A number of music industry players are voicing their reservations and misgivings regarding a proposed collaboration between the American Grammy Awards and the Nigerian government.
Rumours now circulating state that the minister of art, culture, and creative economy, Hannatu Musawa, is representing the Nigerian government with plans to create an African Grammy Awards.
Players in the business are concerned that the effort, which intends to create an award ceremony only for African music, may compromise the genre’s hard-won advancement and distinctive cultural character.
Reportedly, Musawa is on the verge of finalising a deal with the American Grammy Awards to use its platform for the proposed African Grammy Awards, with Nigeria slated to host the inaugural edition.
However, many industry insiders, including Segun Ogunjimi, CEO of Trending Musik, are cautioning against this move, citing the potential risks it poses to the African music industry’s autonomy and growth trajectory.
Ogunjimi highlighted the remarkable strides made by Nigeria’s music industry players, which has achieved global recognition and acceptance without significant government support and foreign back-up.
He further expressed apprehension that the proposed partnership with the Grammy Awards could undermine the industry’s progress over the past two decades.
Moreover, stakeholders are concerned that the proposed African Grammy Awards could overshadow existing continental music awards and platforms. Ogunjimi stressed the need to maintain and promote African music on its own terms, rather than adopting foreign models that may not align with the continent’s cultural heritage and artistic direction.
“This is a clear case of misplaced priorities. It’s shocking how the minister could endorse the adoption of an award by an entity that doesn’t understand our culture and heritage. It reeks of neo-colonialism, and many of us in the industry see it as a perpetuation of a culture of waste that could harm our economy.
“Why bring in an American entity when we have well-established music award institutions that have tirelessly celebrated and honoured our music icons in an authentic African manner, gaining global acceptance in the process? Instead of supporting homegrown initiatives like the Headies, All African Music Awards, AFRIMA, Soundcity MVP Awards, and Trace Awards, among others, the minister has opted to prioritise foreign involvement. This is unacceptable and should be condemned by all those who love this country and the burgeoning creative industry.
“There is a movement within the music industry to reject this vexatious initiative by Musawa and we are calling on President Tinubu to prevail on the minister to bury this idea forthwith,” he said.