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“For any award worth its salt, people are bound to be disgruntled” – Ayo Animashaun speaks on the Headies

by Willfred Okiche

The Headies also known as the Hip Hop World Awards are scheduled to hold on the 22nd October this year and plans are already in top gear to make it one to remember. We stole a few moments with the man at the centre of all the action Mr Ayo Animashaun

Name change from Hip Hop World Awards to Headies

It is not a name change actually. It is still the Hip Hop World Awards but we are putting more emphasis on the reward which is the trophy itself, called the Heady rather than on the name of the award, so Hip Hop World is the name while the reward is the Heady.

Like the way The Academy Awards are called Oscars?

Exactly, the trophy is called the Oscar but the title remains the Academy Awards.

This year’s ceremony was supposed to be held outside Lagos then Lagos was announced as the venue, what necessitated the changes in venue, in and out of Lagos?

There was no official announcement from us that we were going outside Lagos. What happened was because we had hosted the awards in Abuja and had expressed interest in moving outside Lagos once in a while, a lot of people just went ahead and made their assumptions  but we eventually agreed on Lagos after considering various locations.

What is the nomination process like?

There are different award categories, used to be 19, but 21 this year. Each time we put out a list of nominees, we explain the categories and give a time frame for the year under review so the criteria is specific for the category. Explaining each of them would take the whole day. Now some categories like song of the year are obvious popular ones while others like the Next Rated require more attention. All the categories do not have the same criteria.

How are winners chosen?

Some categories are chosen by voting, some pass through screening by selected professionals in the music industry. Some categories cannot be open for voting otherwise it would rubbish the credibility of the awards because people may tend to vote for who is popular. Some categories are very tight and I do not envy the judges at all

Rapper Ice Prince scored the highest number of nominations this year even though he had not put out an album during the year under review, how was this possible?

If you spend some time on the list of nominees, you will see that some categories are collaborations so for Ice Prince, it is not just his “Oleku” single that garnered him all the nominations. He had a very busy year and appeared on various nominated tracks as a featured artiste for example Jah Bless’ “Joor” . so if you are a featured artiste on a song that is nominated, it automatically makes you a nominee and in his case, they kept adding up.

Sound Sultan has been reported to have expressed dissatisfaction with the nominations, insisting he should have at least been nominated in the socially conscious category, are you aware of this?

I am sorry but there is nothing we can do about that. For any award that is worth it’s salt, people are bound to be disgruntled besides I have not seen any artiste complain about another artiste like why was he/she nominated, no it is never about that rather it is always about why wasn’t I nominated or why didn’t I win? Everybody thinks they have done the best music out there but there is really nothing we can do about such cases

But how do you handle disgruntled artiste

Once you score a goal in a football match and you are not celebrating, then that goal is probably not worth scoring. Also when you lose a match and you do not feel bad, then the match isn’t worth winning. If yo spend some time on the internet and check for comments about the big awards; the Oscars, Grammys, there are always unsatisfied people and they handle it differently. Some people keep quiet and sulk while some like Kanye West at the MTV VMAS last year publicly express themselves. People are always not happy when they do not win but then everybody cannot win. It is something you must be ready to expect once you step into the rewarding business. The fact that you did not win does not mean you are not talented but there are no shortage of reasons why people do not win awards at a particular time, it happens for all the big ones so these things will always come up. Once it is not like that, then the prize is not worth it. What nobody can claim however is that they won or were nominated because they know Mr Ayo. I am not even part of the screening team and I do not discuss it with artistes. We try as much as possible to be credible but maybe because a lot of people are not credible, they think we are like them but it is not so, we will die being credible.

What about the performers and presenters, how are they chosen?

For you to perform on our stage, you must have released one of the biggest songs during the year under review, you can check our list of performers and for you to present an award, you must be an entertainment industry veteran. A young6 or Eva cannot present at the awards with all due respect to their talent so everything is credible and transparent. This afternoon, if you wait around, you will see different professionals coming in to work on this project. I cannot afford to pay them but they are doing it because they love and believe in what we are driving at. It is like a movement or revolution.

Whatever happened to Hip Hop World magazine?

The magazine was rested for a number of reasons beyond our control and we are not the only ones who had to be rested as a lot of other big ones too packed up but as from this month, we are going to be coming out on a monthly basis. We are already printing as we speak and I cannot wait.

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