The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) is an event that features prominently on the Ghanaian music calendar. Being Ghana’s biggest musical award showpiece, it passes to be the endorsement any musician craves to solidify his or her brand as a top artiste and as such it is one that every player in the Ghanaian music industry look up to. The 2019 edition obviously came with a special appeal as it marked 20 years since the inception of the noble award scheme. It was meant to be the biggest night thus far for the awards. The campaign and the talk leading up to the night had added another dimension and brought in a lot of tension. Artistes had canvased for votes, the conversations had been hot both on social and traditional media and fans on the street had had their fair share of arguments on who was going to win the various categories.
The build up may have looked solid but the week leading up to the awards night started to cast doubt on the whole event. Organizers just used about a week to build a new venue and the entire setup looked questionable and insecure looking at how fast paced the venue was put in shape. And like the doom prophets of old it seems every fears that critics had about how successful the night was going to be came to pass. It had started well on the night with the red carpet session and I must say kudos to Giovani Caleb and Sika Osei who put up stupendous performances as the red carpet hosts. They really owned it. With that pace set, we thought we were going to enjoy the beauty of our 20 year music awards journey. Well, we had it all wrong then. The disgrace that followed didn’t befit the theme for the night. It has really put Ghana in the bad lights of the outside world. This was not what we ascribed for. This can never be 20 years of an award scheme. It was totally unacceptable and there can be no justification for this. I know by now you’re asking what happened.
Like I said, it had began so well. The main show took off with the theme song being performed by a couple of artistes, a few awards were dished out as Shatta Wale picked a quick double of High life song of the year and Reggae/Dancehall song of the year. Further performances came which featured that of Sarkodie and a few more awards were given out and then this happened. The well documented rivalry between Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale needs no reminding of so I won’t do that. The whole bruhaha came about after Stonebwoy was mentioned as the winner of the Reggae/Dancehall artiste of the year category which also had Shatta Wale. Stonebwoy gestured with his five fingers in the direction of his arch rival Shatta as he made his way to pick his award on the podium. Now as he was about to give his mandatory acceptance speech, then Shatta and his SM militants also stormed the stage and this led to a fracas between the bhimnatives and shatta movement culminating in Stonebwoy pulling out a gun. This per reports and feeds we had and pictures circulating on social media had left one person injured and had been stretched to a hospital for treatment.
After sometime calm was restored and the show continued with an epic performance from the legendary Samini, a classic combination of old school and new school highlife show from Kuami Eugene and Abrantie Amakye Dede, Medikal, and many others with other deserving winners being awarded. The biggest and final award of the night which was the artiste of the decade went to no other person than Sarkodie however the artiste of the year and most popular song categories were not announced due to the incident that had happened earlier.
On a night when almost the whole world had their eyes on Ghana, a night when we were going to make a statement about how far we have come, this happened. It was pathetic, a disgrace and a shame to all of us not just the entertainment industry. This raises a lot of questions which will demand a lot of answers. From what happened on May 9, 2001 and the history of violence in the sub region, we seem not to have learnt any lessons. When Ghana had missed out on a BET nomination was this the way we were going to make up for that gap? This is an act that we all must condemn. Violence will never help any of us. It is sad that on a day when we were going to celebrate the giant strides that we have made thus far, we allowed just some hooligans to mare this and turn it into a glorious ignominy. Congrats to all award winners, better luck next time to those who missed out and to the Bhimnatives and Shatta Movement we plead with you guys let love lead. Violence won’t get us any results. Remember, “United we stand, divided we fall”.