The Liberian Music Awards results were announced last weekend and, what can we say is that each award winner deserves his/her award for the hard and dedicated work that has been put into their respective crafts.
Yes, Liberians have been following developments and interesting insights throughout the months leading to the award ceremony that was held on June 14, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. With expectations of either winning, seeing their favorite star win, or just casting in their votes as supporters, there was an unprecedented vibe of unification among the Liberian communities that was delightful to see.
“I love the LMA because it brought artist together from Liberia TO the US” stated entertainer/promoter and award winner Super Cute Talee.
Talee, who showed her support by keeping every Liberian Facebooker connected with happenings during the award ceremony, had this to say about the award give away.
“Everyone asking me about LMA, here it's goes. I ENJOYED LMA because the performances were great! My favorite was David Mel, Saga AP, Pitty d Best, Benny Vee, JD DONZO, MUNNAH and more.
Additionally, artist such as D12, Tan Tan, Shadow, Pitty D Best, Benevee, Bernice Blackie, David Mel and Killa Lu were amongst those that performed live and also had the opportunity to showcase their talents on stage at the USA event.
According to Talee, who focuses on the growth of the Liberian entertainment industry, most nominees deserved their award.
“I also believe some should and shouldn't have been nominated,” she maintained.
Furthermore, most artists such as Pitty D Best, JD Donzo and a few others have never had the chance to perform in the Unites States of America, let alone receive awards for their work, some of which have defined the Liberian music industry.
“No award show has made that much effort in my opinion to get visas for artist from Liberia to the USA like Kaifa (the CEO of LMA) has, it shows us that Liberia has talent. So artists from Liberia, use your time wisely, explore and make moves,” Talee advised.
Amongst many to have won awards, notably, Liberian based artists walked away with all of the awards leaving the US-based artists in a stupor; some annoyed and disappointed.
“A fixed award show is not an award show; all it has done is [fuelled] separation," says Munnah Nagbe, commonly known as LIB Princess, who has won multiple music and entertainment awards from other similar events held in the U.S. "This show was [intended] for togetherness, uplifting the country and our entertainment industry, but once again I'm heartbroken to see the end result of this award is what we go through day to day as Liberians. Not one Liberian artist from the US won an award tonight, and I'm still yet shocked about what happened. Shout out to everyone that came and supported the artists. From today on I still lift my country's flag, but I lift on my path and not on the path of those others who don’t have the vision of unity,” she said.
But in difference to Munnah’s comment made on Facebook, Putugah Takpaw Phenom, another entertainer who has also been following the awards carefully, posted this comment to ease any tension that might be in the air: “Liberian artists: Despite the sentiments expressed from those who attended the LMA, please let's not create a wedge between Liberian artists at home, and Liberian artists in the Diasporas. From what I observed, there are areas that can be improved, and that’s expected given the challenges of this task alone, because it’s hard to please everyone. Furthermore, Liberians are still working on being united as ones and there are so many emotions. I hold your foot; let’s do this in a better way. Let’s work together to empower the Liberian Music Awards so that next year, it is bigger and better and free of the concerns many have this year.”
Bai Best, marketing manager of Daily Observer newspaper and executive editor of LIB Life, the paper's entertainment section, agrees. "What needs to be considered is the fact that the brain behind LMA, media mogul Kaifa KY Yamah has done something that nobody has done before on such a scale for Liberian artists in over two decades or more. When local firms in Liberia roll out the red carpet for foreign artists and pay home based artists pittance for the same show, it becomes highly commendable what has happened here. The recognition of home-grown Liberian talent [by a Liberian promoter] has leveled the playing field with their Diasporan counterparts, knowing the challenges that Liberia-based artists have struggled through over the past 25 years, in terms of access to management and technical (production) support, as well as commercial opportunities that are supposed to help them thrive.
“Nothing is perfect," Best continued, "I personally would have liked to see more traditional dialect artists featured, and I know we’ll get there. Nevertheless, this is a major step toward unifying Liberian Music by bringing together artists from all points of the globe and saying: 'Together, let’s tell the world the true story about Liberia through its music.' Those who did not win should be happy for those who did and I’m sure they are. Let's continue to stand firm in this mindset."
According to Mr. Kaifa "KY" Yamah, who stated previously during a Facebook interview while highlighting the eligibility procedure for the LMA, “We asked all artists to register to be considered for nomination. If you refused to do so, you will not be eligible for this year's (2014) nomination. This is an international Liberian Music Awards, not a Monrovia music awards. So we looked at artists around the world that we hear, even the ones you may not hear in Liberia. We also reached out to people in Monrovia to help us, but some refused to respond,” he added.
Meanwhile, KY noted some very interesting key points as to why many Liberians were not fortunate to travel overseas to attend the ceremony, a question that has been asked by many artists.
“We did not have sponsors that would take on all the artists from Liberia to the USA, except for nominees. For example the gospel artist Bernice Blackie has been doing very well the last year right? Tell me how many nominations she got to show. If you look on the nomination list, there are more artists in LIB than anywhere in all the categories. Now tell me: if any artist feels otherwise, they should work harder for next year,” he stated.
Despite the common issues during the show, artists were called on stage to receive their awards, and though many were not there to receive theirs such as Takun J and Marvelous C, they reached out on social sites to extend their appreciation.
“ I Won Hip Co Artist of the Year and Male Artist of the Year at last night's LMA. And Pot Boiling Remix won Collaboration of the Year and Song of the Year. Much love to everyone who voted, supported, and worked hard at this. Big ups to all the other nominees and winners.” Takun J Facebooked.
Everyone who won an award was said to have been very ecstatic at the exciting announcements. It has been mentioned on blogs that the highlight was the winning of “Pot boiling remix”, which everyone seemed to love.
Better luck next time to all of those who patiently await their turn as Liberia’s next awarded winners.
Meanwhile, the LMA has embarked on a 10-state concert tour around the U.S. with artists who were booked to perform at the Awards, including those from Liberia.
Winners of LMA
Artist of the Year – Scientific
Video of the Year – Tricky Papaye – Shadow
Song of the Year – Pot Boiling Remix – Xpolay Feat. Liberian AllStars (Romeo Lead, JD Donzo, Takun J, BentmanTha Don, and Luckay Buckay)
Group of the Year – Soul Fresh
Collaboration of the Year – Pot Boiling Remix – Xpolay feat. Liberian All Stars (Romeo Lead, JD Donzo, Takun J, BentmanTha Don, and Luckay Buckay)
Video Director of the Year – FayaBonah (5YA)
Producer of the Year – Samuel Morgan (Shadow)
DJ of the Year – DJ Chicago
Gospel Video of the Year – Una Do It Again – Bernice Blackie
Video of the Year – USA – Number One – Jodi Feat. Bracket
Video of the Year – Africa – Tricky Papaye – Shadow
Video of the Year UK/Europe – Azonto& Wine Master – Eben
Male Artist of the Year – Takun J
Female Artist of the Year – Snoti
Artist of the Year – Africa – Scientific – Ghana
Artist of the Year – USA – Jodi
Artist of the Year – UK/Europe – Dahai
Traditional Artist of the Year – Marvalous MC
Gbema Artist of the Year – K-Zee
Hipco Rapper of the Year – Killer Lu
Hipco Artist of the Year – Takun J
Afro Pop Artist of the Year – Pitty D'Best
Afro Dance Song of the Year – Desperate Chicks – Royal De Busta Pain
Reggae Artist of the Year – Nasseman
New Artist of the Year – Shadow
Gospel Artist/Group of the Year – Bernice Blackie
R&B Artist of the Year – David Mell
Hip Hop Artist of the Year – Scientific