AFRIMA 2016:Where organisers got it wrong


But for work and other pressing issues, I could not witness the African music round table conference at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, and the music village at the Lagos Bar Beach, both held on Friday, November 4.
Since I missed the pre-events, which were prelude to the grand finale of the All African Music Awards, I assumed those activities went on excellently without questions. But I cannot totally say the same of the grand finale, as I saw things myself. At least, I was there till Ambode took his leave. Though the organisers of AFRIMA have the right to say they had a successful outing this year going by the endorsements and love shown by the public, I believe there were certain things that made the event less attractive.
Since the audience was a mixture of both the young and old, to make the night a memorable one for people who came to celebrate with the winners and nominees, the organisers should have gone out of their way to include live performances from the likes of Ebenezer Obey, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, King Sunny Ade and other veterans.
Having the likes of Femi Kuti, Salawa Abeni, Adewale Ayuba and Ras Kimono, to perform on Friday at Bar Beach, as part of the activities for this year’s AFRIMA, should not have taken anything away from the grand finale.
Instead of Brymo and Aramide performing KSA’s songs, I thought it would have been nicer if they had looked for a way to convince the King himself to give the audience a taste of his majestic performance. Though the young singers gave good accounts of themselves, especially Brymo, there can only be one KSA.
While receiving his ‘Special Recognition’ award, out of excitement, KSA held the audience spellbound with a glimpse of show even at age 70. The response of the audience to his brief appearance, in a way, told us what he would have added to the night.
I am wondering how singer Aramide won the Best Female in West Africa, a category where we had Seyi Shay, Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade. She is yet to have a single album.
I also wondered what gave the organisers an impression that Young John was the producer of Wizkid’s hit track, ‘Baba Nla.’ The original producers (a group of two people), Legendury Beatz, could enter a legal battle with AFRIMA and they will be spot on. The error was too expensive and it is unpardonable for such an elite ceremony.
No doubt, VVIP, a group made of Reggie Rockstone, Prodigal, and Zeal, have contributed their parts to the growth of music in Africa. But their glorious years seem to have gone. While the preferred big names from Ghana were absent, the country was well represented by the veteran group VVIP. But I am yet to understand how they won two awards, the Best Video and Best Group.
The security at 7:30pm, from my opinion, was unnecessarily too tight. I stand to be corrected, in recent times, I do not think there had been a concert or event at Eko Hotel that demanded checking invitations at the main gate. After the heavy traffic and struggle to get a parking space, it was demoralising to see that you have to battle to gain entrance again.
The norm is to check for tickets or passes at the reception of the hall of such event. But in this case, one had to go through the security operatives at the gate and a barricade manned by bouncers before passing through another set of bouncers at the reception of the popular Eko Convention Centre. And there were still bouncers at the entrance of the hall itself.
The fact that Lagos State Governor was in the house did not justify the stress they put people through. If they had received a warning that Boko Haram were planning to attack the venue, it was understandable. But I do not think there was such fear.
The implication was that some people were already weak before they found their way into the venue. They had to make calls, waited end lessly to avoid being embarrassed, for their friends or loved ones to get them their invites.
Despite having a means of identification, I still needed to speak little words to sail through the security hurdles. Since I could not get my invite before Sunday for some reasons, I had planned to collect it at the venue.
Also, I did not understand why they gave out media tags to journalists and instructed the bouncers that their duties ended at the red carpet. If they were good enough for the red carpet, were they not good enough for the event?
Again, though it was glaring that the organisers wanted a blend of different sounds since it was a continental showpiece, there were certain performances that killed the enthusiasm of the audience.
During a performance, a devastated fun seeker voiced out that he would have stayed at home and enjoyed the comfort of his bedroom if he had known better. Like him, there were many people that could not relate with certain performances on the night.