Wow! Over 2,100 entries reviewed for 2014 All Africa Music Awards

Grading music songs during the adjudication process, Lagos, Nigeria

Grading music songs during the adjudication process, Lagos, Nigeria

Following an overwhelming flood of entries in the past two months, the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) has closed submission of entries for its maiden on July 19, 2014 recording an impressive  total over 2,100 (two thousand and one hundred) entries received at the close of the submission.

Of the entries received on the AFRIMA website and Facebook page, 38 were from music and entertainment journalists, others were from artistes, songwriters, video directors, music producers and record companies across the continent and in the diaspora whose works were produced in the year under review, May 31, 2013 to July 05, 2014.

The call for entry was initially opened on May 15 and billed to close on July 5. However, the International Committee of AFRIMA extended the closing date to July 19 to accommodate the deluge of more entries from interested participants across the continent and also to give an equal chance to many who felt disenfranchised due to lack of Internet access. The entry finally closed at 24.00 hrs CAT on July 21.

A 11-person jury panel, who have been carefully selected to represent the five (5) regions of Africa and the African Diaspora, screened the submitted works. The jury members who are part of the AFRIMA Academy of Voters arrived in Lagos on July 31, 2014 for the week-long adjudication process in the presence of an international auditing firm.

Prominent and seasoned music professionals like Rab Bakari (U.S.A. - representing Diaspora - North America); Oscar Kidjo (Benin - representing Western Africa); Rita Ray (U.K. representing Diaspora - Europe); Kawesa Richard (Uganda: representing Eastern Africa); Delani Makhalima (Zimbabwe - representing Southern Africa); Christian Syrén (South Africa - representing Southern Africa);  Laolu 'Akins' Akintobi (Nigeria - representing Western Africa); Kiki Touré (Equatorial Guinea - representing Central Africa); Robert Ekukole (Cameroon - representing Central Africa); Tabu Osasa (Kenya - representing Eastern Africa) and Angela Martins (South Africa - representing the African Union) with Mike Strano (Kenya - Jury Panel Co-Executive Producer) are part of the jury. A nomination list will be released to the public on a later date to vote for a winner in each of the 31 categories of the award.

The 11-person jury panel who are part of the AFRIMA  Academy  comprising of 527 members are grouped into two layers of adjudicators spread across the five regions of Africa and Diaspora arrived in Lagos for a week-long adjudication process. The preliminary process ended on Wednesday, 06 August.

“The role of the Jury is to ensure maximum credibility, certify that entries are properly screened and positioned in their correct categories. There are all assurances that with the calibre of persons on our jury panel, nominees would be well selected and announcements made afterwards”, stated Country director, Nigeria; Mr.Kingsley James

Mike Dada (Executive Producer of the All Africa Music Awards) 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 2,100 entries received, 60 per cent 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 from 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 award ceremony, which promises to be a premium and star-studded event, will take place on Sunday, 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.