On Saturday, the organizers of Uganda’s inaugural visual music awards, the Club Music Video Awards embarked on what may become their hardest journey – consistency.
This was after the awards made their return after being out of action for three years, with the confusion that has engulfed them since they announced the nominees, Saturday wasn’t and will not be their biggest challenge but what happens now.
The night ended with people like Exodus, Winnie Nwagi, Radio and Weasel and Patrobas taking home gongs, for winners like Patrobas and Abaasa on the Best Inspirational Video, it was a decision of judges like Adong Anyira Judith, Edward Ssendikadiwa and Isaac Rucci among others, yet for wins like Winnie Nwagi’s Best Viral Video for Musawo, it came down to the public’s votes.
Only a few hours after this category had been announced in mid-February, it had four nominees that included Navio’s Njogereza and Bebe Cool’s Kabulengane, with Bebe pulling out, the competition was narrowed but before the dust, settled, Sheebah and Sasha Vybez were leaving too.
In the faces of the public, what happened on Saturday, however successful, was an award show shunned by artistes; yes artistes like Keko, Vampino and Lillian Mbabazi were present but for regular Ugandans, it’s the appearance of Juliana Kanyomozi, Jose Chameleone or Bebe Cool that counts.
Thus in all ways, the organisers should even thump their chests for putting up a music related show that managed to get social media talking without involving the people that believe they own the industry.
For the future of these awards, the organisers have started off by showing the Ugandan public that they are an institution that no artiste is bigger than yet this doesn’t mean that they must minimize them.
On the contrary, now the CMVAs have to strengthen the relationship with the artistes that are with them as well as trying to win those that are against them or the non-believers, they have to look into some of the situations that were raised by the different parties and try to address them.
For instance, in a social media rant, Sheebah’s manager attacked them for taking a three year break that was never explained, much as the awards organizers are not necessarily answerable to anyone, they have a responsibility of assuring both the audience and the artistes that they will not have to wait until 2021 for the third edition of the event to take place.
For festivals, the dates for the next edition is usually announced immediately, while others tend to start by welcoming new partners to show the public that the show will still happen even if they are to lose their current partners.
The CMVAs can start by rolling out post award activities to keep their brand in the public face, but above everything, the biggest problem of award shows in Uganda is a fact that they are organized by individuals.
They usually have one goal each year, to make this year’s ceremony bigger than that of last year. There are barely any plans for the pre or post the award show.
CMVAs need to create some sort of an academy that will do more than organize awards – they need to start having at least one interest of artistes at heart and try addressing it. If their findings with the judges indicated that local videos are doing bad via storytelling, part of their programs for the rest of the year should have something to do with a story telling workshop.
They should be able to organize workshops and networking sessions between international music video directors with those we have in the country – this is one way, their institution will get closer to the guys behind the videos and the artistes in the videos.
These kinds of relationships between award organizers help answer Bebe Cool’s questions of ‘what are CMVAs going to add on artistes?’
In addition to that, this will be the best time to see the international judges benefit the nominated artistes, for instance, one of them Olamide Ayodeji Adedeji is a director of Sound City, a Nigerian music channel that currently airs a Kenyan Top Ten countdown, we would want to see, his involvement with a Ugandan music video award at least bare fruits with probably an increase of videos on a channel he’s part of.
But above everything the awards have to do, they have to involve artistes, something they were bad at this year, for instance, besides being nominees, nothing suggested that they were involved in entire show, some learnt about it in the papers.
Artistes have to feel like partners and the award night must feel like a celebration of music whether nominated or not, that will be the only way people will start showing up whether they expect to win or lose, we wouldn’t want another show where all winners are represented by friends and well-wishers.
Lastly, we hope they know why they created the concept in the first place, they should do exactly that for the entire year, until they nominate another group of artistes for the 2018 do.