The International Committee of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA unveiled members of the jury to the media on Tuesday in an interactive event held at Ibis Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
Despite the heavy downpour, media personalities and major stakeholders in the industry thronged the Ibis Hotels, Ikeja to be part of the continental movement in African Music industry.
The 13-person jury panel who are part of the AFRIMA Academy comprising of 527 members grouped into two layers of adjudicators spread across the five regions of Africa and Diaspora arrived in Lagos,Nigeria on Thursday, July 31 for a week-long adjudication process.
The highly experienced and professional jury members who are from the following countries – Kenya, Benin Republic, Uganda, Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, UK and USA are Tabu Osusa, Oscar Kidjo, Richard Kawesa, Christian Syren, Delani Makhalima, Laolu Akins Akintobi, Robert Ekukole, Kiki Toure, Rab Bakari Rita Ray and Angela Martins representing African Union.
Also present at the event were members of the International Committee which include the Executive Producer of AFRIMA, Mike Dada; Co-executive Producer and Regional Director, Eastern Africa, Mike Strano, Director, Communications and Brand Sponsorship, Matlou Tsotetsi; Chairman International Media Committee, Steve Ayorinde and Country Director (Nigeria) and Co-Producer Kingsley James.
Speaking at the event, the executive producer, Mike Dada reiterated the core values of the All Africa Music Award which are Fairness, Authenticity, Creativity, Excellence, Integrity and Transparency. “In line with our integrity and transparency values, we are trying to ensure that
The adjudication process, pre-selection process, the auditing phase, the nomination process and the eventual voting process are all transparent.”
He continued, “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. We’ve seen many awards where the people and followers of music in Africa have questioned the integrity and transparency of these awards. As such, we deliberated and did a lot of research and finally had a model which is the 13-person jury panel and 527 members of the Academy.”
“I have been dreaming of such process and initiatives for a while, This is the platform to let the whole world know that Africa is not all about hunger, war and diseases. It is a platform to show the whole world that we have something. This is a first time where professionals in the music industry in Africa will come together to lift up to the vision of Africa.” enthused Oscar Kidjo.
Describing the adjudication process, Oscar Kidjo said, “No music is bad music. Africa has great talents but the problem is with quality of video production. Of the 2,025 entries received, 60% had good quality videos. This shows the quality of music we have in Africa.”
Rita Ray added: “This is a totally new award and to get over two thousand entries is quite a feat. With such influx from music and creativity all over the world, there is bound to be mediocrity and sub-standards. We have to sort through the entries to get what we want. But within these, we still found talents who stood out, who made good creative sounds. The watchword in AFRIMA is excellence and that is what we look out for.”
For Delani Makhalima form Zimbabwe, AFRIMA goes beyond a musical award. He believes that it is a platform to unite Africans through music.
In partnership with African Union, AFRIMA is a combined effort by music professionals across the continent aimed at celebrating the rich musical heritage of the African continent and encouraging the growth of talented artistes in the Diaspora.
The call for entry was opened on May 15, and initially billed to close on July 21. For the first time we recorded a high number of 2,025 entries from all parts of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. Entries were from music producers, record companies, video directors, songwriters, artistes, and entertainment journalists. Of the 2,025 entries, received 38 entries were from entertainment journalists.
The award ceremony, which promises to be a premium and star-studded event, will take place on November 9. It will be broadcast to 84 countries on 109 television stations. This will be preceded by the AFRIMA Village, a four-day event of music festival featuring art exhibitions and music concerts between November 4 and 7. There will also be an Africa Music Summit (November 6-7) themed “Reviving the Business of Music in Africa”. The two-day conference will be a platform for the music industry stakeholders to engage and deliberate on how the industry can be nurtured and be a major contributor to national and continental economies.