It is interesting yet confounding to realize how two big brands, which could be breaking grounds as a unit are at world’s apart at the moment – being kept apart by forces of pride, ego, nonchalance and contentment.
There’s no shred of doubt that the biggest and most prestigious awards scheme and the much-anticipated event in the country is the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), and of course, there’s also no dispute over the supremacy of Shatta Wale in Ghanaian music.
Checking the purposes of these brands, it would have made lots of sense to see them work together; VGMA awarding musicians who have excelled under eligibility years and artists gunning to win laurels to cap good runs in eligibility years.
However, controllable circumstances and situations have ensured that the VGMA and Shatta Wale have had nothing to do with each other for the past four (4) years. Enough is enough!
No Artist Is Bigger Than The VGMA
The saying of ‘No artist is bigger than the VGMA’ seemed incomprehensible at the beginning when persons from all corners of the industry tried to destabilize the scheme in all manner of ways, but after a couple of years down the stretch, the saying holds true.
Credence to that statement was given a major boost in 2015, when in the heat of the Shatta Wale and Charterhouse squabble, the artist decided to hold a concert at the beach on the night of the awards – in a bid to sway attention and cripple the scheme.
His show may have had the numbers but at the end of the day, it did nothing to the awards.Interestingly, not Shatta Wale or any other artist has tried that stunt again!
The scheme has its laid down procedures and processes, which have been tried and tested and of course, somehow trusted, therefore, it would be quite torrid for any artist or music stakeholder to single-handedly bring it to its knees with some harsh words and lame machinations.
Without the involvement of Shatta Wale, the event has survived, kept its major sponsors and has continued to stay true to its purpose of awarding excellence in music.
Shatta Wale Is A Demi-God – Too Huge
With longevity, consistency, massive following and unflinching adoration from fans, Shatta Wale sit atop the Ghanaian music food chain as the go-to guy.
But wait, he has had the entire industry under his grip for the past 4 years and he’s never taken a respite.
For 4 years, he’s commandeered the biggest shows, released the biggest tunes, released the most songs and raked in the most revenue, more than any other artist in the country.
His legend has grown exponentially in the last couple of years and his celebrity has transcended the shores of the country.
His ability to produce hit songs and the knack to turn seemingly substandard productions into major hit songs is starting to beat all understanding.
No firm, brand or entity would lose if they associate with a humongous brand like Shatta Wale’s and especially when professionalism is exhibited in such dealings.
The Need For Each Other
In their respective minds (VGMA and Shatta), they do not need each other, but that’s a blatant fib. They are in dire need of each other’s company.
It looks like a travesty for the VGMA to be awarding excellence while in the last 4 years, the excellent one has not been awarded.
On the other hand, it looks hollow for Shatta Wale to be yelping the ‘King of Ghana Music’ when he has no history and no achievement to show for, especially the most prestigious awards in the country and across the continent.
The public frenzy attached to the VGMA has been dwindling in the last 4 years, and the public voting compiled by KPMG for the just-ended edition was abysmal.
With his gigantic following, Shatta’s reinstatement to the scheme would do the scheme a lot of good.
For Shatta, raking in the millions is key, but changing history, establishing a legacy and documenting a fairytale career is by getting back into the VGMA and etching his name in the annals of music history.
Let’s Get The Inhibitions Out Of The Way
The Shatta Wale- Charterhouse romance is at this stage due to varied reasons and to ensure a cordial working relationship between the two, these hang-ups must be dealt with.
First is the court case that has been languishing in the courthouse for the past 3 years, all for nothing, as it seems!
A case of defamation against the artist was taken to court on October 2014 and after 2 preliminary rulings, we still do not know the fate of the case.
After making an effort to apologize and submit his works for possible nominations last year, Charterhouse and the VGMA Board demurred his nominations.
The word is that, the artist should go back on social media, where he recklessly lashed out at the CEO of the firm and apologize for his earlier transgressions. That is the only standing block to clear in order to have him reinstated.
Yes, Shatta Wale acted irresponsibly with the videos but the VGMA Organization is mixing things up in dealing with the situation.
Over the years, the narrative is that, it is the VGMA Board that oversees the proceedings of the awards, so, why is an attack on owner of the company having telling bearings on the scheme?
Should the CEO not deal with the defamatory case, which has been taken to the right quarters – the court, while the VGMA Board does its work; categorizing and nominating songs and artists that excelled?
Secondly, it is unfair to use Shatta Wale’s perpetual misgivings on the VGMAs against his possible nominations for awards. If his statement 3 years ago of selling his awards for 3Ghc is being pitched against him, then that is hogwash!
Kwaw Kese was bold enough to walk to a VGMA Red Carpet session, placed his awards in a dirty wheelbarrow and auctioned his awards for sale. He is sleeping at home with no action being taken against him.
Kanye West has been the strongest, if not the most uncompromising critic of the Grammys. In 2016, within 20 minutes, he’d sent out 40 disparaging tweets on the Grammy organization, calling them cheats and out of touch.
A year later, he was up on the Grammy nominations list, with 5 nominations.
Get Off The High Horse & Find A Common Ground
Forget what the guys at Charterhouse and some members of the VGMA Board will say about the awards not needing Shatta Wale and all.
Face it, the scheme needs a lift, and after that shoddy PR works handled by Nii Ayite Hammond and Mark Okraku Mantey in the last showing, the scheme even needs a bigger jolt.
Forget Shatta Wale saying he’s okay and doesn’t need the VGMA and all. He’s lying!
His frantic efforts to always create news and make headlines during the times of the awards tells of his desperation to get into the scheme. It kills him and his fans that, regardless of his hard work over the years, others are winning awards that, under normal circumstances, should have been sitting on his shelves.
Candidly, Shatta Wale could have been the VGMA ‘Artist of the Year’ for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
He and his fans can rebuff this all the want, but the fact is, Shatta Wale’s international appeal is weak. Even Joe Mettle’s international buzz is getting ahead of the dancehall legend.
On Kanye West again; in 2016, in the midst of his castigations against the Grammy, he openly called out the President of the Grammy, asking him for a meeting.
Guess what – shockingly and against all odds, Neil Portnow, the Grammy Head, responded and accepted to meet Kanye.
That’s the beauty of what we are striving for – respect, decorum and appreciation of each other’s work and strength and most importantly – dialogue!
By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo,www.entertainmentgh.com (Pix- Kwabena Awuku)