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Hail Shatta Wale But These Artistes Deserve Praise Too!

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

Quite recently, renowned broadcaster, Abeiku Santana quite characteristically, eulogized Shatta Wale.  According to the ace presenter, the proclaimed ‘Dancehall king’ deserves special recognition for some his actions within the Ghanaian music industry.

The presenter claimed that, Shatta Wale offered his fellow Ghanaian artistes financial freedom, especially when it comes to price tags and negotiations with event promoters/ organizations.

He asserted that Shatta Wale gave his colleagues confidence; the conviction and poise to ask for more, to negotiate for what they truly deserved for performances – at a time when event organizers and promoters took these musicians for granted.

The presenter claimed that Shatta Wale deserves acknowledgement for his gesture of giving artistes financial liberation when it comes to dealings with events.

He is right!

Loathe Shatta Wale for all his shenanigans but you can’t take away his credit of offering that platform where artistes are able to negotiate for better charges when it comes to getting performances.

In 2013, in the wave of his massive comeback, from Bandana to Shatta Wale – he was the go-to act and Charterhouse, famed organizers of the popular Ghana Music Awards, had little choice but to engage the artist for a performance on the night of the awards. The negotiations for performance fee broke down and Shatta Wale would eventually not perform.

After news broke about his inability to perform, the ever-ebullient artiste took to his social media page to share the reasons. According to him, he requested for Gh70, 000 but the organizers refused to pay him that amount.

That stance by Charterhouse was understandable. At the time, they had not coughed up that huge amount to any ‘local’ artiste to mount that awards platform, so it sounded absurd to offer that to the artiste.

That revelation changed everything!

At the time, nobody has a standoff with Charterhouse and wins. The organization had too much power at the time, with such a grip on our creative industry, which meant that any entertainer who had any form of impasse with them stood a chance of being blacklisted.

Shatta Wale survived; he went on to be great and to charge such high figures for performances on other platforms. When other artistes realized that Shatta survived any kind of industry blackball and continued to thrive, then they knew how to place value on their craft and most especially, their performance fee.

So yes, Shatta Wale deserves all the credit for ensuring that, performance fee has become one of the biggest revenue-generating avenues for the Ghanaian artistes. However, these other artistes deserve same plaudits for their ability to break boundaries and shift the paradigm for the industry.

Shatta Wale

Reggie Rockstone

 Reggie Rockstone’s influence and impact on our creative industry is storied. The celebration of his legacy is felt not only in Ghana but also across the world.

The fact is; before Reggie sauntered into the Ghana music industry, others were doing rap, Hip Hop but he made it alluring, somehow commercialized it and most importantly, popularized the craft.

The coinage of hiplife and those responsible for its formation is still debatable but to many, the name of Reggie Rockstone is supreme anytime that discussion rears its head and nobody can take that away from him.

If Shatta Wale deserves a statue for his action, then the one who made it possible, the one who made it viable and virtually created a platform for a Shatta Wale to thrive deserves a whole nation.

Obour

Generally, Bice Osei Kuffour, popularly known as Obour is not appreciated enough by the industry. Obour in his prime as a musician was that good. Sold out concerts, chart-topping songs, albums, and awards characterized his career as an artiste but these are not the only factors that define his legacy.

Obour paved that way; the realization that young musicians, the youth can take up leadership roles and make a difference.

Before him, ‘retired’ musicians headed the administration of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA).  He stepped in at a time when he was still active in the music business, relegated his music career and decided to stand for the position for President of the Union.

Obour’s involvement in that MUSIGA election in 2011 brought some verve and excitement to the Union and it continued like that throughout his two successful terms as President.

With his current portfolio as the Ag. Managing Director of Ghana Post, where is he effective positive changes – Obour proves that, young Ghanaian musicians can vie for and hold administrative offices and be good at it.

Samini

Endorsement deals have become a mainstay of the creative space. Celebrities rely heavily on such deals to stack up their revenue and the venture has become one of the surest and genuine ways they make money.

In Ghana, albeit some others appearing in commercials and signing some deals, Samini’s deal with MTN in 2007 was regarded as one of the biggest deals at the time and offered insight into the fact that, artistes could pen multi-million deals.

MTN signed on Samini as its music icon when the Telecommunications Company was introduced onto the Ghanaian market and that act greatly transformed customers’ experience with the brand. The partnership lasted for 8 years, one of the longest ever in the industry.

The endorsement was huge and far-reaching with Samini’s photos on MTN scratch cards etc. His MTN endorsement song was commercially bigger than most released songs at the time.

Samini Again

 Having international prominence has become very crucial for the Ghanaian artiste now. Having foray in that international music market comes with getting recognition in these international award schemes and Samini has done it all.

In 2006, he won the ‘Best African Act’ at the MOBO Awards, the first ever by any Ghanaian act. In that, he was nominated for the ‘Best African Act’ at the MTV Europe Music Video Awards, the first ever by any Ghanaian act.

In 2010, he won the ‘Best African Act’ for the popular Nigerian music awards, Headies and in 2011; he won for ‘Most Gifted Reggae Dancehall Video Artist’ at the Channel O Music Video Awards.

Before all these talk of BETs, Grammys and other high profile international awards, Samini had shown the way.

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