By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
This week, I heard two friends of mine on radio ridiculing musician, Ras Kuuku on his picture with a US Customs official with his VGMA plaque. The demeanour of my friends mirror the same feeling most industry players and music followers have had on how the artiste has chosen to celebrate his win.
Ras Kuuku was pictured last week, posing with a US Customs official at a one of the airports in the States – and interestingly, in the shot was the plaque for the ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year’ award at the 21st edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, the biggest music award scheme in the country.
The commentary that has followed the trend of the photo has been that of laughter, mockery and jests. How wrong have we been!
After years of contending, inundated with shouts of disapproval and rebuke – all directed at the organizers of the awards, its Board and Academy, Ras Kuuku finally annexed the top prize for the ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year’.
Some critics suggested that his win was made possible because of the exclusion of Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy from the awards. They may be right, considering the impact the two made in the eligibility year and the fact that Stonebwoy has single-handedly won that category 5 consecutive times.
But who cares?
The fact is; Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale were not part of the awards, so, the assertion of their ability to upend Ra Kuuku’s win can only be based on assumptions and conjectures.
Ras Kuuku doesn’t care too!
The records state that, the winner for the 2020 VGMA for ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year’ is Ras Kuuku. Nothing can change that!
Since winning the award, the artiste has displayed a norm never witnessed since the inception of the awards 20 years ago. He has virtually toured the region with his award, showcased the award in every neighborhood. Almost every person in and around his area has had a touch of the plaque as well as a photo opportunity.
The plaque is being treated like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Torch going on tour where it is an honor to even have a photo opportunity with it. Per what have been seen thus far, the VGMA is Ras Kuuku’s World Cup and Olympic torch.
Taking the award to the US takes the cake. Trust him to showcase the plaque to President Trump if he had the chance and by the time he’s done with his visit, America would have heard about him and his VGMA prize.
By his elaborate show off of the award, Ras Kuuku has virtually become the butt of a joke to many -from industry players to followers of the VGMA to social media freaks.
In the 21-year history of the awards, no artiste has exhibited such affection and appreciation for winning a VGMA like the Reggae artiste has done – nobody!
If I wielded any form of clout at Charterhouse and on the decision-making body of the VGMA, I would make Ras Kuuku the face of the 22nd edition of the awards. If that is too much to ask, I will make a short documentary to highlight how the VGMA was heavily celebrated by an artiste.
Ras Kuuku’s actions depict an artiste who values the award; an artiste who appreciates the award, an artiste who is not coy to brandish the prize in everybody’s face to show that, indeed, he won it and most importantly, he values it!
Instead of ridicule, the artiste deserves admiration for his gesture, especially when we are in an era where few Ghanaian artistes extol home-grown awards. Some even find it reluctant to tell of their nominations, too egoistic to showcase their plaques and sometimes, too pompous to go on stage to pick up their awards.
That’s not Ras Kuuku; from his walk to the stage to pick the award to his over-the-top celebration of the prize, he’s done it all.
Awards & Value
Typically, Ghanaian entertainers are oblivious of the value that comes with some major awards in Ghana.
There’s a reason major film and television studios broadcast how many nominations and awards their movies won at the Emmys, Golden Globes, Oscars and major film festivals. It is the value.
There’s a reason musicians gloat about how many nominations and wins they got at the Billboard Awards, the BETs and the Grammys. There’s a reason they put achievement in awards in their PR kit whenever they are projecting their brands; that’s value.
There’s a reason the plaque for the most prestigious music awards in the world, the Grammy, is worth $1, yes, just a paltry $1. They want the players to put value in the honour and in the awards scheme, and not fret over cars and houses from the scheme.