The country representative of the Liberian Music Award (LMA), Joseph Junior Teah, has said that his organization is appealing to the American Embassy in Monrovia to reconsider its decision regarding artists that were recently denied visas to attend the awards ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, later this month.
Considering that this year’s LMA is directly for the benefit of Liberian artists, he said, this appeal bears a huge significance to his organization. Some of the benefits artists will recieve include training, networking and the priceless exposure concerning the professional standards across the music industry. There is also the opportunity to meet some big names, such as James Elbert Philips, among others. But all of which the artists stand to lose if the U.S. Embassy cannot reconsider its decision not to grant the artists visas.
Only recently, more than 18 Liberian artists were denied visas by the consular section of the Embassy in Monrovia. However, the Embassy has yet to comment on the issue.
Mr. Teah said that, “We remain optimistic that our appeal will be given consideration.”
He disclosed that what LMA is trying to do is to present to the world the excellent talents of Liberian artists, creating opportunity for international integration and recognition.
He also said that some of the artists that were denied visas have already purchased their air tickets and that it has been stipulated in their invitation that they will return to Liberia after a one-month period.
“We want the consular section of the U.S. Embassy to give these artists the opportunity to improve their careers, and we can assure the Embassy that they will return shortly after the program.”
Meanwhile, Steve Tequah, a music producer, has said that by allowing the artists to attend this year’s program will help improve their artistic ability, enhancing the growth of the industry.
He stated that it is not just an opportunity for the artists but is also a privilege, as they will have the advantage of being mentored by professionals in the industry.
“Should the U.S. Embassy insist on not granting visas to the artists, it will become a huge setback in improving the Liberian music industry,” he said. “The artists will lose the achievements they should have gotten from meeting experienced producers, engineers and promoters,” he added.