By Oris Aigbokhaevbolo
For many Nigerian fans at the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), which took place last night, Nigerian artistes should have won every category.
The unease in the Eko Hotel Convention Centre in Lagos was finally broken when the Best Western African Artiste was named. Wizkid won the award. The popstar was absent but later showed up in what seemed immaculately rehearsed as shortly after he won the night’s biggest two awards and appeared to leave immediately.
Between his first win and the announcement of those last two categories, Wizkid and his countrymen lost several nominations in the general categories, sparking murmurs at the venue from aggrieved Nigerians. Nonetheless several nominees were absent. Olamide, Cassper Nyovest, Yemi Alade, Ali Kiba, Eddy Kenzo, Sauti Sol, Mr Eazi, Diamond Platnumz, Sarkodie and many others failed to show up.
The regional categories for which Nigerians were ineligible saw most of the audience cheer only artists who had featured Nigerian acts. Emtee, who featured Wizkid on a hit song, won the Best South African Male Artiste. “I feel like a legend but I’m only 25,” he said, holding his trophy. Among those he had won over were rapper AKA and the great Hugh Masekela.
Thandiswa took the Best Female South African category. And when the Fans’ Favourite category was won by Namibian act The Dogg, fans of Olamide, who had been nominated, were unhappy. Ali Kiba won the Best Collaboration award, and someone asked, “What is this?” It didn’t matter that Nigeria’s MI Abaga was on the song for which he won. (Abaga was absent in the video.)
Simi won the songwriter award to cheers. “I love writing as much as I love singing my songs,” she said. Toofan took Best Group and later performed ‘Gweta’ and ‘Tere Tere’ magnificently. The duo’s performance—with 15 dancers—was one of the night’s highlights and a great introduction to their music for anyone who hadn’t heard of them before. Ghana’s Becca was impressive, singing two songs including the hit ‘Na Wash’ though her co-singer Patoranking was absent. Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi gave the night’s best performance, armed with nothing but a guitar and his marvellously mobile lower limbs. Along with Salif Keita, he received a lifetime award.
The most heartfelt speeches on the night came from two sources. Orezi won the Best Video award for ‘Cooking Pot’ and breathlessly told the audience, “It is my first award this year and I know it’s the beginning of everything.” Unlike many of the night’s winners, he looked visibly elated to hold his trophy.
The Kenya-based Israeli musician Gilad won the Best Rock category. “I promised 45 million Kenyans that I’m bringing this award home,” he said, thanking a long line of people, but somehow forgetting his wife. Fortunately, he won a second award, for Best Male Inspirational, and corrected his mistake, saying he had been saved.
Unfortunately, the ceremony was full of glitches, two moments standing out in a sea of errors that saw presenters repeatedly call out the wrong category of nominees. First: 2Baba and Jimmy Jatt came on to announce a category but their microphone stopped working long enough for a stage hand from backstage to give the men a new one.
Second: As Wizkid came on to take the first of his last two awards, the launch of sparks and confetti simultaneously caused a small fire, which Jimmy Jatt and a few other men had to stamp out. Wizkid drifted backstage and apparently was asked to return, presumably for the sake of editing. He did and gave a different speech. “I just want to thank the legends over here 2Baba and Jimmy Jatt,” he said the second time, adding that they had done their part for Nigerian music and now younger ones like himself were pushing ahead.
Wizkid then contributed to the event’s strangeness. Only minutes after Wizkid took the last two awards available, Tiwa Savage closed the show by performing a few songs, two of which, ‘Bad’ and ‘Ma Lo’ were recorded with Wizkid, but the ‘Ojuelegba’ singer didn’t join her onstage. Savage, who mimed to her own music, did her part, saying, “Shout out to Wizkid!”—but he was nowhere to be seen.
Given the logistical disappointments on the night, perhaps the statement that best captured a night of highs and extremely low moments was made by 2Baba, who won the Best Reggae Award for ‘Holy Holy’.
“This award is going to get bigger and better,” he said. “Let’s support what’s ours.”
The Dogg reconsiders quitting music
Namibia’s serial award winner – The Dogg is having second thoughts on quitting active music, after winning the Africa Fans Favourite Award at the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) that was held in Lagos, Nigeria, last week.
The Dogg, who announced late last year that he would be recording his last studio album and bowing out of the music industry, is doing the song selection for his final album titled ‘Concrete Jungle’.
“To be honest winning the award is making me think twice about quitting music. Maybe I might just get another album. I see now that there are people that are looking up to me and this award has also opened up doors for me in terms of collaborations with some very big names in the African music industry,” said the multi-award winning artist.
The ‘Baby don’t go’ hit maker said that he did not expect to win, as he was up against other big weights such as Nigerian artist Olamide, who has a larger following than he does.
“I feel I have hit an elephant with a stone…this award will also open up doors for other Namibian artists.”
The Dogg said he is grateful to his local fans for their undying love for his music. And for that, “I might just thank them by staying in the music industry.”
He also hinted at the possibility of album of remixes of his old songs which will feature international artists that he acquainted at the AFRIMA.
The Dogg is set to release his 12-track ‘Concrete Jungle’ album at the end of November.
However, the album will be available online on iTunes as of this week. – Music In Africa/ Melba Kaure