The MTV African Music Awards where established in 2008 prior to that D’bang used to receive his awards during the European MTV Awards this had to be put to an end and now since the year 2008 Africa has been blessed to have its own Music Award honouring a limited number of artist from Sub-Saharan Africa. I have to admit that I have not seen the awards since 2009 but this years nominations caught my attention. As with any award the aim is to have the cream of the cream, artists who have contributed to the music industry and represents the time well, that said the MAMA Awards have a hard task as they don’t consistently come round year after year this time having held the awards in 2010, a great deal has happened and how can African music be best represented other than failing to acknowledge those years and handing over the nominations to the highest bidders with South Africa and Nigeria coming straight at number one.
Number one Iyana appears nowhere, Brother Iyanya had one of the most popular songs Kukere still has people popping their backside in the club. Number two well done MAMA’s for naming a nomination group after their previous colony I present to you the Best Lusophone category featuring artist from Angola, Monzabique and Corte de’ ivroe. In all fairness maybe MTV should have stuck with trend nothing wrong with adding Anglophone and Francophone categories surely this would have balanced the nominations cause at this rate none sings in Mali nor in Senegal well not loud enough to be heard in MTV’s base in South Africa nor Alex Okosi MTV’s managing director or as CNN referred to him “The Man who bought MTV to Africa.” Number three where is Liquideep? Number four all the fantastic Djs across africa and no category to acknowledge them but you will try and short change as with slipping Dj Cndo in the female category, NAH MAN.
The discussion about the nature of the award began as soon as the nomination list was announced a month or so prior with categories that referenced artist according to their previous colonies for example Best Francophone or Best Lusophone. The main question that I would like to ask MTV as an organisation is; Is everyone asleep in the whole organisation? I mean half of the mistakes made are purely due to sheer ignorance. Also a chance to unite Africans has been made a ground to divide showing that the ruling players South Africa and Nigeria will reign supreme by walking away with the majorly benefits. Let’s understand the politics behind the African music industry. Of late ‘Afro Beat’ has become the leading musical genre before South Africa had a majority with Kwaito and the raise of House music of which has been able to maintain a steady shapely audience and populace. Digital Satellite Television has a majority subscribers from South Africa and Nigeria hence the importance of keeping your main consumers happy also the benefit of home support in order to gain recognition.
Let’s take the Male artist of the Year Davido as an example it was announced that he demanded 4 Million ksh in order to perform in Kenya considering the amount of radio play that he receives within the country and fanbase that has formed due to this can we take this as an example of finally attaining the importance of supporting local artist through airplay in order to get them to a point of even demanding 1million ksh to perform on their own home turf.
Sauti Sol and Amani were the only Kenyan artist up for nomination, Diamond represented the whole of Tanzania and Radio and Wesel waved the flag for Uganda it simply poses the question of where are the rest of our African artists and while still posing this question has North Africa officially left Africa? The same media houses now and gain pop up with campaigns to “Unite Africa” once again failing to fully represent our whole continent or in this case just leaving little to be desired; as an international company MTV lost ground that it can never regain so aspiring to its standards begs to showcase an artist as respectable or credible in representing the African musical industry. On the issue of the chosen presenter Marlon Wayans “JesusFixIt” The results spoke for themselves and we can only but assume that Trevor Noah was already booked for another gig.
Next Year MTV kindly review some of the issues raised I am a Media and Cultural Studies graduate and great lover of African music and more than wiling to offer my ideas, so not to make the same mistakes. As the African proverb goes “it takes a village to raise a child”