Home Entertainment 2016 VGMA Considered A Runners-Up Awards

2016 VGMA Considered A Runners-Up Awards

Recognition is something every worker in any field of labour wants. It doesn’t matter which field it is.


Even fields that recognition or awards don’t necessarily means more money, it is still usually coveted.


It is so because of the motivation it brings and the appreciation it shows to the recipient among other reasons. It is more so in the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry weighs the value and success of a “player” more often than not, on how awarded or recognised you are. And they all look forward to awards and recognition.

It’s usually false when any artist says “I don’t care about the awards”. You do. You care so much about it that it causes sleepless nights the night before the nominations and if nominated, the night before the event itself. We can agree in part if one says “I don’t do it for the awards”. But “I don’t care about it” is hard for us to accept.

As the saying goes “a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for”. We can equally say “an industry that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for”.

So every music lover in Ghana was excited when Charter House burst onto the scene and organised Ghana Music Awards. It was just a brilliant idea. We all supported it. In the beginning, it was organised without much complains from artists and fans.

But in recent times, that has not being the case. The negative noise comes before, during and after the event. We understand when the industry was small, it was easy to manage. And when it got big, it will certainly become a bit difficult. That’s when their capability was to be tested.

If the difficulty comes from organising the event in the areas of who is to perform, ticketing, venue, sponsorship and the other factors that comes into play to give the event the face it deserves, that is something we can understand (even that, with reservations). But when the noise is caused by who got nominated and who won the award, then it shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. Let’s break it down.

The work our musicians put out is completely different from the worker. Is Charter House in the business of awarding the work or the worker? Or both? Or neither? We can only answer this question by analysing the recent happenings.

In 2012, a group called One Phamily released a song they called “Benedicta”.
It was very popular especially in the Ashanti region. It was played at weddings, night clubs and everywhere music was needed for dance. But I believe most people have no idea who they are. The song(the work) was widely accepted. It came at the time Azonto was gaining prominence. And with its Azonto tune, kids loved it. But we knew little or nothing about One Phamily. But the fact that they are not known much and don’t have the “swag” doesn’t mean the work was not great. It was. Their video showed they didn’t have class. But the song did. So to recognise these guys, we need to separate their “no fame” from their work. Because that will give them fame. If we don’t (as wasn’t done) they will remain there. And that’s what has happened.

Kwabena Kwabena has a lot of fans. He is the most accomplished and probably most loved highlife artist of the present generation. And we all agree he’s almost always singing about love. But we know the stories that comes from his love life. Very opposite the message he sends in his music. But Ghanaians haven’t ignored his songs because of that. We still love his work. We’ve separated the work from the worker. Because what links us with him is his work and not his personality.

Not very long ago Ghanaians fell in love with Westlife. And their songs were on the lips of a lot of us. We loved more expecially when Mark, their best vocalist sung. He had in his lyrics “girl” this and that. At their concerts, there was always a special shout that came from the crowd when it gets to his part to sing. They just loved him. But not long after he “came out” he was gay. A lot of people were shocked. But did they stop loving him? No! His fan base actually increased. And he didn’t eliminate the word “girl” from his lyrics. Why did girls still support him? Because they were interested in his work and not him- the worker.

One may argue the above examples are between an artist and fans and not an artist and the media house that organises the event. Which have been the reason some of our deserving artists have been sidelined. That is very true.But remember Kanye West dissed The Grammys Awards but was not sidelined. That’s professionalism. I ask, is there any award which’s criteria doesn’t have to do with the fans’ reception? If there is, then that will be decided by Charter House alone. And later just announce to us those they have awarded. That’s if we will care at all.

If Charter House has any problem with any artist, they should deal with that artist on the level that it should be dealt with. But not in a way that will question the integrity of Ghana music. It was very professional when Charter House sued Shatta Wale. When it went to court, it should be handled there. An apology should only be required to take that case out of court and not as a requirement to be nominated. That becomes a personalisation of what Charter House preaches was meant for the people.

The people want Shatta Wale to be in the VGMA. And I’m not very worried about what the fans wants more, as compared to what others will think of the country’s music industry. Every foreigner that came to any event in 2015 to date’s first question after the event will be “how many awards did Kakai win?” or “how many awards did Shatta Wale win?”. This will not be because they are his friends but rather the reception Shatta and Kakai received at the event they witnessed. Is there anyone who will say a song that has caught the interest of GTA game has a competitor? I don’t think so!

We can’t argue that the VGMA is the most recognised music awards and arguably the most recognised awards event in the country. So we don’t want the ridicule that comes with it when those who don’t deserve the awards are given the awards. Just because there is some problem with any artist should not be a reason not to award his or her work. The work and the worker are different. As the credibility of VGMA decreases, it’s bad for all of us. We will not mind much if there was another competing.

But as we speak, there isn’t so we will be on you to do it right. The little credibility left after nominating Teephlow’s “the warning” in three categories(best rapper, hip hop song, and new artist of the year) when he released the song in April 2014, earlier than “Telemo” but stating the same reason of “released not in the year under review” as the reason for not nominating it should be guarded next year. Don’t lose it. It’s important. Whatever your motivations are please the name of our country is attached to it.

Any winner in these categories are just runners-up placed first. All of the winners will know within themselves that if the real winner were nominated, they would have had no chance;

1. Artist of the year: There is no artist in this country who did well in 2015 than Shatta. This cuts across all the genres and not reggae/dancehall alone. Considering the number of songs he released, the reception he received, the events he performed at and his general appeal. It was just incredible. He did all.

2. Most Popular Song of the Year: I was listening to one of the radio stations in Kumasi when one of the presenters said he received a message from a pastor that he caught himself singing “Kakai” in his mind and nodding early in the morning when he was taking his kids to school. That’s what most popular songs do. It reaches everyone. All ages and professions. Sometimes without the consent of the recipient. Any song that wins the most popular song should just call Shatta and say “I have your award. You can come for it”.

3. Reggae/Dancehall Artist of the Year:
When an artist wins the artist of the year, it’s automatic that he or she wins the best in his or her genre. So if Shatta is the artist of the year, he definitely should win reggae/dancehall artist of the year. Simple.

4. Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year: “Kakai” was first played to me by my good friend in his car a few days after it was released. Even though I didn’t admit in his presence it’s a great song (because I’ve always not being a fan of Shatta Wale and he is) it kept banging in my head all through the week. I had to call him later and tell him “this song will take Ghana by storm”. And I’m happy my prediction was correct. It has taken Ghana by storm and we don’t know when it’ll end. It deserves it. This is not to take anything away from Stonebwoy’s “Google Higher” but Kakai beat it. However if “Kakai” was nominated and beaten by “Go Higher”, I won’t be surprised. It’s a great dancehall song. It depends on the choice of the listener and the situation he or she is in to make a choice. Whether the song came when he or she was been fought by enemies or at a time he was scaring away his or her enemies with success.

As these awards will be going to the runners-up, we may bear for now. But whether apology or not, Charter House should know how to handle their personal issues and not meddle with the choice of the people. Because it’s for the people. Or they can change the name from Vodafone Ghana Music Awards to Vodafone Charter House Choice Awards. If they do, we will let them alone. If they don’t, we will continue to point them to where they should go.

Source: Tebby-Hanson Thomas tebbyhanson@gmail.com

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