Over the weekend, Wizkid’s name popped up in several circles after many adjudged that he had been wronged by the organisers of the 2016 BET Awards. The reason for these conversations is that the much coveted Best International Act: Africa award was given to South African DJ and producer, Black Coffee, who majors in electronic music.
The main argument here is that Wizkid has literally done more for himself, and the African continent than Black Coffee has. The singer is leading the new African exposure of Afrobeat and our different subgenres to the world, via his collaborations, and that has given the world an unprecedented hard-on for our music.
Black Coffee on his part, has not done badly for himself. A South African multi-award winning record producer and DJ. He began his career around the year 1995 and has released five albums and a live DVD under his Johannesburg-based record label, Soulistic Music. He is arguably the most prominent electronic music producer in Africa. He had his big break shortly after being chosen as a participant in the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy held in Cape Town. On the September 29, 2015, he won the “Breakthrough DJ Of The Year” award at the DJ Awards in Ibiza, a few weeks after the release of his fifth studio album, “Pieces Of Me.” This year also, he has performed at at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Ultra Music Festival.
As fans and followers of African music, this conversation is crucial, helping to give feedback to a body that owns a platform to judge the performance of our artistes. We feel the yardstick for this judgement, which eventually births a winner did not give us a good winner. In fact, for the past two years, it has malfunctioned, giving African music Stonebwoy from Ghana, and Black Coffee. The great names whgich are almost always involved in non-BET winners list such as Yemi Alade, Diamond Platnum, Sauti Sol, haven’t gotten their due. That’s why fans are livid. That’s why they talk!
But why have this conversation? Does Wizkid need the BET Awards right now? Will it add extra sheen to a career that has been glittering since he left ‘Modogg Studio’?
Wizkid does not need the BET Awards in a survivalist sense. It isn’t crucial to the success of his career, neither does it influence his vital numbers on social media, record sales, lump sum payments, royalties, fees, others. The award has no bearing on them. What the BET means for Wizkid is that it simply adds another gong in his collection, and would make for great stories to share with his progeny. It would also form a good part of his recollection, when his time is done at the top, and he takes a bow from music.
Other than that, and he doesn’t ‘really’ need it. Wizkid is working on releasing his third studio album, and work is in overdrive for the project to drop this year. That’s where the focus is right now. BET awards are cool, but personal honors driven by planning, strategic work, and ruthless execution are still the way to go for him.