When the Headies started out in 2006, it was to recognize the outstanding efforts of Nigerian artists and their achievements; the award show paid particular attention to well established artists, gave due flowers to emerging ones, as well as celebrated veterans in the music game. Various categories under the annual award show, are well broadened to accommodate every working artist in the game.
Imagine being an artist and dedicating an entire music year to dropping classic projects and at the wrap of the year, you’re recognized for your immense contribution – at the start of The Headies, there was a rupture of excitement that cascaded through the minds of Nigerians, as well as Nigerian artists; the Headies, became our own music award show, and gave every Nigerian artist a glimpse of recognition, even if it’s just a national type of acknowledgement.
It was seven years after the establishment of The Headies award that things began to take a different route for the award show; when in 2013, the battle of the Next Rated category led to an open-fire brawl between Don Jazzy of Mavin Records and Olamide of YBNL—the altercation was a call out to the lack of transparency on how Reekado Banks emerged winner of this highly prominent category for emerging artists, as opposed to Lil Kesh, who at that time, was an already pronounced winner by the public.
This was a time when The Headies show not only lifted the curtain on the perception of how indeed votes don’t necessarily count for the award show, but pointed out directly the OG-tax. The decline in the award show kickstarted from this moment, evidently; and it appears that since 2013, whilst still recognized as one of the biggest award show/events to happen in Nigeria annually, it reeks of being a slapstick of the once authentic show we once knew.
First, it started with the evident lack of transparency and the rigged ways of the organizers of the show, to the desperate search for international validation by Nigerian artists, which has subsequently led to a sided view of The Headies award show.
One evident problem of the award show is their inability to right their wrongs; their lack of objectivity and sheer misguidance. It is their inability to size up the music market and do the obvious right—little wonder when in 2016, Tekno was nominated for the Next Rated category, he dissed out the show. For an artist who had since being in the industry, and gone past the emerging act tag, it was understandable when the artist did what he did. Or how Burna Boy wasn’t recognized aptly by The Headies until his proven international shot rise—yet, you question why the ‘afro-fusion’ artist has such disrespect and lack of regard for the event show.
The truth is, Headies will always be looked down upon, they will always have the outlook of clownery, and that’s kind of okay – it’s a Nigerian thing.
The Headies through the years, have had a proven knack for rubbish as a structure; despite people complains and clamour, the show decisively takes on acts of malady as a structure and proceed with it – like having the show for a second time, outside Nigeria.
I don’t know how anyone would justify having a national award show holding in another country; a Nigeria’s affair, holding in Atlanta, Georgia. While we understood clearly the first time’s attempt, the second one was rather unnecessary—given the extreme failure of the first. Regardless of how much effort they’ll put into polishing up The Headies affair, it might seem that another constant thing, will always be Nigerian artists’ lacklustre attitude to the show. Their constant non-appearance is as much disgust as the flaws highly evident at the show; yet, you can’t fault these musicians, still.
We’ll eventually get to the bridge where we discuss Nigerian artists and their attitude; dismissive and unappalling enthusiasm with which they receive their awards; most often, they never attend the ceremony and this speaks largely of the entire circus show.
Last night’s malady was raving, as a large proportion of the artists weren’t around to receive their plaques; from Rexxie to Wande Coal to Burna Boy, amongst a host of others; it speaks volume of Nigerian artists’ irresponsibility, the broken system as well as chaotic foundation of The Headies.
Whereas, they are most often not available for the awards show, you see their enthusiasm and grappling desperation for international award show. As a collective, it is only a clarion call that we do better, as suggestively hinted by Rema during his speech on the 3rd of September, in Atlanta, Georgia.
If one should stay highlighting the many flaws of The Headies award shoe, one might have to contend the worthiness of the show—ranging from the flop of the red carpet, to the minor technical issue they probably assumed we did not notice, to Don Jazzy’s ear aching voice over, amongst many others.
It’s all fun and game now, looking at how we make a spectacle of what should be an iconic show – while Grammys and BET are considered the iconic award shows of the Western culture, The Headies which is Nigeria’s, is treated shabbily, organized likewise, despite the humongous amount of money pumped into the show—there is the need for the show to re-strategize, ensure worthiness of the voting process and quite the OG tax; which is yet, another disgusting act—there could have been no way Wande Coal’s Kpe Paso emerged winner of Best male Vocal Performance, when Oxlade’s Ku Lo Sa and Magixx’s Love Don’t Cost A Dime sat pretty in the category.
Where is the Headies that one time, was the biggest Nigerian event; when it held so much prestige and prominence, and artists across the industry looked forward to being nominated, as well as attending? While we make do with The Headies of this current day, we utterly call Sunday night’s event a major circus show, that even the pen behind this writeup, had second hand embarrassment for.