Thursday, 10 May 2018

Re: The 2018 Headies and Tribalism —by Simon Utsu

10 May 2018 

I think it's funny and unnecessary for the outcome of this year's Headies music awards, held over the weekend to be tribalised. I read claims by a number of my Igbo brethren on several online fora (including Facebook) that musicians from their region were shortchanged. 

When the recently concluded big brother produced 80% Igbo finalists and the eventual winner, this song wasn't sang by other tribes so I don't think it's necessary for anyone to play this card.

If those drumming up this tribal card are honest, they would agree that Igbo musicians didn't really have a good outing musically in the last year. 

Flavour's album (which I always look forward to) kind of flopped. Then they say Runtown deserved at least one award. But the same people forgot that in the last twelve months, Runtown had a running battle with his record label's CEO which saw the star calling his boss several unprintable names. In case you don't know, loyalty is regarded more than talent in the entertainment industry. Runtown's record label's owner is well connected within and outside the industry and can easily get him 'blackballed' within and outside Nigeria.

One other name mentioned by the Igbocentric crowd was rapper Zoro. They claimed he also deserved an award. Zoro is a good musician no doubt but I don't think he can break into the mainstream with the kind of sound he currently offers. The only hit song of Zoro  is I know had a folk (ogene) beat. It's like trying to force Fuji music on the Nigerian audience —it would take a genius to pull that through. Phyno had a good year —but I won't vote any of his 2018 hits for an award. 

Let's not also forget that it's the same Headie's awards that chose Igbo born rapper IllBliss ahead of Yoruba born rapper and rap legend, Mode9 in a hotly contested rap category some ten years ago. The controversy that followed afterwards let to Mode9 feeling unappreciated & undervalued and eventually withdrew from the music scene whilst IllBliss soared higher as a result of the confidence boost. Anyone who has followed the Headies for as long as it has existed(15 years or so) will agree with me that it's one controversial award but I don't think I'll agree with anyone who claims it's a tribalistic award.

Simon Utsu
Is a Social Commentator 

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