Music Business

5 Years Later and BET Continues to Snub African Artists at the BET Awards #BETAwards2015

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StonebwoyBETAwards2015In 2010, BET launched the BET Awards ‘Best International Act Africa’  category. The African artist nominees footed their own bills and flew over 6,000 miles from the continent to attend the BET Awards. Nevertheless, they received their awards backstage. What was interesting was that fans on the African continent stayed up to watch their stars on the BET stage but never saw that happened.

After much public outcry with yours truly of course sometimes leading the discussion and criticism via Fashionentlaw.com and later Africamusiclaw.com, BET graduated from backstage to having our artists receive their awards on stage in front of an empty room.

My archived discussions on this:

1. Music Business: Lilian Blankson, BET Awards Best International Act Africa Nominations – What is the Way Forward?

2. @BET Steps Up the Respect Factor for African Artists: Tiwa Savage, Ice Prince, Mafikizolo to Perform at BET’s L.A. LIVE Experience Presented by Coca-Cola.

3. BET Hip-hop Cypher: BET Networks Disses the Africans, Again . . . Now What?

4. 2011 BET Awards Disses African Nominees – Time for Africa Music Awards USA?

This year, I honestly believed things would be different and while I didn’t make it to the event, I was definitely hoping I would hear great stories. Instead, it is the same story five years later.

The nominees for the aforementioned category, for this year, were Stonebwoy (Ghana), Sarkodie (Ghana), Wizkid (Nigeria), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Fally Ipupa (DRC), Sauti Sol (Kenya) and AKA (South Africa). The winner Stonebwoy received his award in front of an empty room, five hours prior to the event and that is about all he got.

I am unsure why BET continues this pattern and practice but it is good to see the artist themselves now refusing to show up for the awards.

FuseODG refused to show up the awards. He was nominated in the ‘Best International Act UK’ category and he is of Ghanaian heritage. 

Yemi Alade who showed up had something to say about such treatment, and Dencia who is US based also had something to say.

If Black Americans received this kind of treatment at any awards event in the USA, there would be outrage. I find it perplexing that a show intended for Black people globally and that does business and benefits from the continent of Africa continues with this trajectory. There is no excuse you can give in the world that justifies not having one of our African artists on stage/or a pre-recorded taping showing them receiving their awards, at a minimum, during the live event.

~Ms.Uduak

Fuse ODG

BET Awards Fuse ODG

Dencia

“While u were worried about my outfit?your faves were waiting to give a speech in front of empty chairs with pictures at an award show made for black people.I wish y’all will be telling BET to fix that.Two years ago i spoke about that I was called a hater..FYI awards don’t come with money & awards don’t mean anyone is better than anyone (After all I have seen amazing artists get beat by not so good artists) so while u worried about me getting an award I am worried about where I’m gonna drive my Rolls Royce wraith to but for those of you who care I think African artists should be treated equally (like the American artists) how are you bringing cultures together if u aren’t putting them together officially? If the Oscars did the same thing all I’ll hear is racism..now take ur remaining data and help ur brethren (when they show u the awards in Africa it is edited to look like it was given in front of everyone)”

Yemi Alade

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website, livestream and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through its brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Winston Balagare says:

    Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that African artists are continually disrespected by BET and virtually ignored by America. Maybe then we’ll start to realize and accept that we are not them, and they are not us.
    Skin color alone doesn’t make people the same. And, obviously, ancestry doesn’t mean much to black Americans. They’d dig up the bones of an American slave and parade them on stage before allowing a living, breathing African to occupy that space.
    The saddest part about all of this is that we Africans will only try harder to get them to notice us. Even if they do recognize African talent, it’s only because they want to exploit it.
    So, from now on, let’s stop singing and rapping in our faux American and Jamaican accents. Let’s stop sagging our pants in public. Let’s stop using the word “nigga” in our music, and let’s stop paying these foreign artists/celebs hard-earned money for collaborations and appearances that never seem to be worth the money spent.
    The next time they announce their African award nominees, those artists should just tweet, “BET Awards. LOL. What a joke.”

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