Not much pizazz at VGMA nominees party

BY: Francis Doku
Elikem was unimpressive on the night
Elikem was unimpressive on the night

It has been a very busy one week, hasn’t it? What with the announcement of the nominees for the 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) on Friday and the concomitant nominees’ announcement party at Movenpick on Saturday night, Independence Day on Tuesday and International Women’s Day today!

The nominees’ announcement was done on TV, radio and on social media from 11am to 4pm on all Media General platforms. Of course the media partnership between Charterhouse and Media General (owners of TV3, 3FM, Onua FM, Akoma FM and was announced a few days before the nominees’ announcement on Friday.

I think the nominees’ announcement party did not live up to the hype. Usually that was one of the big events leading to the main event of the VGMA in any given year, but I thought there was some lethargy to this particular one. Emceeing by Elikem Kumordzi was not the best and though the programme itself was very short and straight to the point, there was not much je nais se quoi about it.

Thankfully though, the producers have one more show to impress before the main event on April 14. The nominees party would take place some two weeks from now in Cape Coast and it would be expected to be a big night and one that ought to be a big party for the residents of Cape Coast and those who would join from Accra and everywhere.

As I mentioned in my piece here last week, the biggest talking point from the nominees’ announcement has been the usual haranguing of the VGMA board for a horrible job. Wrong categorisation, ignorance of genre, not nominating deserving artistes are but a few of the numerous accusations aimed at the members of the board.

It is the usual chorus, and while some may be genuine, some are wild allegations and some outright ignorance from people who don’t know jack about music and or what the criteria for selection for the VGMA is.

Some artistes have hailed their nominations, others have lamented their exclusion or lack of nomination and yet others have used very strong words to express their disappointment with the list that was released.

Ghana is still a free country and people should be allowed to express themselves in any way they feel. As is always the case, the biggest conversation would take place on the night of the awards when the winners, near winners and those who feel they should win have been announced. Welcome to the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards season!

 “Ghana Month” or “Heritage Month” bold move by media

On September 24, South Africa observes what is known as National Heritage Day. The National Heritage Day is a public holiday on which the entire South African society is encouraged to observe the cultures that show who they are as indigenous people of the country.

It is therefore a day on which if you find yourself in South Africa, you are most likely to see the person who is your host dressed in something Zulu, Xosa, Pedi or the traditional outfit of any of the indigenous tribes of the Rainbow nation. But it’s not only in dressing, but in all they do.

On a few of our trips to South Africa, we had either arrived on this day or the day came upon us while we were there and the whole nation rose up to this concept of showing who they are and what their differences contribute to making them one people.

For a few years now media organisations in Ghana have been leading the way to make us realise that we owe it to ourselves as Ghanaians to show who we are and celebrate the things that make us Ghanaian. In other words, they give us the nudge to bring out the Ghanaian in us or expose our quintessential Ghanamanisms, if ever there was such a word.

First it was Citi FM that led this crusade. They dedicated the month of March to this and ensure that they brought to listeners issues about the history of Ghana, cultures of Ghana, foods and other very important things to know about the country and its people. They called it Heritage Month.

Joy FM had been scraping the surface, but it won’t be long before they got along and also dedicate the month of March to celebrate Ghana and everything that showed who we are and would always be. They called it Ghana Month.

It is important to note that sometime in 2015, ETV also declared the month of September as Made in Ghana Month as a way to whip up interest in Ghanaians about the benefits of promoting indigenous goods and services and to give exposure to manufacturers of locally made products.

In two different pieces in this column I had commended Joy FM and Citi FM for the initiative and in those pieces I called on the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts to have a certain participation in these programmes by the stations. I argued that to give it a national character beyond just the two stations, the Ministry should be involved.

September last year was declared Wear Ghana Month by the Ministry and considering that it didn’t resonate well with the public, the National Commission on Culture had to revert with a new campaign for the same concept for the month of March.

To take it a step further there is a Street Fashion Train and other activities to be carried out during the month of March. The Wear Ghana Month would be launched at the National Theatre tomorrow, then there would be seminars, exhibitions and a Fashion Industry Awards to climax it all.

While wearing Ghanaian apparel is just an aspect of this whole Ghana celebration thing, it is just what it is. It is important that the Ministry and or agency responsible for this teams up with the media organisations or takes it to the next level to be very involved in making sure we not only wear, but also eat, know, see and feel our country more.

Media General has joined the fray and as their viewers and listeners as well as those of Joy and Citi FM would have noticed, the Ghana agenda in March has been given a big boost. Citi FM for instance has brought back its Heritage Caravan and is travelling across Ghana with those willing to do so. Joy FM is also organising trips to know more about Ghana.

The most important take out from this is the media is helping to educate their publics of the things that make us Ghanaian. Social media is very key in this as the audience are carried along in this whole verve to market our country.

Some have asked why the fixation on just one month. Why can’t we wear or eat Ghana all year round, they ask. I think it is important to note that somethings have to start from somewhere for them to become accepted.

Granted, that it is only in March that we do this, isn’t one month better than none at all? For me, the most important thing would be when the Ministry accepts to push the agenda to make March, or any month for that matter, a national celebration of Ghanaianess and Ghanamanisms. I am very sure that day would come, and soon.


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