Over the past few years, the efforts of some Ghanaian artists have been recognized outside the shores of our country by one of the biggest international music awards event held in the USA, the BET Awards.
Although with special interest and focus on the Black community and music from the USA where a lot of their viewership reside, Africa was blessed to be included in 2010 as a new category known as Best International Act, was added to award deserving musicians outside the USA whose exceptional hard work deserved some commendation.
In 2010, the nominations for the Best International Act was wide as African nominees were put together with artists from the UK and had Ghanaian music maestro Kojo Antwi nominated alongside other artists including Dizzee Rascal (UK), Chipmunk (UK), Estelle (UK), Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP) (South Africa), K’Naan (Somalia/Canada), M.I. (Nigeria), P-Square (Nigeria), Corinne Bailey Rae (UK), Sade (UK). Kojo Antwi however lost out to Dizzee Rascal.
In 2011, Ghana was blessed again as Desmond Blackmore popularly known as D-Black, CEO of Black Avenue Music secured a nomination after a very impressive musical year. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian artist lost and was won jointly by 2 Face Idibia and D’Banj all from Nigeria.
In 2012, Ghana’s fastest rapper Michael Owusu Addo known widely as Sarkodie gracefully shared spoils with Wizkid from Nigeria.
Next on the calendar year of the awards was a nomination for the Tema based music group R2Bees who lost out to their Nigerian counterpart Ice Prince.
In 2014, Sarkodie bagged a second nomination alongside Tiwa Savage, Davido, Toofan, which he lost out to Davido from Nigeria but why this long history and story?
The very question that has been running through my mind is how beneficial has these nominations been to the Ghanaian artists who secure such nominations considering the vast opportunities that lay bare ahead of them since almost all the people who matter in music gather at the same venue for this experience?
It is almost predictable how Ghanaian artists announce their presence at the awards; a photograph with members of their team or perhaps other ‘big’ stars from other parts of the world but must it end right there? Just a PICTURE? Can’t they take any advantage of the situations and the environment they find themselves during those moments?
I am tempted to believe a lot of Ghanaians (not only the musicians) either look down on themselves and are unable to make any approach aside taking photographs or feel O.K with the ‘little’ achievements made in Africa thereby not forcing themselves to take due advantage of the situations that come at them. Perhaps, the ‘local champion’ thing has an effect.
With a great sense of making huge impact all over the world, Nigerian music duo P Square took a bold step and worked their way out with a remix to Beautiful Onyinye which featured Rick Ross after their BET appearance and do you know who facilitated this? The BET organizers!!
What demands are the Ghanaian artists making? Just airfare tickets and proper hotel room? It is time these dudes make the right moves. The BET Awards is a big platform and so many opportunities exist during and after the awards.
I once engaged Kwasi Kyei Darkwa, an astute broadcaster on how the BET Awards run as he has so much knowledge about it and I was shocked at some revelations he made. My belief that the Ghanaian artist was and is not serious about the business aspect of the music was affirmed right there and then.
This article is not to condemn the Ghanaian artist but to keep him or her on the toes and see the brighter opportunities that lay ahead of them.
On the African continent, FINE. Some Ghanaian artists have done so well. The likes of Sarkodie, D Black, Efya, Fuse ODG, M.anifest are the names that come to mind. Collaborations with other African artists have not been bad but guess what? Is Africa all about Nigeria for Ghanaian artists? Every Ghanaian artist wants to work with Nigerian artists and when done, they believe they have taken over Africa, FUNNY!!
Well, I am yet to have any response from former BET Award nominees Kojo Antwi, D Black, Sarkodie, and R2Bees on how beneficial their nominations and participation in the awards have been to them and their music careers. Talking about benefits, I’m not really talking about collaborations with artists based in the United States of America.
Do you think they have made enough out of their experience at the awards? I don’t think it has to do with finance.
Let the discussions begin and feel free to share your opinion on this post.