MAMA AWARDS: NIGERIA IS AFRICAN MUSIC CHAMPION
The rich musical talents of the continent were showcased at the MTV Africa Music Awards with Airtel (MAMA) held in Lagos last Saturday. It lived up to the billing as one of Africa's biggest awards ceremonies, even as Nigerian artistes reigned supreme carting away several plaques.
The event opened with an explosive performance by hip hop heavyweight Rick Ross, and closed with an unforgettable rendition of 'Win' featuring T-Pain, Rick Ross, Da LES and 2Face - a world first. In keeping with the tradition of the awards, the show featured an array of electrifying collaborations between artistes from different parts of the continent, mixing up music genres, language and cultures in an unprecedented extravaganza of African talent. Among the collaborations were Nigeria's 2Face who hooked up with South African rock outfit, The Parlotones. The performance of Banky W's Lagos Party saw South Africa's Big Nuz, Angola's Cabo Snoop and Paul G and DRC's Barbara Kanam rocking the house with the first ever truly pan-African version of the hit track.
Speaking at the ceremony, Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, MTV Networks Africa, said: 'Tonight's MTV Africa Music Awards with Airtel was a joyful and uplifting celebration of African youth culture and music. It brought together the best talent from across Africa to showcase the incredible music that Africa has to offer to the world. It is amazing to see the collaborations between the artistes as it fosters a spirit of camaraderie and creative exchange that takes their music to a new level.'
In his remarks, Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa, said: 'The diversity and talent of the performances this evening was a reflection of the vast and rich talent pool that Africa has to offer. We at Airtel are proud to partner the MTV Africa Music Awards as it is a platform for the youth and young at heart in Africa, enabling them to showcase their talent to a global audience. Music is an important way to connect with Africa as we relaunch the Airtel brand on the continent. It will support Airtel's mission of giving the youth a means to express themselves and the freedom to do more.'
However, leading three other Nigerian artistes including pop duo, P-Square, female rapper Sasha, and rising star Mo Cheddah to put the country firmly on top of the awards chart was 2Face, who also sang his way to the hearts of many music lovers with a scintillating performance at the event. He won both the Artiste of the Year and Best Male trophies. P-Square further ensured Nigeria's dominance of the continental awards by emerging as Best Group of the Year.
While Sasha won the Best Female award, becoming the first Nigerian winner in the category that has been dominated by Kenyan musicians over the years, budding superstar Mo Cheddah notched up her first win in the hotly contested Brand New Artiste category.
With four prizes, Nigeria was followed by South Africa which garnered three awards, aided by the South African pop/R&B outfit, Liquideep clinching the Song of the Year award with their Fairytale hit song. The new MAMA award category, Best Performance was won by Big Nuz while the MAMA Legend trophy was taken by the late music star, Miriam Makeba.
Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Kenya also featured on the award list with sensational Congolese artiste, Fally Ipupa taking home two trophies including Best Video ('Sexy Dance') and Best Francophone Act awards. Cabo Snoop nicked Angola's first ever trophy, Best Lusophone Act while the Kenyan Gospel breakthrough artiste, Daddy Owen won the Inaugural Best thus becoming the first by any gospel artiste at the MAMA. The prestigious Best International Act was received by Eminem who accepted it via satellite from the USA.