Metro FM Awards needs some transparency

Rapper Nasty C and Reggie Picture credit: RAJESH JANTILAL
Rapper Nasty C and Reggie Picture credit: RAJESH JANTILAL

By their nature award ceremonies are divisive.

Away from the thrill and intoxicated excitement of the red carpet, flashing cameras and screaming fans, awards are ugly.

The past weekend's Metro FM Music Awards held in Durban laid bare the unpalatable side of the glitzy music industry.

If Lion of Judah is so massively popular, how did Lebo Sekgobela lose to Dr Tumi? If we all got down to Ngud, Ska Bhora Moreki and Wololo, how come Babes Wodumo came back with dololo?

And what did Riky Rick mean exactly with this tweet: "If niggaz can pay for these f#@ing awards then my nigga I don't want them..." - Riky Rick 2016? Does he mean Mabala Noise paid for the awards?

If so it would be a tragedy for the credibility of the Metros. But there are other factors to consider.

The chorus of disappointment from musicians Kwesta, Khuli Chana and Black Coffee makes us question the legitimacy and credibility of these awards.

These are big hit-makers, crowd pullers and platinum sellers - all the ingredients to make an award winner? Yes, No, Maybe? Well at the Metros it goes down to the votes. It's what you put in that you get out.

Think of it like a campaign. You cannot leave things to chance because everyone sings along to your hit. Mabala Noise might as well have "bought" the awards as it has been suggested on social media and elsewhere. But on a practical level there must be something they did, that other artists and record companies may learn from.

Say you set aside a budget of R10000 on a category to buy SIM cards and airtime and embark on a voting blitz with your staff and family, much like they do on Idols SA, the outcome could be different. It boils down to how much effort, time and money you plough in.

There's also a point to be made about how the industry needs to educate its supporters and critics on how different awards ceremonies operate.

For instance, at the SA Music Awards, the Recording Industry of SA short-lists entrants that meet the requirements, and these are handed over to a panel of about five experts per category.

They are drawn from the media, retail and the industry itself. They then vote anonymously and the highest scorer takes the trophy. The belief is that they know best and are equipped to judge quality.

The Saftas operate almost in the same manner, theirs is a peer review system of sorts where fellow practitioners who make up a panel per category score each other to select winners.

The Crown Gospel Music Awards and the Metros are reliant on SMSes sent in the popularity contest.

We give them the benefit of the doubt that they are audited by reputable firms so that their integrity remains intact. Perhaps making the audited results public will help make the process transparent.

The issues Riky Rick raised are valid. They reflect the unequal society young South Africans find themselves having to navigate to stand a chance at making something about themselves and their dreams.

The culture of payola, cronyism and connections will get the African child nowhere near their dreams.

Mofokeng is entertainment editor

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