Letter to Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Board

Vodafone Ghana Music Awards

Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2014

It is curious to me that, after 14 years working to ensure that the lists of nominees you come out with for the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards have no controversies, the controversies have rather become what the media and the general public feed on, year after year.  

On Saturday May 3, 2014, at the auditorium of the Accra International Conference Centre, the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards will officially be 15 years as musicians and their songs will be awarded for their hard work in the year 2013.

I’m writing this letter because I’m disappointed that after so long a time, the rules and the regulations of the awards appear not to be taken seriously.

The description and definition of the various categories ought to be reviewed else the continued use of old descriptions of the categories will bring discredit to the awards.

As things stand now, some artistes who deserve to be nominated have been left out and some have found their names in the list when they should not.

I have come to observe Ghanaians that, they will prefer an artiste to be nominated even though that artiste has no chance of winning. For some, that’s even better than leaving out the artiste due to unacceptable means.

If you have been following the hullabaloo after the nominations had been unveiled, though some of the arguments and comments currently going on are what I will describe as ‘some way’, however, they are in reference to the above point.

Ghanaians and especially those who have followed the awards since its inception in 2000 when Daddy Lumba ruled Ghana with his ‘Aben Wo Ha’ song may still remember what happened.

The controversy that bedeviled the awards then and how some people thought that, the song didn’t deserve a nomination, let alone winning most and biggest awards on the night cannot be forgotten anytime soon.

There was little that anyone could have done, except complain but there was no turning back. I can vividly recollect everything. The controversy has grown yearly.

Fast forward to 2014, it appears that, the controversy has become the order of the day when the VGMA is concerned. It has become a canker in the industry or should I say canker of the awards?

I can understand the pressure you guys go through, especially when weeks to the release of the nominations, most artistes came out to mention the categories they want to be nominated in.

Some go as far as penning down over five awards and say they deserve to win all those categories. I don’t want to believe that, such misleading utterances put pressure on the Board.

The noise about this year’s awards is very relevant, a reason for this letter. How did the Board unfortunately put a cap on some of the categories and shockingly allowed other categories to swell up? The questions being asked in the media is that, do the Board to this deliberately?

Even though I do not know all the members on the Board, I believe and it is assumed that, the members understand music and the various types they fall under so as to make the nominations less problematic. But some of the nominations are outright ridiculous and leave so much to be desired. To an extent, it’s affecting the credibility of the Board members.

All the noise and confusion about this year’s nominations is geared towards one category; the New Artiste of the Year. Due to reasons best known to the Board, they could settle on only three nominees even though there were more and good materials to be included there.

The definition of the category says that, the New Artiste of the Year is the Artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the most promising and talented new artiste(s). The award goes to the artiste(s) who made the most impact with his/her FIRST release (Single/Album) during the year under review.

According to the Board, Akwaboah, Joey B and Kumi Guitar were the only musicians who qualified due to the definition. But putting a common sense to the definition, then each of the three nominated artistes have no business being nominated at all.

Akwaboah has picked an award at the Ghana Music Awards previously for writing a song for Becca. What was the Board thinking when they collectively accepted to put him in the New Artiste category?

Before Tonga which has proved to be Joey B’s biggest hit song of all time, he released a couple of singles before 2013. Is the Board saying that, per their own understanding of the category, if a new artiste didn’t make any impact with his first single, he could be nominated in the second year with another hit single?

Kumi Guitar’s nominated song is over one year old so questions are being asked whether he got the nomination because Mark Okraku Mantey, a member of the Board and also the brain behind Kumi Guitar had some influence in the decision.  Aren’t the critics justified when they accuse the Board of doing a lousy job?

Another area that I feel the Board didn’t do well was some of the placements. If I’m a musician, must I tag myself as a gospel musician before I get nominated in a gospel category?

Gospel songs are inspirational and motivational songs. If OJ’s Maye Se Wo Pen is classified as a gospel song, why wasn’t Bisa KDei’s Baba not tagged as such? Is it because OJ says he’s a gospel musician and Bisa KDei refers to himself as a Hiplifer?

Can’t inspirational songs be classified as gospel tunes? So if Shatta Wale records an inspirational song devoid of the ‘p’, ‘m’, and ‘n’ words, will the Board still tag it as Dancehall just because Shatta Wale is a Dancehall artiste?

I have no doubt in my mind that, review of the category descriptions will help the awards and in fact, that is what is needed now.

The Board members must prove to Ghanaians, not me, that, they didn’t just go there to eat and collect fat allowances. The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Board must work again!

By:  Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz

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