Lynx Entertainment signed female Dancehall artiste, MzVee, has been trending for some time now. If you know what I mean, the young lady is trending because she surprisingly made the cut for the Best International Act: Africa category at the 2016 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards.
This is not her first time experiencing the BET Awards. Last year, she was nominated in the then newly created Best New International Artist Viewers’ Choice Awards category which she lost to Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo.
But what do I mean by she surprisingly got nominated? Well, there is no known category definition or criteria for the nominees, especially the Best International Act category. Clearly, looking at the number of Ghanaian musicians available for the nominations, MzVee was and still remains the less favourite to be nominated.
This is simple if we are focusing on relevance and vibrancy in the year. Yes, MzVee has been very active and busy in the year, mounting different stages, at least that explained why she got nominated at the 17th Vodafone Ghana Music Awards where she won the Best Female Vocalist of the Year. However, she hasn’t been that relevant.
Don’t get it twisted, being active and relevant are two different things – they are not the same. A musician can be active and stay irrelevant and vice versa. But many musicians were active and relevant in the year, at least compared to MzVee, but she was nominated instead at their expense. Fair enough; but at the same time, many people think otherwise. The mixed feelings that erupted after her nomination are based on certain key points from my perspective.
Prior to the release of the nominations, previous nominees and winners, Sarkodie and Stonebwoy, as well as rapper and current VGMAs Artiste of the Year, EL and Dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, were names which came out as favourites to get the slot.
All said and done, MzVee would be competing for the 2016 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards Best International Act: Africa category alongside South Africa’s AKA, Cassper Nyovest and Black Coffee, Nigeria’s Wizkid and Yemi Alade, Tanzania’s Diamond Platinumz and Ivorian Serge Beynaud at the awards slated for Sunday, June 26, this year at the Microsoft Theatre In Los Angeles, United States of America.
I mentioned the key reasons why MzVee’s nomination has created a lot of mixed feelings and reactions from Ghanaians. Unfortunately, Ghanaians cannot blame MzVee for the nomination, instead the blame must be shifted to the BET Awards and here are the reason.
No Criteria for selection
It is understandable that some people aren’t happy about MzVee’s nomination. This is because, as Ghanaians, we are aware that an award must have a basis for nominating people and not throw out the nominations without a particular criterion which the general public do not know about.
The Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards currently doesn’t have any criterion for nominating musicians for the annual awards scheme and that is a serious indictment on the awards scheme.
Last year, Dancehall artiste, Stonebwoy became the first Dancehall artiste from Ghana to be nominated in the BET Awards and the second winner of the awards after Sarkodie co-won it with Nigeria’s Wizkid in 2012.
Speaking on Peace FM, an Accra based radio station, Stonebwoy said he was not aware of any laid down criteria for selection.
“Hmm, I seriously don’t know the criteria they use over there. When I was nominated and I went there, I asked their rep who was dealing directly with me all through as to the criteria they use in selection, but shockingly, the rep told me there is no fixed criteria.”
“Maybe, it’s their code of ethics not to disclose what goes into the selection process and according to the rep, every year and the criteria they think would suit the award, the direction the awards is heading to and more..”, he said.
For awards of this magnitude, just nominating musicians without any laid down rules and regulation doesn’t show seriousness at all. If African-Americans do not care about or believe in any criteria for selection in their various categories, Africans in Africa and for that matter, Ghanaians do believe and care because we can differentiate between an active and relevant musician.
All over the world, every award scheme has a category definition used to nominate people . The prestigious Vodafone Ghana Music Awards is a typical example.
A search on the BET nomination process, brings out, “There is a voting academy made up of about 500 people from the music industry, media, and bloggers. BET sends out ballots electronically and voters nominate, in all the different categories, who they think should be award nominees. These are collated by a group called “Yangaroo” that works on other awards shows as well, and they narrow it to the top five nominees, and send that list back out to the academy to vote on the winner”.
Who are those music industry personnel, media and bloggers who help in the balloting to get people to be nominated? I think this will help Ghanaians and to a large extent, the general followers of BET Awards to understand the nitty-gritty of the awards.
Back in Ghana, even the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards which we lambast and criticise needlessly every year doesn’t just nominate musicians based on how they feel in a particular year.
Instead, there are laid down criteria for selections in the numerous categories. Also, these criteria are updated and edited yearly whenever there is a need to.
Needless noise about her nominations
“This is just the beginning for Ghana and the females in the industry and I hope a lot of them are going to do better things, bigger and better things MzVee told Jeremie on Live Breakfast Club on Live FM in her first interview after the nomination.
I personally do not have any bad feelings about her nominations. But like I indicated earlier, most people would have opted for Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Sarkodie or EL for the nomination instead of MzVee.
Stonebwoy and Sarkodie because they have been there and seen it all and are still doing whatever they did to be nominated previously. Shatta Wale because he is currently the biggest musician in Ghana right now.
But people would go for EL because they have been under the illusion that any artiste who wins the VGMA Artiste of the Year gets an automatic slot in the BET Awards. I’m very glad that, that mindset has been shot down by the organisers of the BET Awards. Ghanaians must wake up from their sleep and smell the coffee.
The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans and other minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment . The awards are presented annually, and are broadcast live on BET.
Until we know of the criteria for selection, which BET Awards doesn’t have, let’s leave the girl alone and wish her well.
Win or lose, she has the BET Awards nomination on her CV and that is no mean achievement. I do not know about you but MzVee’s nomination is a Yah for me.
By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz