It looks like the very needless and unnecessary controversies about the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards would only die down when the last option is taken into consideration.
The last option I’m referring to here is in an unlikely situation that, African artistes are taken off the awards for sanity to prevail.
A lot of feedback reaching me via my social media platforms and calls had come through after my article last week calling the bluff of African artistes and asking them to stop being hypocritical regarding the BET Awards, especially about where and how the two International categories awards are presented.
Generally as expected, there were some who were of the opinion that, the current practice was unfair to the artistes. These are just emotional Africans who think everything must be done in the awards to suit them. There were others who also share the notion that, Africa will get there with time.
Lilian Blankson, Director of Programming and Production at BET International, in a series of tweets, made some salient points, which need to be processed by everyone at least for people who are ready to listen and listen well. For the sake of those who have not read whatever she tweeted, below are her tweets.
“BET will always signify Black Star Power… Africa, if we want to be featured prominently, we need to know the facts and be very practical.
First of all, tell the truth and stop tweeting lies and mistruths. There has never been a backstage presentation of any award. Pre recorded.
We need to work hard and get our music on the radio here in the US. How do ppl respect ur brand when u r not on the radio?
“Make ur music more internationally appealing… Think of ways 2 get all audiences invested. Oliver Twist is a great example. Universal story.”
“Folks worked so so hard to provide a platform for Africa on the network. We won’t get there overnight. And misinformation won’t help.”
“BET domestic does not and has never aired African music so to have a category is a major deal. Let’s prove and show them our worth not anger.”
“The artists who have been honored – why haven’t you cleared the air and told the truth abt what happened! Why the silence???.”
“Out of 19 categories, only 4 or 5 make air. This is standard in Award Shows. If the US artists are not outraged and complaining, why are we?”
“Performances sell Awards shows & make ratings, not the categories. Lets step up our game & get our music so big they can no longer ignore it.”
“If you choose to fly down and watch the show and not do press who exactly do you think is affected or missing out? Think about it.”
“Let’s try and keep our category and know the facts. It does nothing to the network to take it away – but it sends us back several steps.”
“Finally, let’s be a little humble. No one owes us anything. Like everything else, we have to work our way to the top so we can stay there.”
“Nothing has ever come easy to us Africans. But anything worth having will not be a cake walk. Started from the bottom, but we here.”
Of all the things she tweeted, one caught my attention and surprisingly it was the same thing that all those that interacted with me on the BET Awards mentioned. She tweeted, “Let’s try and keep our category and know the facts.
It does nothing to the network to take it away – but it sends us back several steps.”
Yes, what happens should BET decide to take Africa out of the awards because of all these needless controversies? Will Africans now be happy at their expulsion from the awards? What would become of African artistes in terms of international recognition?
Are African artistes only going to fall solely on the almost dead awards show on the continent for recognition? On March 31, MNET shutdown the popular urban African music channel, Channel O to refocus its strategies to achieve a more efficient and streamlined approach that would enhance their subscribers’ television experience by providing them with regionalised music content.
It is not certain if the annual Channel O Music Video Awards will be held but with the shutdown of the channel that makes the awards irrelevant, the awards may have seen its last show. What next for African artistes?
The African awards equivalent to the American Grammy Awards, Kora Awards founded in 1994 by Ernest Adjovi to award outstanding musical achievement in sub-Saharan Africa is almost redundant.
After being staged for a number of years, the awards seems not to be strong like it was over the years. In 2012, the awards were held after going on hiatus for a while with Chris Brown as the headline artiste in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, with major concerns.
According to reports, Kora Awards may have gone bankrupt, hence, the number of challenges the organisers are currently facing in coming out with the event.
With Kora Awards and Channel O Music Video Awards out of the way, perhaps, African artistes would be left with the MTV Africa Music Awards established in 2008 by MTV Networks Africa (now Viacom International Media Networks Africa) to celebrate the most popular contemporary music in Africa.
The award is even held in Africa although with a couple of challenges here and there. Well, it’s not my business if BET Awards boycotts African artistes but I do not know about you.
By Ebenezer Anangfio/Graphic Showbiz