Ghana Music Awards: 70% Merit, 20% Cronyism, 10% ill-logic

Interesting heading, yes I know but I have a feeling that by the time I�m done you would understand why I choose to describe this year�s nominations for the Ghana Music Awards as such, contrary to what Kwaw Kesse thinks. As we go along you would notice that I do agree with Kwaw on some of the issues he raised. First of all I think majority of the nominations were in order and expected. Sarkodie had a very good year and he topped the nominations deservedly. Ayigbe Edem, Bradez, 4x4, Wutah all made major waves in the year under consideration and no one can begrudge their nominations. Kwaw Kesse had at least two songs that enjoyed radio and TV airplay, and he excited crowds at every event that he performed on; and so I assumed (now I know wrongly) that those songs were hits. It is no surprise that the �mad� rapper isn�t taking the GMA snub lightly. R2bees also had a good year but they were nominated in the previous year in spite of not having an album, by virtue of the fact that their hit songs were sold as a ringtone to some telecoms companies, it was considered as a commercial release for that period hence ineligible for this year. I am still waiting for the official position from the organizers on that though! The gospel front had a very different dynamics during the year and so it wouldn�t be easy to call out the most outstanding gospel music performances. There were many single hits but really no strong album that could boast of several hits compared to the previous years. In spite of her often melancholic gospel songs, Florence Obinim perhaps had the most number of hits in the period and would have been a fairer candidate for �Artiste of the year� from the gospel front in lieu of Ohemaa Mercy who had just one hit. Newcomer, Ewurabena also made some waves but was completely snubbed. Alright, enough about the good stuff; let�s go to the major flaws. I�m sure many people would have different issues to pick at but here are the ones that immediately come to my mind. Does the expression �conflict of interest� mean anything to the organizer of the awards (take note of how I choose not to mention the name Charter House)? I don�t know for a fact if Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD) is still the manager of Wutah or whether Kiki Banson was on the Selection and Categorization committee this year. If the answer is yes on either account, then I agree with Kwaw Kesse that it is improper to have such persons on the panel because as human as they are they would push their personal agenda and make sure their artists get noticed. Although Wutah deserved their nominations, for the sake of propriety KOD shouldn�t have been on the panel. This is where the cronyism in my heading begins. I wonder if Jon Germain was on the panel this year. I am still trying to understand why his song, �Love Zone� was nominated for the Record of the Year. I know that the organizers of the awards have an interesting definition for the �Record of the year� category that allows them to do all sorts of things in that category but no matter what definition they give to it, Jon Germain�s song has nothing in common with the other nominees like �Run Away� by Irene and Asem, �Daa Ke Daa� by Becca,� Nyonorviade� by Edem and �Burning Desire� by Wutah. To be honest I have not even heard that song before, I wonder how many radio stations in Accra play it, not to talk about Kumasi, Takoradi and the other cities. Maybe the committee just put it there to add to the numbers. If numbers are so important, how come the panel only found 3 nominees for Reggae Song of the Year in all of Ghana? Still on asking questions, I want to know: was �Daa Ke Daa� strong enough to put Becca in the running for Artiste of the Year? How about Ohemaa Mercy�s �Wo Beye Kese�, which became a hit only at the very latter parts of 2009? Why was Tinny nominated and not Kwaw Kesse? After all Tinny just had �Ringtone� and some remixes to it while Kwaw had �Who be You� and �Ma kwan�. I don�t think Tinny can be considered as a beneficiary of cronyism from the GMAs because I don�t remember him ever taking a major GMA nod, but I am just comparing the impact he made in the past year. This isn�t to suggest that Becca and Ohemaa Mercy is beneficiaries of nepotism. I�m just saying. Seriously, I think it�s high time we sat down to review how the GMAs works. Just a week before the announcement of nominees, Jocelyn Dumus, the host of Rhythmz on GTV (which is produced by Charter House) mentioned how the Brits awards work and the size and composition of the academy that nominates and selects winners. While I understand that the GMA is a popularity award and not an industry excellence award, I think we can still have an academy that would do nominations for the public to vote and subsequently select winners for the industry awards. It is not enough to have pocket-sized committees of individuals, who claim to have all the answers on the industry, sit for some few days and hold such a national assignment to ransom. I think we should scrap off the committees thingy because it has been raising too many doubts over the years. I think the NPP opened their pool for national delegates this year for a good reason, and GMA has to learn from that. And to think that these same committees that came up with these nominations still hold a chunk of the power in choosing who wins what in a scheme that is supposed to be a people�s choice awards, completely scares me. The public only has 30% of the decision process while 70% goes back to the committees. Now comes the illogical ill-logic part! If a committee of industry experts meets for an important assignment such as nominating people for a national award, at least we expect them to come up with a logical compilation. How can Ohemaa Mercy and Becca be nominated for Artiste of the Year and have no mention in the Song of the Year category, while in fact they had only one strong hit song each in the year under review? How about Kofi Nti getting nominated for Highlife Artist of the Year while he wasn�t in the Highlife song of the year category? Why is Lumba nominated for Album of the Year and missing in the Artiste of the Year and Song of the Year categories? Didn�t someone study logic in school? As simplistic as it may sound, my analogy is that good songs on a good album makes a good artist. Still on baffling categorizations: What makes Kojo Antwi�s �Adiepena� more reggae than Wutah�s �Burning Desire�? Why do we now have Best Rapper of the year in addition to hiplife/hip hop artiste of the year? Maybe this is meant to be the rap version of the best vocal performance category. But my question is who decides who the �best� rapper is and why is that category a public category award while the best vocal performance is an industry award? The questions are many and I could go on and on. For example does TV airplay count for anything in these nominations because for goodness sake, people pay money to shoot videos and have them aired on TV? This is why I wouldn�t nominate Lumba�s �Sika� or Jon Germain�s �Love Zone� for any awards. The industry is much bigger than just radio. Let us start to consider all of these factors and move our industry forward. I am always available for consultation for a fee of course. God bless Ghana music!