With the last minute withdrawal of 2019 hosting right from Ghana, following an undisclosed disagreement between the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) team and the government of Ghana, there were fears that this year’s ceremony might fall bellow expectation. Aside from funding, which remains a major factor in hosting AFRIMA, finding a willing host with needed facilities within a short period of time would always be a tough task for the production team. However, those who have followed the award project from inception knew the organiser had no option but to bring the show back to Nigeria where it all started. The fact that key players in AFRIMA are from Nigeria makes it easier to find support. Besides, Lagos remains the entertainment capital of Africa.
So, when the AFRIMA team eventually unveiled Lagos as the host city for the 6th AFRIMA, it didn’t come as a surprise; that was the only option left. Like banky W sang, “Ain’t no party like the Lagos party…” And within a very short period, Eko was ready to host the continent. For the whole of last week, the city of Lagos bubbled with activities, as music professionals from different parts of the continent flew into town. From musicians to record label owners, artiste managers, show promoters, technical men… it was a gathering of who is who is African music.
This year’s show started with the Welcome Soiree, which took place at the Sky Lounge rooftop of Eko Hotels. It was a ground welcome reception party for arriving artiste, nominees and delegates, where Minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Yakubu Mohammed welcomed artiste and guests, relating a feel-at-home treatment and promised hospitality during their stay in Nigeria.
A major highlight of the 6th AFRIMA was the AFRIMA Music Village, with over 30 African superstars, who entertained fans and music lovers at the 5,000-capacity Agege Stadium. A combination of African superstars and AFRIMA Nominees thrilled music fans to high-powered and high-octane music.The next day was for the African Music Business Summit (AMBS), which had in attendance music professionals and stakeholders in a panel of discussion on issues surrounding the business of music in Africa, and how to harness its full economic potentials.
Panelist at the robust session included Yoel Kenan, (Chief Executive Officer, Africori, South Africa); Eric Bally (Associate Producer, YUMA Production); DJ Moh Green (International DJ from Algeria); Sarah Boulos (Chairperson, Society for the Performing Arts, Nigeria.); Sipho Dlamini (Managing Director, Universal Music, South Africa); Seidu Idrissu (West Africa Agents, Sheer Publishing Africa, Ghana) and others.Olisa Adibua, Nigerian media personality and Associate Co-producer, AFRIMA, who was one of the panelists, observed that, “the issue is not about help, It Is Business. If you have a good product, you don’t beg; investors will woo you. Show business is the business of show where the artiste provides the show and the investors fund and market the show. If the investors don’t find your work marketable, no amount of begging will change that position.”Nominees’ party, held a night before the main awards ceremony, followed the business summit, with theme Fire and Ice. Nominees from across the continent were given a feel of Africa in the Nigerian way at Landmark beach.
The main award night started with a special red carpet reception that saw different shades of fashion and style. It was also an opportunity for attendees to network before the main ceremony that lasted into the early hours of the following day.After a long wait, the AFRIMA stage eventually came alive with an opening glee that saw a beautiful display of the rich African culture. Dressed in different African attires, representing different quarters of the continent, the dancers did justice to Master KG’s Skeleton Move, featuring Zanda Zakuza. “No matter where you go… Remember the road that will lead you home….”
Hosted by Eddie Kadi and Pearl Thusi, the event witnessed the continent’s biggest celebration of outstanding individuals and groups in the African music and creative industry. Some of the winners, who emerged from the 36 awards category include; Kanvee Adams (Liberia); Stonebwoy (Ghana); Nasty C (South Africa); Owen & Tiana (Gabon); Salatiel (Cameroon) Manno Beatz (Chad); Aminix (Morocco); Nadia Nakai (South Africa); Mohamed Ramadan (Egypt); Nikita Kering (Kenya); Bráulio Alexandre (Angola); Director Kenny (Tanzania); Onesimus (Malawi); Abrham Belanyeh (Ethiopia); Rash (Kenya); Hillzy (Zimbabwe).
Other winners of the big night comprising of Nigerian artistes include Tiwa Savage; Burna Boy, Wizkid, Dj Spinall; Joeboy among others.Some of the winners’ acceptance speeches brought tears and emotions as Nadia Nakai from South Africa says’, “We are One Africa, we should use our voice to preach peace & unity and not hate and separation. Don’t give up on us because we haven’t given up on you.”
A mixture of joy and sober reflections filled the atmosphere as two of Africa’s living legend were bestowed with the 6th AFRIMA Legendary awards; international Congolese music veteran, Awilo Longomba; and Nigerian music icon, 2Baba. This category is dedicated to recognize individuals, who have impacted positively on the world using their craft in the music, arts and culture industry. A category fully decided by the International Committee of AFRIMA.
This year has no doubt surpassed fans’ expectations as the stage was lit with electrifying performances from African music stars from across the continent.To wrap up the awards night was the After-Party, which set the ultimate celebratory mood in place as winners of the night, music stars and guests let loose into the night till the following morning.The 6th AFRIMA has been able to bring together music artiste, music professionals and stakeholders in one place while using music as a channel in propelling African music to the entire globe.