Friday, 12 June 2009

Emma Agu blasts

‘The Nigerian Entertainment Awards in USA is a huge joke’

EVERY one of us has the right to organize a music awards ceremony. The Black Entertainment Television, (BET) has a yearly music awards ceremony, called BET Awards. The ceremony covers the Hip-Pop culture, while celebrating other great music legends that are not into Hip-Pop.
MTV, with their iconic displays, is called VMA Awards, where the best music videos are celebrated.
You have the Grammy and American Music awards and so many others. People who are in the entertainment industry vote for the Grammy Awards eventual winners. While the American Music awards are based on poll of buyers.
When a group of men of Nigerian descent, named their yearly awards ceremony as The Nigerian Entertainment Awards, professional Nigerian musicians and recording artists living in USA are raising serious questions about their agenda and motives.
As a member of the American Federation of musicians and the founder of the Professional Musicians Association of Nigeria, USA, I was inundated with series of complaints against the organisers of this so-called award ceremony taking place this weekend in Maryland (The event actually held yesterday).
Complaints against this awards ceremony are based on what some people call a fraud going on within. An awards based on selection by a few individuals and what a popular Nigerian journalist called a visa-racket squad. Some argued that the awards ceremony is one-sided and does not reflect musicians from all the geographical regions of Nigeria and at such should not be called The Nigerian Entertainment Awards.
I took the necessary steps to speak with the organisers and In my interaction with one of them, he made it clear that the ceremony only covers a certain age and a particular genre of music. He was generous enough to let me know that the awards are not for the ‘best guitarist or organist’ of the year. Well said.
Now the question is, how can you come up with an awards ceremony in the United States of America and tag it ‘Nigerian Entertainment Awards’ when this gathering rewards only a particular set of musicians who play hip-pop. Is hip-pop now the most accepted Nigerian music? I am only talking about music here because this is what I woke up everyday to do. How do you choose the eventual winners, even in the movie segment?
In view of the outcry against what majority regards as a fraud, after holding consultation with my colleagues over here, I wish to state the following:

1. That the organizers of these awards took advantage of the crass disunity among Nigerian Musicians both home and abroad to organise these so-called awards.
2 That this awards ceremony is a continued attempt to marginalize the real professionals by a league of men who through the years have reaped where they never sowed.
3 Truly speaking, this award does not in any way help the Nigerian music industry but further takes us many years behind as true professionalism is not encouraged by the organisers.
4 It is the same individuals who parade themselves as music promoters who come together to organise awards ceremonies for their artist in their quest to remain relevant.
5 That the organisers of this award ceremonies use the faces of popular Nigerian musicians without permission to do their flyers in order to attract a decent crowd.
6. There is no information that reveals how eventual winners are chosen.
7. That the only functional webpage available on the internet does not have any
link where one can vote for his favorite artist.
8. No form of remuneration or honorarium is given to the so called winners who traveled
all the way from Nigeria for the awards ceremony.
9. That those invited stay in the homes of their fans instead of being kept in decent hotels.
10 There was no press release, briefing or invitation to leading Nigerian Entertainment writers to cover this event...
Finally, I’m not writing this release because of me. I don’t accept Nigerian tailored awards and titles. I rarely play in any Nigerian organised events abroad on principle. My only concern here is that you don’t engage in a questionable program and give it a bogus name to create acceptability. I am proud of the Nigerian Hip-Pop movements and what they have achieved for themselves. Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries have their mainstream music style. It is not Hip-Pop. Therefore, don’t create or generate an impression that Hip-pop is the main Nigerian own music style and that these upcoming ones are the very best from Nigeria. This is completely unacceptable to me.
In this age and time, we ought to encourage professionalism. Make it possible for the upcoming ones to play alongside seasoned Nigerian music legends.
I sincerely hope the organizers of this award night can rename and brand it any how they like but to call it Nigerian Entertainment Awards, this is totally unacceptable.
Lastly, members of the Professional Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) will follow every step necessary to stop the organisers from staging further awards using the name, ‘Nigerian Entertainment Awards’.

Agu is the Founding President, Professional Musicians Association of Nigeria, USA.

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