When I first heard rumours that Shatta Wale was not going to be nominated for any category in this year’s Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), I hoped it was nothing but hot air being blown by faceless doom mongers. The rumours, however gained more currency as the days went by, and the sources of the filla were even more authentic.
Throughout the latter part of 2015, several people asked if Shatta could win the coveted VGMA Artiste of the Year Award once again – I certainly had no doubt.
I have been a keen follower of Shatta Wale’s career and music, though from a safe distance.
I admit that by no stretch of a definition can I qualify as an ‘SM Fan’ (as fans of Shatta Wale are referred to), because unlike his many followers who adore him and know almost all lyrics to his songs, I basically couldn’t care less.
I cannot fully sing any of his songs to save my life. Neither would I run out if I heard he was next door – but trust that I would peep through the window and smile to myself.
The love lost relationship between Shatta Wale and Charter House (Organisers of the Ghana Music Awards) is well documented. From when Shata went berserk because he lost the dancehall song of the year award in 2013 to female dancehall songstress, Kaakie, to the diss song he later released against the organisers saying ‘me need no award’,it has been a soap opera with a far more exciting plot than ‘Kumkum bagya’.
After his first public attack on the VGMA organisers, the two parties managed to build bridges albeit, in hindsight, with inferior materials. Shatta did not only perform at the 2013 ‘Ghana Rocks’ concert also organized by Charter house but he was later nominated for, and won the Artiste of the Year at the 2014 VGMA.
It was here that all hell broke loose. Shatta (and Sarkodie) reportedly demanded outrageous amounts to perform at the awards ceremony. Organisers obviously did not give in to the demands, and in the aftermath of the event, Shatta Wale released a series of personally recorded videos on social media, attacking the CEO of Charter house, Iyiola Ayoade. Shatta was dragged to court and that case is still in court.
About a month ago when nominations for the Oscar Awards (the most prestigious movie Awards in Hollywood)were released, Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of actor and musician Will Smith, complained about the lack of diversity in the nominees and virtually branded the Awards, “racist’ – because there was no nomination for any black actors. The seriousness of being tagged racist in the U.S is akin to being called a homosexual in Ghana. Many other ‘people of color’ waded into the controversy, with some threatening to boycott the live event.
What was the response of organisers? – Obviously not a stifled attempt to demand an apology from anyone to save face or name.
In 2009, Kanye West mounted the stage after Taylor Swift had won the Award for best female video at the MTV Music Video Awards. Kanye insisted that Beyonce’s ‘single ladies’ had a better video and deserved to win. The bad media reviews which followed were testament that Kanye had obviously brought the awards into disrepute. But did organizers literally attempt to strangle Kanye? NO!!! In fact, in 2015, Kanye won the Vanguard Award at MTV Music Video Award stage.
Need I talk about rapper Jay-Z’s boycott of the Grammy Awards between 1999 and 2002, and the awards he won during and subsequent to that period albeit without any public apology?Back home in Ghana, during the 2004 edition of the Nescafe Africa Revelation contest which saw the now defunct music duo ‘Wutah’ emerge as winners, Reggie Rockstone mounted the stage to insist that ‘Mobile Boys’ deserved to be winners and not Wutah.
Should Reggie have been forced to apologize before Mobile boys were given their runner-up package? Also in 2007, when Kwaw Kesse was on top of his game and accordingly won the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana’s (ACRAG) award for Arts and Entertainment, he was presented with a stool as his Award.
Kwaw went on Television to complain about the finishing of the stool carving and how worthless the wooden edifice was.
During an interview, He threw it on the lawns of TV3, and in what was a comedy skit, the interviewer chased him with the stool while he walked away.
Most prestigious Awards in the world have been denigrated one way or the other by artistes.
In every competitive endeavor, the loser (and sometimes even winners) plays victim to court some sympathy, and from the rich experience Charter house has garnered over the years, they, more than anyone else, ought to understand this and deal with it better.
Why is Charter House asking Shatta Wale to apologise publicly as part of processes to complete ‘bla bla bla’, before he can be considered for nominations? Have these processes been formally communicated to Shatta Wale and his team, or it was just an after thought intended to victimize the Artiste? Whatever the ill intent was, the decision as announced is clearly unfair; childish; an intimidation and a cheap attempt at bullying.
I know from credible sources that as part of Shatta’s personal rebranding efforts, he earlier issued an apology on facebook and met a team from Charter house to apologise. The meeting was inconclusive but Shatta was warmly received and given audience, so why this show of bad faith now by Charter house?
What exactly is Shatta Wale to apologise for? What he said in the video that has landed him in court or the claim that he doesn’t need an award? Aside the persistence of his criticisms, and admittedly, very crudely vulgar language sometimes, what has Shatta said that hasn’t been said before? Artistes have always asked to be excused from nominations; accused organisers of demanding bribes or extorting monies, and even criticized organizers as being discriminatory in the treatment given foreign Acts, as against prominent local Artistes.
Shatta Wale should be allowed to freely think and say whatever he likes about any Awards scheme.
Charter House can choose to pass all the bye laws it desires, to govern the music awards too. Charter House can also pick and choose who to include in their awards scheme, but to demand that one gives a public apology before being considered is just way below the belt. It’s utter nonsense!!
It feels like a typical staff common room experience where a group of male students who teased and called the Mathematics mistress names because of her weird hairstyle are punished and asked to apologise at the morning Assembly, or else, she won’t teach the class again. Well, try that in my Arts class, which never liked Maths anyway, and the apology will come after the teacher’s retirement.
Can Charter House reference any credible award organiser anywhere in the world, who has made such an incredulous and schoolboy demand from an artiste, for possible nominations?
Shatta Wale; DO NOT APOLOGISE!!! – Not because you have not offended anyone, but because this is pure coercion. Apologizing will only lead to a clamp down on Artistes’ rights to freely express themselves about the VGMA. Charter House knows the route to the courts, and should not hesitate to head there anytime they feel slighted or offended by any individual. Charter House cannot play God and seek to control the Artiste – it is just wrong.
But wait ooo, after vehemently criticizing the Music Awards in the past, which public platforms did Nii Ayi-Tagoe and Rex Omar use to render apologies to the Awards scheme before being rewarded with spots on the Board that took this bogus decision? `Four legs good, two legs bad`?