The bashing of Charter House and their allies would continue be a nonstop exercise for some of us until certain things are done the right way.
I would say, severally and boldly that Charter House does not and has never helped any Ghanaian act except for their (before and after) congregation of plaques which rather strategically exhumes a hefty chunk of funds from the hard-earned pockets of the Ghanaian music community.
Everybody saw how Episode got treated on the Nominees’ Jam last night in Tamale at the concert in the Sports Stadium. Complete disrespect to artistes and artiste managers – all because Charter House has assumed a position in Ghana Music Industry that befits the ironic Mugabe of politics.
Charter House is a ‘legal’ and ‘revered’ institution in the eyes of many but ironically, the institution itself has NOT done same in return for the people that matter – thus, the dwindling interest in this organization is evident in the eyes of many. They have positioned themselves in a way that they can stifle any artiste all in the name of “promoting them”. Promoting them my foot! Where were they all year round before the artistes themselves kept their hustle on paying payola etc for their own promo to get gigs because we don’t have a digitalized system to satiate the royalties of musicians/labels? An award scheme which does not have any monitoring mechanism to check the release seasons or calendars of music material but jump out to pick content and put them in certain categories without getting the right industry players in respective genres having a part to play in it directly. Their autonomous exuberance in our industry has automatically placed musicians in a way that even if they are not well treated, they can hardly say a word or nothing – pathetic!
When I saw that category “Unsung Artiste of the Year” I knew it was ANOTHER JOKE they are putting up to juggle the thoughts of many or appease the criticisms that has come with the “New Artiste of the Year” category which raised a lot of concerns. What is the difference between “New Artiste of the Year” and that “Unsung” whatever? Funny gambling I call it!!!
I wonder which ‘registered’ and ‘credible’ institution would organize a big event like that with a completely rugged schedule for artistes, managers etc. How can you give Episode a single air ticket to go perform in Tamale? Does it mean the artiste runs his music on his own? Does it mean the artiste can’t fly with his Manager to get things coordinated for him? No air ticket or schedule for his jock? Channel O or BET or Grammy or IRAWMA or MOBO will never do this. We have Charter House scheduling gigs for artistes outside town and nobody was there to give detailed info to artistes and managers about their itinerary; and bark at artistes to find their own way there (whether dead or alive) to come ‘PLAY THEIR SHOW’ all because they say ‘THEY ARE HELPING PROMOTING THE ARTISTES’. Another jest I say! Rocky Dawuni has never been a great fan of Charter House/VGMA whatever but he is the biggest solo artiste outside Ghana on the international stage with an enviable career.
So all musicians and their Management have to awaken themselves and know that Charter House is NEVER the ‘god of the game’. You see, Charter House has taken many artistes and their managers cum other industry players for granted for a long time and this is the time we have to stamp them out (even if it would take a millennium to kick them out and have a better system in place to do it let’s do it than allow these charlatans to be playing occupational puppetry with Ghanaian talents.
MUSIGA (Musicians Union of Ghana) which should even stand in for artistes in such cases are just toothless dogs – look at how Episode was handled on the VGMA Nominees Jam last night as if Episode was ‘begging’ for their stage. The MUSIGA President, Bice Osei Kuffuor (Obour) with information privy to me was aware of the ‘Episode saga’ right from Accra even before the artiste got to the airport and for our honourable President to ‘sit back’ and watch these things happen to the musicians that matter to the office he is voted for I think is very sad. If he can step forward and question or check these things it would do some of us a lot of appreciation. It’s because of the lackadaisical response of MUSIGA heads to issues like this that is why artistes like R2Bees would always say they cannot belong to MUSIGA – in cases like this people would better understand the stance of Paedae and Mugeez on that decision. If MUSIGA were to put the necessary mechanisms in place to culminate the problems faced by musicians and labels etc, I am not sure by now any musician or label would even fancy Charter House owing to how they are running the award system. An award scheme that only pays attention to an artiste in the subsequent year when they bark at them – they did same to Kwaw Kese, Blakk Rasta, R2Bees, Zaphnath Paneah etc and they came out to bash them so the subsequent year they come to ‘idolize’ them with a decoration of multiple awards.
Episode is far bigger than VGMA and any other Ghanaian act as well is far bigger than VGMA because if all Ghanaian acts truly turn their back to Charter House then you would see how powerful our musicians and managers can be – but the sad thing about it too is that, some of our artistes and managers are ‘okay’ with this frail Charter House organization who keeps exploiting the industry and enriching themselves. Most of the people who claim they are industry players sit back (and are allegedly ‘in bed’ with the organizers of Ghana Music Awards) so they can’t say much. We have heard alleged cases of some of such people taking ‘offers’ from Charter House so the mediocrity in the industry can continue. The few voices that point out the very ills of this system are branded as unruly heads or noise-makers. Well, if some of us would be branded as empty barrels we are okay to be regarded as such. “Empty barrels may be making the most noise but the filled barrels too could be holding filth in there.” I am okat to be the solo vuvuzela who will singularly keep blowing these short-falls without fear, malice or favour to anybody.
Shatta Wale came out with his ‘strategic onslaught’ and hit hard on Charter House last year, 2013, but many people didn’t understand why the ‘other side’ of his actions – there is no smoke without a fire. The likes of Edem who has severally criticized these ulcerated system (we know0 have been sidelined that is why when these whatever VGMA nominations come each since he shot into mainstream they try to pitch him ‘somewhere’.
Picking a step back to the Episode saga, many who watched the show thought Nii Ayi Tagoe ‘messed up’ Episode’s performance – I would not necessarily acquiesce blames to Nii Ayi Tagoe or Episode or his Manager (Theophilus Commey). My blast will go to Charter House or Black Boy or the person who was responsible for coordinating the performances for the show.
Did they inform the artistes performing that they had JUST 5 MINUTES to perform? At which hour did that information reach the artistes, their managers or their DJs? How come they refused to fly or allow the specific DJs for the various artistes to also join the flights – and the likes of Castro, Bisa Kdei, AK Songstress etc would have to be ‘begging’ Nii Ayi Tagoe to play their songs for performance? Or maybe the Vodafone sponsorship in cash cum the budget did not cover these ‘extra heads’ who were supposed to be part of the artiste’s/artistes’ team? If they had provided or booked Episode from day 1 all the requirements his Manager had requested for I am not sure that ‘ugly treatment’ given Episode would have happened last night – because if he came with his own Dj, they would have known their planned or structured itinerary but because Nii Ayi Tagoe who also added that he “was not booked to play for any artistes on the show” would have been avoided. It is obvious somebody or some people have pocketed some monies allegedly and halved the payments or bookings of artistes, like we know they always do already. Charter House has become so autonomous that artiste who ‘refuse’ to play “FREE Shows” for them are always sidelined or treated as if they are used tissue paper used to wipe excess lipstick? There’s more on my mind I would write, in my subsequent notes.
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