TV guide: Mamas matter

2010-12-03 07:43

The MTV Africa Music Awards in Nigeria – a look at what MTV Base has in store for viewers.

There has been a lot of ­controversy around the Mamas. They have often been criticised for using one measuring stick to reward very different genres of music. What are your thoughts on this?

At the end of the day it’s about music and good music is recognisable no matter where you come from. Whether you are from America or Nigeria, if reggae music sounds good to you then that makes it globally identifiable.

The Mamas are about rewarding artists from Africa for good music. The awards are not about cultural diversity and it’s not an arts festival... it’s about the youth culture of Africa that identifies with good music from the continent.

Why should people care about the ­Mamas?

With one billion viewers across the globe, this is an incredible opportunity for ­people – both artists and viewers – to be exposed to good music. The artists reach a wider audience and this gives them the opportunity to perform around the continent.

Why take the Mamas back to ­Nigeria? They have been held there once ­before.

Frankly, our sponsors ­Zain and Airtel have huge markets in Nigeria. Since we’ve already been to ­Abuja in 2008, we had to take it to the ­capital, ­Lagos. As important as Nigeria is to MTV Base, we will bring the awards to South ­Africa. The country is able to host a show like this.

What defines a great music ­video?

They are music videos that ­capture the artist and the audience. They must be of good quality and resonate with viewers. Often artists get it wrong thinking that big budgets mean better videos but some of the best videos involve the ­artist and the ­cameraman. The layman can judge whether a good ­effort was made.

Why is it ­impor­tant for viewers to vote?

The viewers ­dictate the Mamas and they will always choose the winners. Viewers should vote because they set the standard of a good quality video and they have the power to decide that ­standard. The viewers have various platforms to express their opinion.

Why are these awards important for the music industry in Africa?

The Mamas are a breakdown of ­borders collectively. With these kinds of awards we stand a better chance of uplifting Africa and breaking down the stereotypes formed by the West. It affords artists the opportunity to work together so that people are not only proudly South African or proudly Nigerian, but proudly ­Africa. The Mamas help with creating an identity of “I know myself, I know my artists and I know my continent.”

» The Mamas take place in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday. They will be aired on December 18 on MTV Base.

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