by Alexander O. Onukwue
The first major entertainment awards show of the year held at Eko Hotel & Suites Friday evening. A terrific set made for a beautiful atmosphere for celebrating the most valuable persons in the Nigerian music industry, but African Time will not allow event planners to be great in 2018.
There were many bouncy performances, mostly deserving winners – Davido’s “If” as both Song and Video of the Year, as well as Artiste of the Year most definitely – and more than a few shocking snafus. We begin with the latter.
BEST POP: SIMI OR MALEEK BERRY?
Sharon Oja and her companion should have returned to the stage to give that Best Pop award to Simi. They announced Maleek Berry, who had taken the New Artiste award, as the winner but the name up in lights and the big screen was Joromi crooner, Simisola.
Maleek Berry did not come to take the award, though he had come up to take his first when announced. Because he was handing it over to Simi backstage, a la La La Land to Moonlight at the 2017 Oscars?
And how did Simi lose the Best female MVP to Tiwa Savage, after that album which future generations will value as an original work of art? Like Sugarcane was sweeter than Complete Me? Is it now by seduction that you become MVP?
CASSPER NYOVEST AND SARKODIE vs M.I.
That piece of dance by Cassper to cap his energetic “tito boweni” performance could have been the best thing he did all night if he did not show Nigerian rappers why M.I. was right about them fixing up their lives, taking home the Best hip-hop artiste award. Mr Incredible brought back one of his signature pieces, Anoti, and Bad Belle, but the punch lines from Cassper and Sarkodie (winner for Best Collaboration) ran him off the park, didn’t they?
He hasn’t lost any bit of his vibe with pulling a crowd, with the fist in the sky show of support for hip-hop. So, it’s allowed to be out-busted by a foreign duo if you still get the people with your political epistle to fellow Nigerians and rappers in particular.
ACTUALLY, EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL
Tafawa Balewa was Nigeria’s first Prime Minister and made the cover of TIME magazine’s October 1960 edition. Donning a black shirt with the cover at the awards show was Sarz, the producer of many hits in the music industry. It’s funny because we are in that period where the nation’s politicians are asking for certain political things not to be politicised. Apparently, the injunction does not apply to the music industry. It would have been interesting to spot another head wearing a shirt with Ojukwu’s August 1968 cover on it. This year will be the 50th anniversary of it, so may have been worth it.
And 2face calling on security forces to stop killings in Benue? That’s why he remains the Baale of Nigerians.
WIZKID IS NOW BIG, ABI?
Nothing spoils an award show like some hotshot nominated in a star-studded category who does not show up to pick his trophy. Wizkid’s 2017 was the equivalent of that year Lionel Messi scored 91 goals in a calendar year or Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona side of 2008/09.
Wizkid has started off the New Year with another gong for Digital Artiste but was not there to pick it, similar to his no-show at The Future Africa Awards last December where he won Young Person of the Year. Has he become bigger than local diversions, abi?
Diamond Platnumz was also unavailable to collect his Male MVP award but…
Ebuka’s change of tuxes as host of the night was not going to create another internet breaking moment as his job was basically to fulfil the organiser’s contractual obligations to sponsors. Sheyi Shay’s performance was good, enjoyable (and safe). And commiserations to Young John who could not personally receive his Best Producer award at the event being absent due to a personal grief.
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