Berlin — Mr Joe Chialo has been appointed Berlin’s first cultural minister with Tanzanian roots, marking a first in German and European politics.
Mr Chialo was born in Bonn in 1970 as the son of the late Tanzanian Ambassador Mr Isaya Chialo, who served many years in Germany, China and Japan during his career, before he returned to Tanzania for his retirement. His mother, Ms. Theopista Chialo, as well as some of his brothers, still live in Dar es Salaam.
The 52-year-old will guide the fortunes of Berlin’s cultural policy in the future. Mr Chialo has an impressive career in the creative and cultural industries. After graduating from a Salesian Don Bosco boarding school near Cologne, he studied history, politics and economics in Erlangen for a few semesters before abandoning his studies in favour of a singing career with Blue Manner Haze. Mr Chialo has not only been active as a musician and was subsequently signed to Sony Music, but also completed a manual apprenticeship as a CNC miller. In 2002, he joined the world’s largest music company, Universal Music, and moved from Hamburg to Berlin.
In 2009, Mr Chialo founded the joint venture label Airforce1 Records together with Universal Music, which specializes in integrated marketing for creatively and conceptually outstanding artists. Among the most successful artists on Airforce1 Records are Alvaro Soler, Santiano, Ben Zucker and the Kelly Family. In 2018, Mr Chialo also founded Afroforce1 Records, a music label dedicated to expanding creative and economic collaboration with countries in Africa promoting artists as Mi Casa.
In 2020, Mr Chialo was appointed by Universal Music as Executive Vice President A&R Universal Music Central Europe & Africa, where his responsibilities included identifying and marketing artists from the African cultural space.
In addition to his work in the creative and cultural industries, Mr Chialo is also politically active. In 2016, he joined former chancellorette Angela Merkel’s party CDU, and in 2021 he ran in Berlin as a candidate for the German Parliament. In January 2022, he was elected to the German Parliament. In January 2022, he was elected to the federal executive committee of the CDU of Germany with the best voting result. Now he is taking action as Senator for Culture in Berlin, promising an exciting and dynamic time for the city’s cultural scene.
The appointment of Mr Chialo as the first black minister for culture is an important step toward a more diverse and inclusive society. Mr Chialo’s appointment as cultural senator is likely to cause a stir in Berlin’s cultural politics.
His experience and network in the creative and cultural industries, as well as his political experience in the CDU and his commitment to Berlin’s pop culture, could help him successfully shape and promote Berlin’s cultural scene.