MLMA Pulls off Star-studded Event

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Amid Covid Restrictions

By Robert Serge Saint-Pé

The 2020 MTN Liberia Music Awards (MLMA) on Saturday, November 14th, produced a lot of new winners, performances, occurrences and had a huge controversy. The award ceremony looked a bit different from previous years, primarily due to the COVID-19 preventive measures.

The organizers had a restricted amount of attendees in order to follow preventive health procedures. Attendants were required to wear nose masks, observe sanitizing methods and had their temperatures taken before entering the venue. The Ministerial Complex hosted the MLMA for the second year in a row and, even with a necessarily low attendance, still featured buzzworthy performances from artists, such as Boifaty, who brought the party on stage, which followed a zombie choreography by Trillie’s dancers, a tribute performance of Quincy B’s Mr. All The Time by Jzyno, and later a dramatic performance by Kpanto, who took off his trousers on stage while performing his hit song “Take Off Trouser”.

The list of performing artists also featured gospel sensational musician Paul Harding, CO.Z the Kamikaze rapper, Stunna, Faithvonic of Africa, TeddyRide, ‘The Boy To Love To’, Eric Geso ‘The Stage Killer’, and had a classical ending of performances by Lucky Bucky and MightyBlow.

The star-studded ceremony was themed “Next Level” and was hosted by Rickslyn Myers for the third consecutive time, co-hosted by Cypha D’King, while the red carpet was represented by Alpha X’Mas Bah. The ceremony also had big names in the building such as LMA founder, Boakai Boley; Lonestar Cell MTN C.M.O, Yaw Agyapong; entertainer and political aspirant DJ Blue; Barkue Tubman-Zawolo, an entrepreneur and entertainment executive turned international consultant; along with former Minister of Information and Tourism, now Commissioner of Liberia Maritime Authority, Eugene Nagbe and his wife, who both presented the award to J. Slught for album (EP) of the year, Home & Beyond.

The award ceremony also included C.E.O of Royal Grand Hotel, Helen Eid Hariz who, alongside Grace Weah (alias Master Queen), awarded Kpanto with Hip-Co/Trap-Co Artiste of the year.

For the categories, TeddyRide led with nine nominations, while Eric Geso and J.Slught were tied on six nominations. Jyzno made history at the MLMA by being a new comer with five nominations, a dream come true for most new artistes, while MC Caro set a record for being the first female to be nominated for artiste of the year. In addition to the historical event, Spesh D DJ won Deejay of the year for the second time in a row, while Nuchie Meek won his first MLMA.

The 2020 MLMA nomination panel was headed by renowned broadcast executive Chris Wolo amongst others, who judged 22 categories. These individuals were said by MTN’s communication director to have compiled the nominees recommended by deejays, producers, promoters, and other key industry stakeholders. The categories of producer and video director of the year were decided by board members, while additional 18 categories were based on online and SMS votes (40%), and nominations board (60%). Each of the board members votes were counted as 10% out of 60%.

Even with all of the voting methods and procedures put in place, the videographer of the year received major criticism. The majority of the fans believe that a Ghanaian videographer should not have been added to the nominees, let alone win the award. Brian Ohene directed videos such as “Baby” by C.I.C featuring L.Drez and “Oh Wow” by Eric Geso, which were both nominated for videos of the year. The next day Jackie Russ, who was the favorite to win the award, posted a congratulatory note on his social media accounts to Brian Ohene and J.Slught for respectively winning videographer of the year and album of the year. Jackie Russ of Massive Media is also a versatile artiste who was nominated for the album of the year with his 22 songs project, Magic SZN.

The event showed that there is love amongst Liberian entertainers as Faithvonic embraced MC Caro after the latter was announced as the female artiste of the year. TeddyRide also had an emotional award dedication to his mother after winning Afro Pop Artiste of the year with his single, ‘Pray for Me’, which he claimed was written as a tribute to his mother’s care and support.

Afodoe, Kpando’s producer, gave a motivational speech about upcoming artists sticking up with their managements and not following just anyone for the sake of money. He claimed that Kpanto’s success would not have been the same if the “Fluckor” artiste had left him for a bigger management team.

