VGMA: Put Your Popularity To Test

This piece is inspired by two things; one is the current commercial running on television where celebrities ask the general public to vote to ensure that their favourite musicians pick up awards at the forthcoming Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. The theme for the commercial is �no vote, no complaint�. The advert is what it is. You need to be smart to understand the message behind it. The other thing is the goings-on since nominees for the awards were made public a few weeks ago. If you laughed out loud whenever you read or heard one Ghanaian musician or another make so much noise about the fact that they deserved some particular awards, then certainly you are not the only person. I do too. Curiously, many of the screaming musicians hardly make it their duty to encourage their fans and the general public to vote for them. Rather, they concentrate their energies on shouting, �I will win this� or �I deserve that�. Permit me to refer to those utterances by musicians as expensive jokes from a bunch of people who are good at glorifying themselves but bad at doing anything meaningful like following the procedures on how a musician can win award at the VGMA. The release of this year�s nominees for the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards has opened pockets of issues which are being discussed. A great chunk of the issues being criticised now are a re-occurrence of what has happened to past awards while a few others are completely new. But as consultations are going on, it is my wish that a truce can be found and at the end of the day, the definitions for the categories would be reviewed. Let�s allow the awards to satisfy everybody than just few people. As an industry person, I�m not happy about some portions of this year�s nominations. My point really is that, some categories should not be allowed to swell up while caps are put on others. For example, it should be agreed that, each category should have at most 10 nominees. However, a category can still have more or less nominees depending on the materials available in the year under review. Why raise needless criticism and finger pointing like putting a cap on some categories even when there are more than enough materials to be picked from must be avoided. But regardless of what I think and what everyone else is saying, my attention today is on the expensive jokes told by Ghanaian musicians year after year. When a nomination is released, the next thing is for the nominated musicians to ask their followers to vote for them. Before I continue, I will pause a minute and pay respect to Herty Bongreat, last year; she won the Best Collaboration of the Year award against highly tipped Bye Bye by Asem featuring Kwabena Kwabena. The reason was that simple. She capitalised on her rival�s weakness for her gain. At the end of the day, what did we see? Ghanaians saw Asem lose the award to Herty Bongreat because unlike the former who was involved in expensive jokes of telling the world that he deserves the award more than the other nominees, the latter used all her arsenals to campaign for votes from her fans. Personally, what I learnt from Herty-Asem�s experience is that, don�t just assume that people will vote for you, work for it or ask them for it. Few weeks after the release of the nominations, a few expensive jokes have already been recorded. Looking at the rate at which the musicians get involved in these expensive jokes, there is a possibility that, the numbers are likely to swell up drastically. Here are some of the few expensive jokes recorded so far: According to Guru, the rapper who made his name by featuring on a controversial song which was a direct insult to his senior rapper obtained eight nominations at this year�s awards. His nominated categories comprise Artiste of the Year, Hiplife Song of the Year, Hiplife Artiste of the Year, Best Collaboration, Vodafone Song of the Year, Hiplife/Hiphop Artiste of the Year, Album of the Year and Producer of the Year with his Boys Abre (Alkayida) song. Instead of doing vigorous campaign for votes to enable him go home with at least an award, he�s rather busy preaching and singing the �expensive jokes� praises, �I deserve to win this or that award�. He was quoted as saying that, although the year under review was dominated by dancehall music, he was able to match the genre boot-for-boot with his hiplife presentations and therefore he thinks he deserves to win all the hiplife categories in the awards. The expensive jokes continue. According to gospel singer, Michael Oware Sakyi popularly known as OJ, he will be shocked if he did not win the Songwriter of the Year award. Shouldn�t he be using the Herty Bongreat tactics than getting involved in these expensive jokes? I believe he deserves the award truly but as we saw few years ago with the Asem and Herty Bongreat saga, voting can overturn that. Bisa Kdei is a fine artiste and I like his optimism, though I consider his postulations as an expensive joke too. He has said that no artiste deserved the Highlife Song of the Year, Popular Song of the Year, Artiste of the Year and Album of the Year Album awards than himself. Though, nothing or not much has been heard of him campaigning for votes from his loyal fans, he said he will be surprised not to win any award on the night. How do you win awards without the votes coming in for you? There are also several other musicians who are getting themselves involved in these jokes. The time you waste to make noises about deserving this or that award could be better channelled into asking your fans to vote for you. Jokes don�t bring in awards, votes do. I hope the essence of this article will not be misconstrued but then, I don�t really give a rat�s behind should anybody try to read meanings into it. If you think you are too popular and therefore you automatically merit some particular awards, you must as well test your popularity by organising your own shows. The attendance can tell about your popularity in the industry. Or you want to be asked �Did you vote� or �Did you campaign for votes� after the awards show and you ended up with no award? It is better you campaign for votes or cease those unpalatable and expensive jokes.