• Jeremiah Ndjoze
The recent double nomination of multiple-awards winning artist Gazza for the Best Music Video category of the NAMA awards slated for later this month and the hullabaloo that emanated from this bombshell has evoked bitter emotions amongst his army of supporters.
The scandal has also cast aspersions over the the credibility of the awards’ vetting system.
Initially Gazza’s songs ‘Abangani Bako’, featuring South African rappers Emtee and Saudi, as well as ‘Up, Up Away’, featuring Nyanda, were nominated. However ‘Abangani Bako’ was removed and replaced with Sally’s video.
Ogopa-Butterfly Entertainment’s Suleiman ‘Sula’ Kyababa was among those called for heads to roll at the NAMAs screening desk.
Said Sula: “Can the NAMAs vetting committee be disqualified for ignorance? We have a bunch of ignorant people in our Namibian music industry.”
“The rules as per the entry forms are very clear but it seems the vetting committee have their own entry forms. For example , where does it say on the form that an artist should submit two music videos? The vetting committee nominated two videos of the same artist in the same category.”
Weighing into the debate, gospel musician Menrose Harakuta maintained that the Nama committee has already lost the plot.
“In the first place musicians were not supposed to enter the NAMAs, they were supposed to be nominated by the public. Secondly, most of the previous winners of the NAMAs over the years have not made any progress in terms of breaking into the industry at a global stage. That says a lot about the NAMAs as a celebrity night out rather than a music award showpiece,” Menrose said.
His stance was corroborated by veteran singer and poet Christi Warner.
“I wish the awards weren’t just a money-making scheme but was out to award hardworking artists and in that process build the industry. They do get it right sometimes, awarding artist that really deserve it, but most of the time ego gets in the way,” said the UK-based songstress.
On her part, NAMA Executive Chairperson Umbi Karuaihe-Upi welcomed the views of the various artists who expressed their dissatisfaction with regards to the assumed bungle.
She explained that while the NAMA rules generally state that all albums entered into the NAMAs 2018 should have been released between 1st December 2016 and 31st November 2017, as it pertains to the Best Music Video category, the rules do not specify or prohibit that a music video must be released at the same time as the song itself.
“In this particular case, the artist in question released the two music videos within the qualifying period, with one video having been released on the 28th July 2017 and the other on the 4th August 2018, which is well within the qualifying release period of 1st December 2017 to 31st November 2018, and that is why the music video was properly vetted and qualified by the vetting committee,” Karuaihe-Upi maintained.
She reiterated that the vetting committee has never in the past eight years of the NAMAs existence disqualified a music video that was released within the qualifying period simply because that music video is of a song or album previously entered into the NAMAs.
“We have maintained this consistency within our own rules because we are aware that most artists would not release a music video at the same time when they release the song for various reasons. The vetting committee was therefore spot on in applying the rules to the core and I wish to commend them for that,” she said.
In order for them to retain their consistency – of never allowing any artist to enter two entries into one category, a consensus was reached between the NAMAs and Gazza to keep “Up Up Away” in the nominated category with ‘Abangani Bako’, making way for Sally Boss Madam’s “What you Say.”
Sally’s husband and manager, Bosley ‘K-Boz’ Keya refused to get caught in the debate.
“I’m just glad her (Sally’s) video was given a spot. I cannot say much about the saga. Gazza and Sally are cool with each other and for them it’s all about doing it for the industry,” he said.
Gazza, who is currently in Europe on business, could not be reached for comment.