The ceremony also awarded former CEO of Lib Records and President of Liberia Music Union, Sammy Gbogay, with the Life Time Achievement Award for his contribution towards Liberian music since the end of the civil war.

Refreshments of the event were catered by Liberian restaurant, Ma Ju’s & Burger Spot along with services provided by Royal Hotel’s restaurant.

Below is the full list of winners at the 2020 MLMA:

– International Artiste of The Year

*. Burna Boy (Nigeria)

Shatta Wale (Ghana)

Joeboy (Nigeria)

Fireboy DML (Nigeria)

Davido (Nigeria)

– Hip Co Trap Co Song of The Year

Ur Mouth – Angel Michael Ft. Barsee Mokopala Kiloda

*Don’t Ask Me – MC Caro

I Eat Your Jue – Kpanto

Hip Co / Trap Co – Barsee Mokopala Kiloda Ft. JB

Ali Bomaye – Nuchie Meek

– Afro Pop Song of The Year

Chocolate – Nuchie Meek Ft. C.I.C

*Kpan Kpan Me – Jzyno Ft. TeddyRide

Can’t Get Enough – C-Jay

I Do – J. Slught

Engine Oil – Stunna Ft. Barsee Mokopala Kiloda

– Reggae /Dancehall Artiste of The Year

*Baka Ex

Beenieking BS2

Black-1 Black Diamond

AK Feeling Man

Nasseman

– Hip Hop Artiste of The Year

*CO.Z

Scientific 

Foreign Ward

Tito Gee

Owezzy

– Producer of The Year

*Kellz Beat

J. Slught

Flexx Beatz

Stone Luck Shine

Duke Blac

Afodoe

Smykid

Lil Jay

– Gospel Artiste of the year

Sayon Mayson

David Mell

Jesse Pratt

*Princess Snowe Yancy

Bewill Smith

– Traditional / Gbema Artiste of The Year

*Eric Geso

Kzee Bigname

Mz Menneh

Fullest 4

– Afro Pop Artiste of The Year

Eric Geso

*TeddyRide

Stunna

J Slught

C. Jay

– Video Director of The Year

*Brian Ohene

Lolly Ox

Jackie Russ

Kenzo

– DJ of The Year

*Spesh D DJ

DJ Nelly

DJ Jamz

DJ Mo

DJ Shine D Beast

– Album of The Year

*Home & Beyond – J Slught

Love Letters & Heartbreak – Stunna

Kra Kay 1 – Barsee Mocopala Kiloda

Esco Vibes – Nuchie Meek

Magic SZN – Jackie Russ

– Hip Co & Trap Co Artiste

Nuchie Meek

MC Caro

Barsee Mokopala Kiloda

*Kpanto

LIB Foreign

JB D General

– Song of The Year

*Zombie – Trille ft. DenG

Pray For Me – TeddyRide ft. DJ Blue

Kpan Kpan Me – Jzyno ft. TeddyRide

Take off Trouser – Kpanto 

Oh Wow – Eric Geso

Thank You (Merci Beaucoup) – Boifatty

– Video of The Year

*Chocolate by Nuchie Meek Ft. C.I.C

Can’t Get Enough – C. Jay

Baby – CIC ft. L. Drez

Oh Wow – Eric Geso

Medicine – Bucky Raw

– Male Artiste of The Year

TeddyRide

Boifatty

*Kpanto

Eric Geso

J Slught

– Female Artiste of the Year

*MC Caro

Faithvonic

Pillz

Mai Myers

Da Vero

Raquel Hage

– New Artiste of The Year

*Trillie

Jzyno

Lavien

Star-Paf

CY

Raquel Hage

– Collaboration of The Year

Chocolate – Nuchie Meek ft. CIC

Kpan Kpan Me – Jzyno ft. TeddyRide

*Zombie – Trille ft. DenG

Pray For Me – TeddyRide ft. DJ Blue

DuDu – MC Caro Ft. Christoph

– Outstanding Achievement Award

Tamba Hali

– Life Time Achievement Awards

 Sammy Gbogay

Former CEO of Lib Records and President of Liberia Music Union

– Artiste of The Year

*Eric Geso

MC Caro

TeddyRide

Kpanto

Boifatty J Slught

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