By King Akan
For weeks and months there had been so much anticipation for the 13th instalment of The Headies; Nigeria’s own grammy. Finally, fans got to witness the event live at Eko Convention Centre, Lagos or through live broadcast on HipTV on the 19th of October, 2019.
The Headies boasts to be Nigeria’s biggest and most prestigious music awards but honestly speaking over the past 3 years, it has witnessed a steady decline. Am personally of the opinion that while numbers give events a history and some form of credibility, they also have a downside, they open event organizers up for massive criticism. The 13th Edition of The Headies espouses this point. While it was impressive in terms of technicals, stage treatment, and award presenters, there were a lot of anomalies at the event.
The choice of Reminisce as the male host for this year’s edition is a discussion for another day. But the general feeling from my interaction with several people has been that the stellar event has dropped in terms of quality in nominations, winners and celebrity attendance. It’s almost as if the major acts don’t rate the event. Last year, Wizkid was absent for reasons best known to him despite been in the building and attending the pre-event party which took place in Abuja.
This year was even worse, as it appears most of the acts were at Wizkid Fest which was taking place about the same time in faraway United Kingdom at The O2 Arena in London. What is also curious is that some of The Headies nominees (Tiwa Savage, Fireboy, Olamide, Burna Boy) were at UK instead of Nigeria if you get the picture. Does it mean, the organizers weren’t aware of other events happening around the time to adjust their calendar to accommodate the top acts or was it a deliberate move? Whichever way, it didn’t pan out well. Over 80 per cent of the awardees were absent and their awards had to be received on their behalf.
Another talking point is that out of the 22 categories of awards, a Yoruba talent won on 15 occasions. On the surface, it may seem like a rash judgement to paint the organizers as partial but it looks more intentional than accidental. The most obvious case was the Best R&B/Pop Album in which Burna Boy and Kizz Daniels album; ‘Outside’ and ‘No Bad Songz’ were overlooked for Mayorkun’s ‘Mayor Of Lagos’ album.
Yes it can be argued that some are under the voting category but barring the categories ‘Best Alternative Song’ which was won by Johnny Drille, ‘Best Collabo’ won by Burna Boy featuring Zlatan for their effort ‘Killin Dem’, ‘Song of the Year’ won by Burna Boy for his song ‘Ye’, and a few others, you you will be ignorant to agree that some form of foul play wasn’t at play.
Talking about the ‘Next Rated’ category, which has raised controversy over the years, while I feel Rema taking home the coveted award is a reflection of reality, I also feel Zlatan deserves it and should have been excluded from the nominees entirely, because of all the names in the category he is light years ahead of them in the game, with more hits and collaborations under his belt to be included and not to win. These are the instances which beg the question, has The Headies lost its credibility?
However, there were several positives. Asides Pretty Mike stealing the show doning a half-suit, half-bridal wear, it was refreshing to see Styl Plus, Zaaki Azzay and Victor Ad perform with the live band.