The annual dissatisfaction amongst Ghanaian Artistes anytime Charter House (organisers of Ghana Music Awards) releases their nomination list is becoming disturbing. It appears that this annual name calling and pointing of loopholes in the nominations will not end any soon, no, not even in 2056.
Even before Charter House’s George Quaye (Aboagye) made those revelations about Gospel Artistes who attempt to bribe their way through, many Ghanaians were sceptical about the authenticity of the awards. For their 18th consecutive award ceremony, any discerning person would be convinced that mistakes from the previous 17 organized events would have given Charter House some matured experience to handle the subsequent ones but it appears the awards ceremony is on a treadmill.
Some unpardonable mistakes the organizers make send signals that they are either not really on top of issues in music or they enjoy the incessant controversies that the awards bring annually. How can two nominees in Artiste of the year category have no nomination in any of the categories whilst the criteria for finding your way there demands that you have at least a hit song? It gives the impression of “let’s just fill the categories with names.”
Since there is a dedicated Ministry to oversee Creative Arts in Ghana, it is high time the Ministry organize their own awards for Ghanaian Artistes and other Creative Arts stars or they partner Charter House to resource them in order to be serious with how they award and reward our heroes in music. Some have attributed the tight budget of Charter House to the abysmal organisation of the awards, whilst others have also said that the alleged managers of Artistes on the board of the awards is the cause for the snail pace growth of the ceremony.
When Guru pulled out of the awards, he had the loudest applause any of his songs has ever had on social media. Some of the comments by fans and nonfans alike of Guru revealed how people have had enough of the fiddle-faddle of Charter House. To be blatant, Ghana Music Awards is losing its credibility. When EL won Artiste of the year last year, even the booing of the audience in the auditorium spoke volumes of how the credibility of the awards is dissipating. One tongue-in-cheek Twitter user tweeted “If I hd knwn dey wre sharin it amongst demselves, I wldn’t hv wasted my tym. EL? Waste of time” It is taking EL forever to prove to Ghanaians that he deserved the Artiste of the Year award, something he has not even been successful doing.
The Author of this piece appreciate that there isn’t a perfect awards ceremony anywhere in the world because fans of Artistes often grumble when their icons are snubbed in nominations. Some international awards have witnessed extreme incidents like that of 2009 MTV Video Awards when Kanye West went on stage to snatch an award from Taylor Swift and told the world that Beyonce deserved that award. Yes, this hasn’t happened in Ghana yet but when similar thing happens it will be worse because the growing dissatisfaction amongst even the up and coming Artistes is uncontrollable.
Not the GN Bank awards (Is it even still around?), Bass awards and other music awards in Ghana have been able to pose competition to the Charter House organized awards so Charter House is enjoying a comfortable monopoly in awards ceremony in Ghana. Maybe, that is another cause for their snobbish “You can do you worst” attitude when there are criticisms every year.
Like the Grammy Awards process, Ghana Music Awards could adopt that professional and critical screening of the nomination and winners. The Grammy Awards comprise of academy voting members who are involved in the creative and technical processes of recording. More than 350 experts in different genres are brought on board to ensure that nominees meet specific qualifications and have been placed in appropriate fields. This screening is to ensure that each recording and nominee is properly placed in the deserving category.
The nominations then goes through another stage, first-round ballots. This is to ensure the quality of voting. Those who make up this board only vote based on their area of expertise. Deloitte, an international audit firm then tabulate the results from the first ballot.
Another stage is the special nominating committee. National nominations are regulated by national nomination review committees made up of members from all of The Academy’s Chapter cities. After that, the final-round ballots are sent to voting members. The final stage of the nomination is determined by special nominating committees.
Granted that this process fits the European culture and not Ghana’s but what is working and successful elsewhere could teach a lot of ‘amateurs’ in that field. If it is inadequate resources that is being an impediment on bringing on board people who are experienced in the various categories bring their expertise to bare to help screen the nominations, that is why the Ministry of Creative Arts has been created to help put such things in order because it is unbelievable that some healthy experienced and talented music legends in Ghana are not on this Ghana Music Awards board. The names of those experienced legends who are not brought to the music awards boards are innumerable and beat the imagination of many.
Until the experienced people who are well vested in the various categories are brought on board to help in the selection process, a song like ‘Confession’ by Kofi Kinaata would be nominated in ‘Highlife song of the year’ category next year.
Catherin Afeku, the Minister of Creative Arts and Tourism during the vetting process demonstrated broad knowledge in Showbiz in general. As a mother of the sector, I think it is high time she push funds to support the indisposed music awards in order to put together a matured award ceremony.
Nonetheless, the coming on board of Ministry of Creative Arts and Tourism will not be the end of rumbling amongst Artistes and fans because Grammy Awards for instance in 2008 was critiqued by Glen Hansard of Irish rock group, The Frames that the Grammy Awards “represent something outside of the real world of music, that’s fully industry based.” This and other countable critiques have been thrown at the Grammy but because of the processes that it goes through, many regard such criticisms beneath contempt since the awards ceremony has proven its authenticity over the years.
Let’s learn from the best and do best! A word to the wise …..
Author: Nana Kwesi Coomson (www.233times.com) @nkcoomson on Twitter