By Ano Shumba
IT’S almost only Nigerian and South African artists competing in the Best International Act: Africa category at this year’s BET Awards. The nominees were announced on Monday in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Nigeria leads the nominees list with four artists while South Africa and Ghana follow with three and one nominations respectively. The nominees are Tekno (Nigeria), Wizkid (Nigeria), Mr Eazi (Nigeria), Davido (Nigeria), Nasty C (South Africa), AKA (South Africa), Babes Wodumo (South Africa) and Stonebwoy (Ghana).
Last year, South Africa’s Black Coffee, who this month was included in the Forbes list of Africa’s richest musicians, won the coveted award ahead of AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Diamond Platnumz, MzVee, Serge Beynaud, Wizkid and Yemi Alade.
BET youth and music vice-president Monde Twala said the Best International Act: Africa category is responsible for uncovering African music to new markets and fans.
“Africa has a rich cultural heritage and the BET Awards reflect the power of our culture through music,” he said. “This annual celebration puts the spotlight on African artists and exposes their amazing talent to the world. We wish the nominees well and congratulate them for the hard work and effort over the last year.”
Monday’s announcement was hosted by Nandi Mngoma and artists who were present at the event included AKA, Babes Wodumo and Tresor. The BET Awards ceremony will take place at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on 25 June and all the nominees from Africa are expected to be present at the grand event. Voting is now open on the BET Africa official website until 26 May 2017.
Every year, the BET Awards recognise the growing international appeal of African music by nominating eight popular artist ahead of the event. South Africa and Nigeria have always enjoyed their place in the African category, which has led artists from other countries on the continent to criticise the event as being biased. Another concern is that African artists are not given ample stage time compared to their US colleagues.
The rest of the nominees outside Africa were announced in Los Angeles, also on Monday. Leading the pack is Beyoncé who dominates this year’s nominees list with seven nods. Close behind is Bruno Mars with five nods, followed by Chance the Rapper, Solange and Migos who are tied at four apiece.
The awards will be broadcast on BET (DStv channel 129) on 27 June at 8pm CAT. – Music In Africa