Earlier in June, in Durban South Africa, MTV Base announced their nominees for this year’s award show.
Nigerian and South African artistes like Davido, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, A.K.A and Casper Nyosvet among others dominated the 11 categories.
Nigeria’s Davido led the pack with four nominations in the Best Collaboration, Best Male Artiste, Song of the Year and Video of the year.
However, as Nigeria and South Africa were in celebrations, some other people felt rather cheated, much as MTV Base plays music from across the region, the nomination lists reflected something else.
With the absence of regional categories that usually address the likes of Eastern or Western Africa, one can easily define the nominations as Nigeria Vs Nigeria or South Africa in the other.
As always the Eastern side of the continent felt more cheated. Well it’s not like they were not nominated at all, but they indeed feel like the show has still slammed the door before their faces.
For instance, even with their continental success which has catapulted them into BET Award sensations, Sauti Sol still managed two nominations, including Best Group and Song of the year, according to many, they deserved more than that.
However, after crying and whining, they picked themselves up, with artiste fans’ clubs, they got together and started voting like there was no tomorrow.
Bebe Cool and Chameleone fans in Uganda organized public voting events where they provided free Wi-Fi allowing all well-wishers to come and vote.
When the awards were finally given out on July 18, the Ugandan stars, Tanzania’s Vanessa Mdee and Kenyan boy band Sauti Sol had been eluded and East Africa had to go back to celebrating Diamond Platinumz’s single win – as always.
Fans took to Social Media to complain, though unlike last year, this time round, the South Africans had joined in. Despite their artistes Riky Rick, Casper Nyovest and AKA bagging awards awards, they too felt that Nigeria had dominated what was meant to be an African show piece.
Others from Southern and Western African countries like Zambia, Zimba, Malawi, Senegal or Mali feel like the awards have always neglected them – this considering the fact that the awards always warm up to pop culture genres that their artistes definitely don’t do.
“These guys only have genre categories for Hip hop and Pop, yet African artistes sing all sorts of things like Afrobeat, Raggae, folk pop and highlife,” complains a fan from Ghana.
Many also believe that numbers are simply a wrong format of choosing winners, considering a fact that no one can ever beat Nigerians and South Africa when it comes to numbers; “These things of assessing people’s hard works using a number of twitter happy youths is simply outrageous,” said a South African music follower at Durban’s ICC.
Commenting about the awards, Zimbabwe’s lifestyle and entertainment journalist Tafadzwa Zimoyo notes that the awards missed the essential part of celebrating African art by calling on an American comedian, Anthony Anderson to host the show and later adding Neyo and Jhene Aiko to the performers’ list.
“You could think Africa was out of talent!” he said.
He later went on to question the relevance of African awards that have year after year sidelined African originality in replacement of a sugarcoated culture – posting artistes like Hugh Masekela and Angelique Kidjo that have both been nominated for Grammy Awards, Zimoyo wonders why they are never celebrated at the so called African Music awards.
Created by the African urban music and youth entertainment channel MTV Base, the MAMA awards recognize youth culture, music and achievers of sub-Saharan Africa, rewarding achievement In 18 different categories, including music (15) and Lifestyle (3).