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The Cowardice Of The Ghana Music Industry - Egya Nyankeh Menlah

Written by Egya Nyankeh MenlahDate: 3/12/2018
The organizers of the VGMAs last Saturday released the nominations for the 2018 edition of the awards show and as many have come to expect from the VGMAs, the controversies this year were present and even, abundant.

The nominations began to filter in bit by bit during the day and the controversies came along with them almost immediately. From  issues of certain artistes being excluded altogether to others who feel they deserved more, to issues of certain artistes getting more than they duly deserve and then to the more serious issue of songs being nominated under Genres they are totally unrelated to.

As a lover and devotee to Ghanaian music, I have always followed happenings in our music industry very keenly and I believe that, it has reached a point where the board/organizers of the VGMAs have to be held to account by the stakeholders in the industry. Now, straight to my main gripes with this year’s nominations;

The Nomination Of Songs/Artistes Into Wrong Categories
 Arguably, the nomination of Ebony’s Hustle in the category of Highlife Song Of The Year has to standout as main controversy. Can it even be described as a controversy? How can supposedly seasoned music people listen to Hustle and term it a Highlife song? This decision is untenable and laughable, to say the least.

Also, since when did Kidi and Kuami Eugene become Highlife Artistes to gain them entry into the category of Highlife Artiste Of the Year? Is this a way of the board filling up spaces in that category due to lack of numbers?

And, Rewind by MzVee deemed a Dancehall Song by the board? How?! MzVee, again, nominated as Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year without a single Reggae/Dancehall hit song in 2017? How is this possible and why are industry players largely quiet over these questionable decisions?

MzVee 6 nominations. How?
Now, one of major talking points has been about the number of the nominations Lynx Entertainment artistes, Kidi, Kuami Eugene and MzVee picked up. Now, Kidi and Kuami Eugene had two of the biggest hits in the country in 2017 and as such, it is difficult to argue against about their nominations but let’s be honest here, how exactly did MzVee manage to pick up 6 nominations? I have already mentioned her nominations in the Reggae/Dancehall categories which I believe she doesn’t deserve, truth be told. Another thing I struggle to understand is how her remix of ‘Sing My Name’ with Patoranking was chosen to be in the Best Collaboration Of The Year category over Fancy Gadam’s ‘Total Cheat’ with Sarkodie.

Mr Eazi Missing In African Artiste Of The Year Category
In December 2017, Mr Eazi held a concert in Accra that was packed to the rafters and was a resounding success. That is real impact of a foreign act in Ghana. So I ask the question, how and why did Mr Eazi not make it into the African Artiste category? Is it because of the fallout from the organizers trying to get him to perform last year and not being able to reach an agreement with his team? Is this retribution? Because I don’t know how Nasty C and Cassper make it and Mr Eazi doesn’t.

The Myth Of Public Votes
For those who do not know, the public has 40% share out of the total of 100%. The VGMA board has 30% and then there is an amorphous academy that also has 30% share.

Why should we be made to believe that the votes of fans alone determine who wins what? That is a fallacy. For your Artiste to win an award, you will need help from one of these bodies named above so organizers cannot continue pretend that Public Votes alone decides who wins an award. They should increase the public vote share to more than 50% before they can ask “Did you vote?”.

In closing, I have to say the refusal or inability of music industry players to come out in force over glaring issues with the VGMA nominations is sad and reeks of cowardice. People are clearly scared to upset the powers that to be so as to not get sidelined in the industry but we have to ask ourselves if this is the direction we want Ghana Music to head into.

And to the board, I believe it’s about time the organizers of the VGMAs sit up and cut out these basic and unnecessary mistakes they keep making. If it is the board that has to be revamped then so be it but something needs to give.

Ghana Music certainly deserves better!