Wednesday, 14 July 2010


The organisers of the Black Entertainment Television Awards ( BET Awards ) need to answer this question: Is the event meant to honour Black musicians that are based in or have origins in the Western World alone? I must admit that I started following the BET Awards from 2009. What irks me is the way African artistes were treated at this year's ceremony. We saw American Artistes like Chris Brown, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, T.I, Drake, Eminem etc perform but not one single African Artiste was on stage that night. Are Africans not black too? Another grudge I have against BET is the Award that was given to Dizzee Rascal as the Best International Act. The nominated musicians for this Awards Category were- Kojo Antwi [ Ghana ], Chipmunk [ UK ], Dizzee Rascal [ UK ], Estelle [ UK ], Hip-Hop Pantsula [ South Africa ], M.I [ Nigeria ], P-Square [ Nigeria ], K'NAAN [ Somalia ] Sade [ UK ] and Corrine Bailey Rae [ UK ].

With the rapid development of African music in recent years, BET should have encouraged artists from our continent by giving the Best International Act award to one of the African nominees. Personally, I believe K'naan should have won the award. His music is mind blowing and 2010 is his year. How can an artiste whose song 'Waving Flag' has become a global anthem be relegated to the background at the awards? K'naan was not even allowed to display his skills to the world through a performance. And how is Dizzee Rascal better than Sade Adu? Sade is a legend in her own right and should have been given better recognition at the event. There has been a lot of talk in the States about the Nigerian Hip-Hop industry [ Rest In Peace, Da Grin ] and Nigerian musicians have been performing at Music festivals in America for ages. At least P-Square or M.I should have been allowed to perform at the main event anchored by Queen Latifah. It would have encouraged upcoming acts in Africa to take their careers seriously.

BET has to realise that Africa is the source of black music and entertainment. The organisers of the BET Awards are descendants of slaves who were shipped to America. These slaves did not forget their music forms and as time went on they started singing Negro spirituals. Then came Jazz, soul, blues, Hip-Hop and Rap. African music has come of age and the internet has made it easy to share music files and watch music videos anywhere you are in the world. BET has to make amends at next year's event. If African musicians can be honoured at the Grammy Awards, I wonder why Africa is being ignored at the BET Awards. K'naan has proved that it is possible to blend African sounds with western instrumentation and still come out with something great. I hope my rant will get to the BET Awards organisers. RV says things as they are.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting observation. I, myself, am a big K'Naan fan. The man is simply talented. However, I think you should note that it is not just African artists that are being ignored at the BET Awards. The BET Awards reserves performance spots for the more mainstream artists with lighter messages to their music. K'Naan belongs to a category of artists that sing about deep and relevant issues, people who keep in mind musical integrity without compromising their intellectual abilities at the same time. Unfortunately, such artists are not the ones that receive radio play. This is the same treatment that good musicians like Lupe Fiasco or the Roots receive (all American acts). K'Naan has entered a sadly shallow music industry, and that is his problem-not his african-ness.
    However, I think it would be good for BET to globalize their ideas of "black music". Seeing different acts from different countries would be an eye opening experience for black people who do watch BET, and it would be good exposure for African music which is all too often underestimated. ( I'm sorry for leaving such a long comment.) lol