AMEN AWARDS BACK WITH A BANG!
IT’S pay back time for Nigerian artistes. After years of consistent lull, with government and corporate organisations shunning the industry, the past few years have witnessed tremendous growth, with a total skyrocket in earnings for major stakeholders including artistes, producers and label owners. The industry may still have a long way to go, but society and relevant organisations can’t cease rewarding practitioners for excellence and unprecedented achievements. On March 17, 2007, Hip Hop World awards had its second outing, dishing out awards and treating Nigerian artistes like the international counterparts. Celebrities sashayed on the red carpet, everyone showing off their attires, and for those fortunate to mount the stage; it was like a dream come true. Hip hop world awards only started in 2006. Meanwhile on May 19, the Nigerian music awards hitherto organised by PMAN under Tony Okoroji’s regime, will return in grand style, laying siege on the city of Abuja, after what the organisers have called a soul flight’ from Lagos to the nation’s capital. NMA promises to attract the nation’s crème-de la –crème.
But the big one, the one that set all tongues wagging, is the return of awards for Musical Excellence in Nigeria AMEN, organised by ENCOMIUMS ventures, publishers of encomium Magazine. Presently Nigeria ’s longest running music awards, the event has not held since 2005. But when pundits were beginning to dig the grave of the music awards, the organisers have finalised plans to resuscitate the awards, in a manner those close to the secretariat say will be earth shaking. AMEN awards has been scheduled for the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe road, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday July 1, 2007.
This year’s event is facilitated by the Academy of creative arts in Nigeria , peopled by diverse music and media professionals including Kenny Ogungbe, Efe Omorogbe, Wale Oluwaleimu, Tokunbo Modupe, Charles O’Tudor, Sunny Neji and several others. But it is uncertain if any sponsors have been confirmed for the event which is in its ninth year.
But with the calibre of the committee members, it is expected that the requisite resources would be generated, especially as corporate bodies are now more disposed than ever, to entertainment related events. Last march, organisers of hiphopworld awards pooled an amazing sum of N100Million for the much talked-about awards.
Meanwhile, as if to add icing to the cake of Nigerian artistes, two international music awards may hold in Nigeria this year. Channel O African music video awards, fast-growing inter-continent award, has, according to dependable sources been scheduled to hold in Lagos or Calabar, in the last quarter of 2007. Same for urbane music channel MTV base whose MTV Europe music awards is one of the world’s most reputable annual award events. It is yet uncertain if MTV is doing an ‘African’ music video awards, but it has had an African category for the EMA since inaugurationg MTV Africa in 2005. 2face Idibia won the first ever best African act, at the first edition held in Lisbon , Portugal in November, 2005.
These developments mean only one thing: that despite the piracy scourge ravaging the music industry, rubbishing artistes’ toil and ensuring that most label owners go broke; despite the continued absence of necessary industry structures, and in spite of total government neglect, reward for excellence from very qualified quarters is compensating practitioners- planting smiles on their faces, and showing upcoming artistes and wannabe music pros that hardwork still pays.