The New VGMA Plaque: Was It Necessary?

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

New VGMA Statuette

Ha! The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards season is here again and it comes along with such a high level of parley – we know this. In fact, we have known this since 1999, so, it is acceptable to have all the agitations, backlash, and chatter associated with the awards. They make it fun – depending on which side of the house you sit in.

Approbations to Charterhouse; 20 years of enduring such intense prattle on what should have been and what shouldn’t have could have been… I can’t imagine so I refuse to qualify whatever they have been through, however, they should permit me to add on to the noise, why not?

The 20th edition of the VGMA was expertly launched last week and one of the highlights of the anniversary was the unveiling of a new statuette for the awards – making it the 6th statuette in 20 editions, yes, 6.




Plague No.


2000- 2004
















2013 – 2018




2019 –



On the average, Charterhouse goes through the ‘pain’ of altering the statuette of the awards every 3 years and considering the fact that, the VGMA is heading for 60 years+, there’s going to be more ‘pain’!

Make no mistake, the new design, with every detail elucidated nicely in the artwork below – is beautiful. It arguably tops all the previous 5, but really, was it necessary? Maybe yes, maybe no!

Yes, because it is an anniversary and one of the significant things to change to depict some form of celebration is the plaque or statuette.Yes, because change is good! Yes, because, who gives a heck anyway, the organizers can do what pleases them with the scheme.

Well, let us hear from the No’s too.

Every awards scheme comes with a statuette or plaque, that sculpture that winners get to take home, smile at them every morning, clean them when they gather dust and whenever they forget, the sight of those statuettes remind them of their accomplishment.

To the initiators of the scheme, the statuette is bigger than just a figurine for keeps; it stands for identity, uniqueness, symbolism and most importantly – branding.

The VGMA has been touted to extend its popularity outside Ghana and with time, it has been encouraging, although, with 20 years, one would expect it to be the most-talked-about awards in Africa; unfortunately it is not.  The constant alteration of the statuette has done very little to project the awards.

What is the symbol or identity for the VGMA? Should we use that for 200-2004 or utilize that for 2011-2013 or perhaps, go with the new model?

Nobody got shot for drawing comparisons and with the VGMA always looking out to perfect that scheme with international standards, let me just raise that comparison to 2 of the biggest award schemes in the world – the Grammy and the Oscars.

By just seeing the statuette of the Grammy and the Oscars, you need no telling on exactly what the topic is about. Those statuettes sell themselves – easily!

Duke Ellington in 1959

Billings Artworks, the Colorado Company responsible for the Oscars have produced the same model of statuette for the Grammys for 60years+, since 1959. Containing no precious metal and weighing 5lbs 4ozs, 9 inches tall, the Grammophone trophy has seen some evolution but never swayed from its original model.

Tina Turner and Lionel Richie in 1985

Since the first ceremony in 1959, five different designs have been created; the last major face-lift came in the early 1990s, when John Billings (originator of the plaque) said he spent a year sketching and a few months fashioning three prototypes from scrap metal in his studio. The goal was simple; to keep the gramophone and its art deco influences but rework the tone arm, which was prone to breaking because of its thinness.

Bruno Mars in 2018

After taking over from his father, James Billings, after the last revision of the statuette had this to say;

“I think it’s going to stay exactly where it is. I don’t see a reason to change it. It’s become very iconic. People recognize it and understand what it symbolizes.”


Oscar statuette

At 13 ½ inches and 8 ½ pounds, the most recognizable statuette in the world is the Oscar and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have given out the same model of statuette for 91, yes, 91 staggering years!

Although the plating of the statuette has evolved from gold-plated solid bronze to Britannia metal, the original model, first designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, which has the figure of a knight gripping a sword and standing in front of a reel of film representing the five branches of the Academy; actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers – has not changed.

The legendary Merly Streep poses with the Oscar monument.

Motivation from : Christian Agyei Frimpong, Onua 95.1 FM

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