
I also work with Churches of Stories and Jane Can Do; amazing production houses. Ria Boss is also more than just a musician, I’m also a creative content creator, I do voiceovers and one thing I want y’all to look out for is when I start acting, because I’m coming for your Oscars.
What are your socials?
You can follow me @theriaboss on Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Tik Tok now but I haven’t posted anything so if you follow me, I’m sorry, but I’m trying.
And yeah, anywhere you see Cat Mama? That’s probably me. So, meow when you see me.
GLITZ Africa Digital Issue 13 – RIA BOSS: My Maternal Influences
Creative Director: Emmanuel Wilson Krofah (@themanny_)
Photography: Stephen Eshun (@stephenjpeg)
Videography: @jayapps Outfit: @nyonuvithewoman
Hair & Make Up: David Sowah (@odo_tei)
Production Assistants: Larry Adams (@its_larryadams), Rachel Quist (@rachelquist_)
Cat model: Favor the Cat