Car for GMA 'Artiste of the Year': I Disagree!

BY: Arku Jasmine

R2BeesNews making rounds has it that, the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) is ready to present a brand new MG Rover car to R2Bees – biggest winners at the 2013 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.

Must a car be presented to artistes who have excelled in their careers and already have a fleet of cars? Why shouldn’t new artistes who have worked hard in the turbulent season to win the New Artiste of the Year award be encouraged with such an honour instead?

Many will not agree with me but my aim is not to be agreed with, instead I want people to look into the significance of my thinking. I may be wrong but let’s be professionals and agree to disagree.

In the run up to and before the fourteenth edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, I showed my strong aversion to rap duo, R2Bees winning the ultimate and the biggest honour on the night, which is the ‘Artiste of the Year’. It’s been weeks after the awards and I still believe  in my position.

However the intent for writing this piece is not to push my agenda, after all whatever I do won’t make the organizers; Charter House and sponsors; Vodafone take the award back from them – it’s impossible.

As part of their prizes for winning the biggest honour on the night and in addition to other mouth watering prizes, the R2Bees will be presented with a new car – an initiative from MUSIGA, the association that regulate and champion the affairs of musicians in the country.

According to ace highlife musician, Rex Omar who is also the Business Development Manager for MUSIGA, the initiative is the Union’s contribution to compliment the efforts of the organizers and encourage the musicians to do good music.

“This is an initiative by MUSIGA. It is starting this year and it is going to continue every year. We have been trying to make this possible and thank God it has become a reality. This shows how MUSIGA is committed to changing the lives of Ghanaian musicians and the music industry as a whole and we are still working”, Rex Omar said prior to the awards.

Bravo! Good to know that the Union is actually growing up and beginning to take good decisions in the interest of musicians.

On a personal level, I think this is long overdue. Over the past few years, some of us have been consistent with criticism of the awards in the media.

Also I have been a strong advocate for something much valuable to be presented to the winners and not the insufficient prizes they receive for their hard work over the years.

Why it has to take 14 good years before something like this is introduced is beyond my understanding but now Ghanaian musicians can take solace in the fact that, no matter how long it took, it is finally here.

If you ask me, the idea in introducing a car to the awards scheme is brilliant and welcome because  a car makes one mobile and an artiste needs one to aid in his or her musical journey as they move from one end of the country to another.

But my problem is the category that the car is going to be presented to. It’s  problematic for me. This is not a personal vendetta against R2Bees, I still would have complained if any of the other nominees in that category had won.

The idea of giving the car to the Artiste of the Year instead of the New Artiste of the Year is what is a bit worrisome to me if not for many other people. Why do I think so? The car is presented to say ‘Ayekoo’ for working hard, however I think it will not change anything in the life of such artistes.

If music reality show winners can win a car as a grand prize, then it’s not wrong to crown a New Artiste at the Ghana Music Awards with a car. It will be sad to see a reality show winner driving around town and see a New Artiste Award winner at the Ghana Music Awards boarding public commercial vehicles popularly referred to as trotro or taxis.

Honestly, in the first year of release, most new artistes do not make enough money to earn them a car. A car for a new artiste will make most underground artistes work harder and produce good songs. So they need to be technically rewarded.

In as much as my ideas appears unachievable for now, I’m not the only person who thinks along that line, the President of MUSIGA, Bice Osei Kufuor popularly known as Obour in his recent interaction with yours truly conceded that indeed he and the Union were thinking along that line.

However the car they acquired from sponsors Midland Savings and Loans Limited and Fairlop International Limited according to Obour was earmarked for the Artiste of the Year so as to get the needed mileage. Perhaps they thought a new artiste will not give them the needed attention as compared to the already established artistes.

I’m not, too sure if Kaakie has a car but its certain R2Bees will either sell or park the new car in their garage when Kaakie would appreciate it more. What would it take for the Union to scout for other companies who are ready to give a car and needed attention to the new artiste?

Since the idea behind the car presentation is a bait to get musicians to show interest and register with the Union, a new  artiste will be willing to register with the Union than perhaps an already established artiste. I think strongly that the New Artiste of the Year deserves the car more.

By Ebenezer Anangfio

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