By Arnold Asamaoh-Baidoo
The much anticipated decision by the Board of the VGMA on Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy for their indiscretions during the 20th edition of the awards is out – and there’s some muddle among showbiz aficionados and music fans over the call.
The VGMA Board, via its Code of Conduct has leveled some sanctions on these artistes including;
- An indefinite ban from the VGMA
- Stripping them off awards won that night
- Not announcing winners for ‘Artiste of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year’
I respect the decision of the Board and I do endorse some parts of the sanctions and totally frown on some.
Punitive Measures Were Expected
Genuinely, it was expected that Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale would face sanctions, considering the mess they plunged the scheme into. However, an indefinite ban is too cruel.
Yes, a ban from one or two editions of the awards would have made sense but to place an indefinite embargo on these two influential acts was uncalled for and signifies some knee-jerk reaction.
Considering the fact that, these two are the most dominant personalities within the Reggae/Dancehall fraternity and indeed the entire industry, an indefinite ban would not only derail the decoration of these artistes, but would also affect the awards extensively.
With the awards being a popularity-based awards, there’s no denying the fact that, a no-show from the massive following of these artistes would put some hamper on the VGMA.
When Shatta Wale was banned some years ago, the scheme survived, thanks to the following from others, especially Stonebwoy, who dominated the genre for 5 consecutive years. Banning the two indefinitely would have its dire repercussions on the scheme.
Charterhouse Can’t Go Without Blame
It is interesting how the CEO of Charterhouse, Mrs. Theresa Ayoade went on and on about how the two artistes marred the awards and deserve whatever consequences that would befall them. She spoke about how the two used just a few minutes to destroy efforts made by her staff in the days leading the event and how shocked, embarrassed and upset they are as organizers.
Not once in her commentary did she apportion any form of blame to her doorstep; Come on, Ma!
Whatever ensued was under the auspices of Charterhouse; everything happened under their watch, therefore, as organizers, they take the biggest chunk of the blame. It is therefore disingenuous that she went on stacking all the blame on the two acts, when in fact, they are the ones who allowed arms or weapons into the auditorium, when their security could not prevent Shatta Wale and his posse from mounting the stage, and when they allowed Stonebwoy back onto the microphone to spew all that gibberish after the melee – among other failings in safety and security.
They, Charterhouse, had oversight responsibility of the safety and security of the event and they failed. They must admit their laxity and express it in their statements!
Why Strip Them Off Their Awards?
I strongly believe the Board sometimes assumes certain powers that is beyond it – and for this decision, it had no right to make such a call.
The fact is; this is not the Grammys where voting of winners is the sole responsibility of the Grammys Academy, so they choose to ban who they want, like they did to Milli Vanilli in 1990 over the fact the band were found not have done the original vocals to their album.
The determination of winners for the VGMA is determined by the public, an Academy and the Board. We all had and still have stakes in who won and would win what in the VGMA until the rules are changed.
The Board cannot, I mean, it has has no right to place a call on winners also chosen by the general public and members of the Academy.
The fans voted with their money, campaigned with their money, produced and shared campaign artworks with their money – and the members of the Academy expended hours of their precious time sitting in a room to vote. You can’t deprive them of their choices.
Yes, you have the right to place a ban on their participation of the awards because the main role of the Board is to categorize and nominate artistes; its unanimous role ends there. Voting for winners is not only the mandate of the Board, so, it has no right to strip any artiste off any award decided by 3 blocs – including the public.
Failure To Announce Winners Confusing
For the first time in the history of the awards, there will be no ‘Artiste of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year’ winners and this has little to do with Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy, as Charterhouse wants it to seem.
Like the reasoning given above, the general public played a key role in the determination of the winners for the two awards. The organizers owe it to the public to at least announce to the world who won what.
The nullification makes little sense, considering the reasoning given; that, announcing it may exacerbate the ‘feud’ between the two. Give us a break!
So announcing the winners would make Shatta Wale walk to Stonebwoy’s house to protest or vice versa?
The punitive measures should have stuck only with a ban on future participation of the awards and not with the awards already won, anexed on the shoulders of resources from the artistes and the fans.
Return Plaques To Who?
The call for these guys to return their awards is clearly an unpopular one. Return to who? The Board or the organizers? Organizers must be willing to pay off all the money expended by fans and the artistes in voting massively for these guys to pick the awards. And if the acts fail to return the plaques, what would the Board and organizers of the scheme do? Prosecute them?