7 takeaways from the 2016 VGMAs

Following weeks of  promotion, discussion and waiting, the 2016 Edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards show was held at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Highlife revivalist, Bisa K’Dei, was a big winner on the night scooping four awards including the Song of the Year with his hit song ‘Mansa’.

The night, however belonged to rapper EL, who picked five awards. The BBnZ artiste won the coveted Artiste of The Year on the night for a 365 days keep.

Other winners on the night were Sarkodie, Kofi Kinaata, SP Kofi Sarpong, Stonebwoy, MzVeee and Wizkid.

Following the reactions of many on social media, it was apparent most people were excited with the way things unfolded, especially the choice of winners, though some of the award winners were not really deserving – MzVee, Female Vocalist, Really? That notwithstanding, the night was absolutely exciting.

In this article, I’m highlighting some of the things that caught my attention during the live screening of the event. Here we go.

1. VOTES MATTER

If there was any night where the often made comment ‘votes matter’ made sense, it was the night when Sarkodie’s song ‘Hand To Mouth’ was adjudged Best Hip Hop Song, beating competition from EL and Omar Sterling (Paedae of R2Bees).

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Sarkodie during his performance

 

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This is not to take anything away from Sarkodie, but judging by the time the other songs were released and the waves it made, I’m convinced Sarkodie won based on the votes from his fanbase (he has arguably the biggest fan base in Ghana aside Shatta Wale). Again, winning the Record of the Year and Rapper of the Year awards was also due to the love shown by his fans-through voting and not necessarily his advisory tune Hand To Mouth.

2. EL FAILED TO PULL A KANYE WEST MOMENT

Minutes before his crowing as Artiste of the Year, EL had picked up the Best Video Award plaque for Shelele. Delivering, his speech, he gave shout out to Omar Sterling (Paedae): ‘You (Paedae) are a dope rapper. That’s all I want to say’.

This comment had come on the heels of Omar losing out to Sarkodie in the Best Hip Hop Song of the Year category. The comment is considered by some as a subliminal shade thrown at Sarkodie.

But guess what, the night would have been very much memorable if EL had not bottled up his thoughts and let it flow like Kanye. EL obviously denied bloggers, trollers and many Showbiz watchers ‘news’ to exploit. We bore.

3. SO, EVENTS CAN START ON TIME AND BE SHORT?

Over the years, Charter House, organisers of the Ghana Music Awards have been severely criticized for how dragging and boring the event has become, due to the late start of the show.

For once, Charter House have listened and kept this year’s show surprisingly short-3 hours, 35 minutes as compared to the 2015 edition which run from 10 PM till 3AM.

I think, keeping the ‘what are you wearing’ (Red Carpet) nonsense simple and short fed into the whole event ending early. Kudos Charter House!!

4. HARDWORK PAYS

Hardwork indeed pays and EL proved this. All the awards he won were deserving. EL indeed worked hard in 2015; he released a Mixtape (BAR 2) and an album (ELOM), shot videos, rocked many shows in Ghana and outside (Apollo Theatre, US and recently Tidal Diasporian Festival headlined by Lauryn Hill). Growth and maturity could also be seen in his performance.

EL, a king without a crown now has a Crown.

EL, a king without a crown now has a Crown.

Same goes for Sarkodie. He,without a doubt is the best performer in Ghana today. His set are always spot on. Stonebwoy has proven many times he learnt very well from Samini. Bisa K’Dei didn’t disappoint too. And Adoma was dope to watch.  This goes to prove that once you work on your art, you can go places.

5. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS POWER

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‘Brother Brother’ Bisa K’Dei felt no love after his gaffe

Bisa K’Dei surely came to realize that when he got trolled on twitter for describing himself as a ‘pioneer’ of highlife; an unintended gaffe.

Ghana twitter couldn’t take this and went trolling him without any restraint. I’m sure his mentions blew up within seconds. He had to come back and reword his earlier pronouncement; explainng what he really meant to say-he is considered as continuing from where the highlife greats left off.
6. WIZKID HAS ‘BOUGHT’ OUR STARS

Wizkid’s influence on African music is growing with each passing minute it seems. 2016 appears to be the best year in his career-his Ojuelegba tune was a cross-over hit with Drake & Skepta remixing it. Drake went ahead to feature him on ‘One Dance’ off Views.

During his forgettable performance, the ‘Star Boy’ announced that he has signed Ghanaian artistes to his record label. These artistes are no mean names within the Ghanaian music scene.

Wizkid has signed afro-neo soul singer Efya and rap group R2Bees along with Mr. Eazi, who is now more Ghanaian than Nigerian (his career took off here in Ghana though he is a Nigerian).

And guess who the President of StarBoy Entertainment is? Omar Sterling (Paedae) of RBees. No surprises since the two have had a solid relationship for a long while.

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7. EASY TO PREDICT WHO WINS AFRICAN ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

It’s very easy to predict who wins the African Artiste of The Year at the VGMAs. The artiste who is invited to the event wins. This has been the case all these years and last night, it happened again.

Unlike other events where all the nominees are invited, with the VGMAs, only the winner is invited and he/she performs on the night. Previous years, D’Banj, P-Square, Patoranking, TuFace have all won. And why is that category exclusively Nigerian?

The 2016 Vodafone Music Awards was an improvement in many fronts from the previous years and it’s the hope that Charter House would keep improving. With 16 years of experience under their belt, they should have leapt farther. I hope next year would be better.

PS: How come after 16 years of organizing this event, Charter House has not been able to get corporate brands to sponsor some award categories?

By: Swaye Kidd/culartblog.wordpress.com

Swaye Kidd is a passionate arts and entertainment enthusiasts who is trying in my own small way to keep readers updated on the arts scene in Ghana and beyond. Contact him on Twitter @swayekidd or [email protected]yahoo.com.

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