Even though the 2016 edition of the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) has not been officially launched, it looks like an issue concerning the scheme is already being widely discussed in the media. This is expected anyway and the discussion is expected to continue unabated until the day that a new Artiste of the Year is named.
When industry personalities meet to discuss matters concerning the music industry and the awards in particular, this same issue inevitably finds its way to the fore for discussions.
The issue in question is whether Dancehall act and winner of the VGMA Artiste of the Year winner in 2014, Shatta Wale should be nominated in the upcoming awards.
The noise about his nominations or otherwise is because Shatta Wale said he didn’t want to be nominated or associated with the awards but later made a sharp U-turn to show interest in the scheme, claiming his fans wanted him to take part.
To show his seriousness about wanting to be part of the scheme, last Wednesday, Shatta Wale met the organisers of the awards, Charterhouse to submit his works for consideration into the 2016 awards.
According to reports, he submitted 10 out of the 90 songs he released in 2015 including Kakai, Hol It, Kill ’em with Prayers, Chop Kiss, Zinabu and Reality.
Prior to submitting the songs, he told JoyNews, “Well, you know I’ve gotten calls everywhere and it’s mostly from my fans, telling me to forget certain things and move with the system.”
“I feel they are my god and they really pushed my music and got it to where it has to be and I believe they made me who I am so I told my team since the fans are asking then let’s submit it. I’m the type that doesn’t fancy awards but since the fans want it, we will submit it whether we win or not.”
I will not waste people’s time in revisiting the ‘Shatta Wale don’t nominate me and you can now nominate me’ saga. Just like Tupac said, “life goes on.” Should Shatta Wale be nominated or not, nothing at all will change. The awards will still come off as planned in May 2016.
Without an iota of doubt, the introduction of the annual Ghana Music Awards has helped the country and musicians in general. However, this has not entirely been without any challenges but the awards has added more positive energy to the lives of the musicians than negativity.
What I mean is that, it has brought some level of attention to Ghana in terms of how the country’s musicians are seen. Now, I can comfortably say that, Ghanaian musicians are revered in different parts of the world. If not for nothing at all, the VGMA is the biggest award scheme in West Africa.
Previously, Ghanaian musicians did not dare try to organise shows in Europe and America but now with the exposure that the scheme has given them, they are able to organise different shows and they are always sold out.
I must also add that, for some years now, Ghanaian music has been enjoying massive international appeal than it used to previously. Ghanaian musicians are now recognised on several international platforms and even nominated in different awards schemes on the continent and beyond.
There is no need to waste everyone else’s time to point out which scheme is responsible for the above. All the above have come into play and this is because of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
The scheme will be 17 years this year. A lot can happen in 17 years and that confirms the different stages that, the scheme has passed through to reach its current position. All these were achieved with hard work and the spirit of humility.
A lot of these award schemes have come and folded up, a reason to congratulate Charterhouse, the organisers, for doing such a fantastic job over the past few years and for still running the awards despite all the hateful messages, insults and numerous challenges. Secondly, for growing the scheme and maintaining its standard.
The scheme has reached the stage where, musicians release songs targeting the awards and hoping it will favour them. The VGMA is the biggest event on the Ghanaian music calendar that every musician looks forward to.
The awards have become the yardstick by which the country’s standards in music are measured. I have personally being approached by musicians whose publicity tactics is geared towards winning the awards. Therefore, I know what I’m talking about here.
When musicians are lucky to win an award, they flaunt it and make all the noise. It doesn’t end there, they and their music get a lot of attention. In fact, their ratings go up. They are referred to as … “award winning musicians” and that’s something to be proud about.
Those who are not able to win take it personal and use offensive and unprintable words in describing the scheme and the Board members who sat through the process. This at least confirms that, the musicians like and appreciate the scheme. If not, why would musicians take it personal because they are not able to win a particular category?
Even there is more to be enjoyed when one wins the ultimate award, which is the Artiste of the Year. Aside the plaque, the money and the bragging rights. The musician gets unparalleled home and international attention in other awards like the BET Awards.
With all the scheme is doing for the industry, it’s about time that, the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) start thinking of dealing with musicians to serve as deterrent to other musicians who attack the Board and the scheme needlessly.
Listen; just as one needs a visa to have a smooth travel to most countries, it’s the same way that, the Ghana Music Awards has become like a musician’s ticket to international platforms. The earlier the Board starts biting musicians for the betterment of the scheme and the industry, the better.
When one commits a crime, the person may be remorseful and pray for forgiveness from the Almighty God but the person must still pay for the crime he or she committed on earth and this is in the courtroom.
Praying for forgiveness or apologising does not necessarily mean whatever crime was committed is null and void. For the past number of years, the awards has been awarding people from all walks of life, why then do we allow few people to be disrespectful to the scheme and bring its name into disrepute?
Over the years, we have had too many musicians disrespect the scheme because one or two things didn’t favour them. Let’s clamp down on these people.
I am not suggesting that, Shatta Wale should not be nominated, all I’m saying is that, the Board must use him to set a good example for others to follow. Over to you VGMA Board.
By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz