The bias against gospel artistes at Nigerian awards
Wikipedia succinctly defines an award as something given to a person, group of people, or an organization as recognition for excellence in certain field. It is often signified with trophies, commemorative plaques, medals, badges, and certificates.
It is not news that every end of the year, awards ceremonies are held to recognize and appreciate artistes for their hard work during the year. What is news is that of these awards, none has been able to recognize the efforts of gospel artistes in the country. It therefore, brings to fore the bias organizers of such awards hold against the gospel artistes in the country.
Gospel singer, Kenny Saint Best (or Kenny Saint Brown as she was formerly known), on December 8, 2016, at the Music Week Africa, questioned why gospel artistes in Nigeria, don’t get endorsements from corporate organisations, especially telecommunication companies and other big brands, the same way their counterparts in the secular music do.
Contrary to the opinion hold by organisers of these awards, amazing talents abound in the Nigerian gospel music industry, and people are genuinely interested in songs by these artistes. This is evident from events like ‘Experience’, which usually have live performances every year.
Artistes like Sammie Okposo, Frank Edwards, Chioma Jesus, Onos, Midnight Crew, Tim Godfrey, Gabriel Eziashi, alongside American artistes like Travis Greene, CeCe Winans and Donnie McClurkin performed to the admiration of many that attended last year’s Experience, tagged Experience 11, which held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, and filled to its maximum capacity.
2016 saw acts like Nathaniel Bassey, Mike Abdul, Snatcha, Frank Edwards and Nosa listed as the top Nigeria gospel artistes of the year. The begging question is, do they need to be recognized and appreciated for their effort? Yes, they deserve recognition the same way their counterparts in secular music are recognized and appreciated.
The Headies and Soundcity MVP awards respectively, are undeniably are two biggest and most recognized music awards in the Nigeria, but none have a category that recognises gospel artiste, while internationally, gospel singers/rappers are acknowledged.
For instance, the BET Awards have the Dr Bobby Jones Gospel/Inspirational award category, while the Grammy awards also has Best Gospel Performance/Song category. The Billboard awards have categories like Top Gospel Album, Top Gospel Song and Top Gospel Artiste.
Since its maiden edition in 2006, organisers of the Headies, have without doubt put smiles on the faces of privileged few acts I the country. Now in its 10th edition, all through the years, recipients of the awards have felt loved and appreciated as it became clear to them that their commitment and dedication towards the craft is valued and applauded.
From all indication, organisers and promoters of these awards, have continued to show their bias against gospel artistes, while they continue to promote certain set of artistes and genre of music during every award ceremony. It appears that in their opinion, if your music is not popular on the streets and filled vulgar language, it doesn’t deserve a nod.