VGMA Board Must Continue To Listen

I know it is not easy at all to be a member of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Board; I strongly believe that, the experience of being a part of the Board brings some terrible feelings when the nominees list is released.

This is because people from all walks of life get the opportunity to talk, rant and dissect it with different mind-set to suit their individual understanding.

“For an industry person and from where I sit, I think they did a lousy job. There were some petty mistakes that for about 15 years of doing this, they shouldn’t be making.

It is a human institution, but then, when the mistakes are too petty, some of us will talk about it.”

“If they had done worse jobs in the past, they could have done a better job because as we move forward, we need to learn.

In the past, research was one of the most difficult things to do but these days, there is the internet. You can go online and check some of these things or speak to experts who are knowledgeable. Today, the research instruments or avenues are plenty,”

I remember the above words expressed by Bulldog, former manager of Shatta Wale about the VGMA Board when the nominees for 2014 edition of the awards were released.

Surprisingly, his then artiste ruled that edition and deservedly so. I mean such criticisms are welcome as it gives the Board the chance and opportunity to know where they may have gone wrong.

For the past 17 years that the awards have been instituted and run by Charterhouse, the VGMA Board which works on the submitted entries and categorise them has always been criticised for their work.

It seems every year something comes up. For the sake of the industry and helping to grow the scheme, the criticisms are welcome due to the fact that, the organisers and the Board are human institutions.

As usual, the VGMA brings some level of excitement among Ghanaians and the industry in general and this is expressed in various forms, such as the huge criticisms heaped on the learned personnel who sit through to work on the nominees list for a particular year.

Even though there are some areas which we all agree need to be beefed up to make this scheme more credible, I do not associate myself with any useless criticisms because we think as industry people, we have the right to talk and to lambaste the Board. I’m however for any useful criticisms and suggestions for the future.

Over the past few years, there have been some bad precedents of the awards. it appears that any musician who insults the awards is awarded in the subsequent editions. There are lots of examples of this which I will not go into for now.

It was believed that, people who take a negative stance on the VGMA get rewarded in subsequent editions.

Unfortunately, I’m better informed about the activities of the industry and the awards, so I believe these are views expressed by people who are not that well informed.

However, no matter how unfortunate those utterances are, it is high time that the VGMA Board took a bold stance on such personalities to protect the awards.

With this in mind, I have been a strong advocate for a form of punishment or even a ban to be placed on such offending musicians who think they can use their status to denigrate the scheme for whatever reasons and run back to the same scheme when they want.

At an event to announce some important changes to this year’s edition of the awards, the VGMA Board proved that, indeed they have been listening to the masses; they have been paying attention to the important criticisms of the scheme and working at putting the most important ones to use.

The Board may be listening to all the criticisms and the good suggestions but it will obviously take time for them to put all into use. It’s step by step. It was announced that, the Industry Awards which precedes the main awards night has been scrapped and that all the awards will be presented at the main event. Sounds good!

For the past few years, some industry personnel have been denied the right to be part of the main awards where all the action is.

As a strong advocate for the amalgamation of the industry awards and the main awards, I’m excited for the industry personnel who will be honoured on the night as there are lots of eyes on the main awards night than the industry awards

I have no doubt whatsoever that the Board took the right decision with respect to Shatta Wale.

He initiated a move to apologise and reconcile with the Board and the scheme; we can only encourage him to fully complete it.

If this decision doesn’t mean the Board is listening to the numerous calls for some level of punishment for offending musicians, then I’m unable to say what exactly it is.

If he were added to the scheme, it would have been the greatest disrespect to the other musicians. After all, it’s better to satisfy the interest of majority of the musicians than just one musician who feels he’s more important than everyone.

We can be angry because we did not get nominations. We can criticise the scheme because we feel our favourite musicians were overlooked. We can also be disappointed because Shatta Wale was disqualified.

We can as well be offended that, no Gospel Album Award would be awarded this year, or the fact that, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the MUSIGA Merit Award have been merged.

It is also within our rights to get angry that the Music for Development category has been put on hold this year, but we shouldn’t forget to say kudos to the Board when in the face of the errors also makes decisions which improve the scheme for the better.

The Board have shown that, they are listening and listening well, it is the hope of everyone that, they will continue to listen and effect the needed changes to the scheme as the years go by for the VGMA is all we have got.

By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz

Shatta Wale

Shatta Wale

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