By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
The 3rd edition of the 3Music Awards has officially been launched, with the release of the nominations list last week – in a well-planned and well-executed ceremony that was well-attended by members of the industry.
The scheme is a refreshing addition that complements the popular Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) in the awarding of excellence in the music industry.
Interestingly, the scheme introduced some exciting categories in this year’s edition, which includes the ‘Next Rated’ and the ‘Performer of the Year’ categories. It has also come up with a laudable initiative; 3Music Awards Women Initiative and Brunch, which is a social impact initiative designed by the ladies of the 3Music Awards in collaboration with the events social impact arm, the ‘Music 4 Good’ Foundation, to highlight the issues Ghanaian women face in their lines of work.
There’s no awards scheme in the world that has not or does not face any form of reproach for its system, processes and selection of winners. Most often, such rebuke is essential for the growth and development of the scheme and the industry for which the awards are being held.
However, it must also be stated bluntly that, there are some commentaries on awards that are completely illogical and have no proper bearing and place no meaningful impact on such schemes.
The 3Music Awards, since the unveiling of nominees, as expected, is facing some constructive castigation over some of its actions and at the same time, there is some commentary being passed on the scheme make little sense and lack merit.
Some of such whacky commentary has come from respected industry personalities, George Quaye, the former PRO for Charterhouse and Mic Yamoah, an Entertainment Analyst and Writer. The two have attacked the pedigree of the Board in such disappointing and uninformed rhubarb.
George Quaye, speaking as a panel member on Joy FM’s ‘Showbiz A-Z’, questioned the expertise of the 3Music Board and its ability to preside over some ‘technical’ categories like Album of the Year, especially when, according to him, there is no ‘Technical’ person on the Board.
Mic Yamoah, on GN TV’s ‘Christian Entertainment Show’, was more critical as he exhibited such gross ignorance and questioning the composition of the Board. He frowned on the selection of what he called, radio presenters and entertainment critics to form the Board and called for the organizers of the awards to alter the Board, form a solid one and make the current members, Academy members and researchers.
In his tirade, he went on to state, that the arrangement of 3Music in its assemblage of such a Board is scary for the industry.
VGMA Is Not the Standard
Not only were the comments of these learned guys concerning the 3Music Awards Board disappointing, but they also found it convenient in their jaded commentary to compare the VGMA to the 3Music Awards. There’s nothing awry with the comparison but it must be employed with some level of tact!
Congratulations to Charterhouse for its handling of the VGMA for 20 years and much respect to its Board members, but the fact is, it is not the standard for music awards in Ghana.
For its ability to enjoy a monopoly for such a long time, it is quite convenient for anybody to assume that the VGMA is the standard for awarding musicians or any other industry in the country. That’s false! And is it quite galling to have the likes of George and Mic, with their experience, make such proclamation?
The VGMA is just another music awards scheme, with its own rules and regulations, plus disciplinary actions. It has its objectives which inform its decision on how to assembly its Board.
Nobody has made it the yardstick, the marking scheme or benchmark with which other music awards in the country should be measured.
Education on Awards Setup
Every award scheme in the world comes with its objectives, operations, mechanisms and essentially, statuettes and plaques. The target for every scheme is different. Here are examples;
The Golden Globe Awards, held in the U.S, are accolades bestowed by 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which recognizes excellence in film, both American and International, and the American television.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a non-profit organization of journalists and photographers who report on the entertainment industry activity and interests in the United States for media newspaper, magazine and book publication, television and radio broadcasting) predominantly outside the U.S.
Wait, did you read the setup well?
Journalists and photographers do nominate and select winners for categories such as ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Soundtrack’ and many other ‘technical’ categories.
But wait, there’s more!
The People’s Choice Awards, is an American awards show, recognizing people in entertainment, voted online by the general public and fans.
Until the 2005 edition, the American Music Awards, for both the winners and the nominations were selected by members of the music industry, based on commercial performance, such as sales and airplay. Since the 2006 edition, winners have been determined by a poll of the public and fans, who can vote through the AMAs website.
The Recording Academy (formally the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; abbreviated NARAS) also known as Grammy, is an American learned academy of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals. It is famous for its Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry.
The nomination process for Black Entertainment Awards (BET) is handled by a voting academy made up of about 500 people from the music industry, media, and bloggers. BET sends out ballots electronically and voters nominate deserving works and artists in all categories who they think should be nominated.
Clearly, one must understand what every scheme represents and accept them for what stands for or project. If that acceptance is not there, you might find yourself in confusion, just like George and Mic, unfortunately.
Produce Quality Commentary
Commentary is okay, expression of opinion is okay too but, it is imperative to note that such comments should make sense and must be made in a way to shape the industry.
First of all, the VGMA, with the assemblage of its so-called technical expertise – faces issues every year – issues that range from categorization to nomination to the selection of winners. In fact, in 2006, the scheme, with its collection of technical experts, was nearly shut down because of the intense criticism it received from stakeholders and the general public on how the previous edition was handled.
Even the Grammy and the Oscars, which have the collection of industry honchos as members of Committees respectively, do face issues almost every year.
Just like other schemes across the world, there is absolutely nothing wrong if the handlers of 3Music Awards, based on its vision and mission, decide to assembly presenters and critics with in-depth knowledge on music to form its Board. The most critical element is the job done; the critique and varied analysis should be hinged on the work produced.
And for somebody like Mic Yamoah, who is a staunch proponent for the group, Bethel Revival Choir and actually hollered the loudest as he galvanized support for them to attain nominations and win awards at the last edition of 3Music – had no problem with the assemblage of the Board when the music group got several nods and actually won 3 awards on the night.
3Music Awards has not selected all media men in the country to join its Board, so, other media personalities can scrutinize its operations. Just like the Golden Globe Awards; although overseen by journalists, it is still criticized or applauded by other media men and still regarded as one of the best awards in the world.
Mic, in his lousy commentary, ended up contradicting himself. He claimed that the Board members who would have been in the position to speak or criticize the awards couldn’t exercise that privilege by virtue of their membership on the Board and should be made Academy members or researchers for the scheme?
So, board members can’t speak but Academy members and researchers of the same scheme are in a better position to scrutinize and critique the scheme? These media personnel should go out, research for the awards, and then scrutinize their own work openly? Where is the value in this blabber?
Support Other Schemes
Elsewhere, there are many award schemes in the same industry, yet, every one of them goes about their activities with no trepidation and anxiety. At the end of the day, it’s all about awarding excellence in various endeavours.
In Ghana, we should learn to support other schemes, especially the ones that exhibit such potential in projecting our entertainers and the industry unto a pedestal.
The industry was not made for individuals or firms and nobody or firm can hold any form of autonomy in any aspect of this industry. Just do yours and move and accord others the room to also operate. If you cannot support and still want to pass commentary, that’s fine but make it sound sensible and workable!