MY MAMA O!
What’s up blog heads?
It’s been a minute, yeah? I won’t bother making excuses or anything. I blog when I’m motivated. I’m not necessarily motivated right now but considering the response from the blog on the first ThisDay Concert in 2006, I just feel I owe it to you blog heads to report on the first MTV African Music Awards with Zain. It will be broadcast November 29, 2008, apparently, across all MTV stations. This blog, however, is to report the event as it happened… well, from my POV anyway because most of the stuff that happened yesterday won’t make the telecast.
Please note that side-comments of reported happenings just happen to be my opinion, on which all are free to disagree. This, after all, is Blog Marley’s house! The blog is about what my eyes witnessed but I have to throw in my 2¢ on that, no? Alright. Enough procrastinating. Let’s get into it. (I will be talking about the winners as I can’t really remember all the nominees. Click here for details)
The Velodrome of the Abuja National Stadium, constructed for events like cycling, was our venue. It was a big circle with seating around the pit and a main stage - with extending catwalk (to the left, to the left) - was plopped at one end of it. There was about a 100m or more between the stage and media center which would be the mosh-pit/standing only area. There was also space on the other side of the catwalk for more “moshers”. The rest of us sat in the stands surrounding the “race pit” or whatever it’s called. The catwalk extended from the stage to the section of the audience where nominated artistes/celebs were sat. At the midpoint of the catwalk were the presentation podium and a big screen behind it. I believe there was a backstage entrance underneath the jumbo-tron but distance wouldn’t let me know for sure.
For those who read the ThisDay blog, I have pics this time around but might as well not because I sat in VIP which was miles away from the stage (see the pic to try and figure out where who was i.e. main stage and catwalk). So a lot of outfits (which I only do for fashion lovers – I’m not one), names and statements might be wrong due to distance and bad audio. What can I say? This is Naija!
MTV AFRICA MUSIC AWARDS (MAMA)
Doors were to open at 6pm. All guests were to be seated at 7.45pm. Show was to kick off 8pm. It “started” at 9.42pm. Here’s how it unfolded…
MTV base Africa’s premiere VJ, Sizwe came onstage in a black suit and apologized for the delay, promising the show was starting in 15 minutes. So we waited.
What the …?
I can’t remember if there was an announcement but the crowd started going ballistic as some dude walked on stage in dark shades, black suit & red waistcoat. He spoke into the mic like he was about to eat it causing some feedback which made it close to impossible to hear him. It just sounded like noise. People were laughing though, so I guess he appealed to some. He did his noisy set for about 10 minutes before (who I’m guessing is) the stage manager told him to pack it in. It turns out this was Warri comedian, I Go Die. At the point of his performance, it didn’t really seem like a bad idea…
People are you ready?
Sizwe came back on stage to do his hype man thing and get the crowd ready for the MAMAs. He also told the crowd they needed to come with the energy and really raise their voices for the show.
The jumbo-tron sparked to life with congratulatory messages from (I may have forgotten some folk) Kanye West, Femi Kuti, Estelle & Akon. The mosh-pit was going bonkers with sections of the crowd losing it as well at the sight of these stars that we didn’t actually hear their messages.
Then a typical award show intro (MTV style of course) came on to let us know what we were in for. It announced performances by PSquare, HHP, Jozi, Asa, D’Banj, Ikechukwu and many more (I think). Then they introduced our host, Trevor Nelson. Models with African flags (don’t think twas all flags though) came from either side of the stage (above pic) and got their flag waving catwalk on. From where I was, I honestly couldn’t really see “Treva” but heard the unmistakable Brit accent. He did the regular first ever in Africa, it’s going to be live, blah blah blah then introduced the first performer of the evening…
…Seun Kuti & Egypt ’80. That was a bit of a head scratch for a number of people but really, he is good and has his fans. He was dressed in that tight fitting adire (right? Kinda Zebra looking) outfit that his dad made popular. I may be wrong but honestly, it seemed fans were just happy the show had finally started. It was a typical “I’m not quite my daddy but I learned from him” performance. I can’t tell you what he was singing because I really wasn’t listening but I think he did medleys of the great Fela’s songs. You can’t fault his energy though. It was a decent performance but not special, really.
ARTISTE OF THE YEAR
It was odd that this was the first award but what do I know? Our presenters were Jay Jay Okocha (White shirt un-tucked; blue/purple tie; black jeans and white sneakers plus shaggy hair) & ex-Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (I think 07), Munachi (purple strapless, knee length skirt). Jay Jay in his “unique” accent addressed the crowd. After reeling off the nominees, the winner was no big surprise… D’Banj (black suit; black shirt; no tie; dark shades). He hit the stage with Don Jazzy (black trad – I believe; dark shades; gold cane) & his Mo Hits All Stars in tow. He started with his signature, “I’m D’Banj or Skeebanj like my Jamaican friends call me.” The audio was really bad and we couldn’t really hear but the crowd was in a frenzy.
Our presenters were Professor J (he was the one in the purple traditional cloak, right?) & I forget who. I’m not sure where the Prof is from but he’s our African brother. I can’t remember now what award they said they were there to present but I know they didn’t say best video. The award went to Ikechukwu (black suit; black shirt?; black tie?: dark shades) for “Wine Am Well” featuring Don Jazzy & D’Banj. For me, I felt people voted for either the artist or the song and not necessarily the video because honestly, there really isn’t anything too fantastic about the video. It beat out PSquare’s “Roll It” and Freshly Ground’s “Pot Belly” amongst others. Either way, congrats to the son of the soil. He came onstage with Naeto C (grey suit; white shirt; gold tie; dark shades) in tow along with (I believe) D’Banj & Don Jazzy. Rather bafflingly, however, for a best video award, he thanked everybody but the director. Hmm…
Strictly Come Dancing
Treva came back out, did a bit of MCing then introduced the next performance which was Nigeria’s PSquare versus South Africa’s Jozi. PSquare decked in all black (Peter or Paul, I don’t know, had on a head warmer, dark shades and pretty much a SWAT outfit while the other had on a black tee, black blazer, black pants & a black golf hat) took to the stage first and killed it with an ill performance of “Roll It” featuring some fab choreography. You have to give it to those guys. As they ran off the stage, Jozi ran on and started their routine. That was really impressive too but I had to give it to PSquare. However, they weren’t done yet, as team PSquare ran back onstage and they had a regular dance off a la You’ve Been Served and every other dance movie we’ve been tortured with in the past few years. It was maaaaaaaaaaaaad! My nod goes to Jozi on that one as they really brought it to Peter & Paul but it was a fantastic performance, regardless.
What the…? Part 2
I may be mistaken but I believe there was an announcement that the MAMAs would be back shortly or something. Well, it made sense for the taping but I thought we’d get right into it and keep the show going but no! the proceeded to show a Zain commercial on the big screen then when that was done, they showed T-Pain’s video to “Chopped & Screwed” featuring Ludacris. When that was done, they showed the Zain commercial again, then went into the “Wine Am Well” video. I thought this was a bit much but it’s MTV, they know what they’re doing, right?
You’ve got to be kidding me! (Also known as What the…? Part 2½)
I saw them setting up on a platform behind the media center and the crane cam was trained on them but I had no clue whatagwan. There were two girls on the platform and they started speaking in “unique” accents but LORD only knows what they were on about. Treva, wearing buba & sokoto joined them and basically, they were supposed to be funny but I didn’t get it. Hopefully, the telecast will shed light on this. They announced the next presenters…
BEST HIP HOP
The presenters were Samini (?) and DJ Cleo (brown jacket; tee & jeans – I think). DJ Cleo simulated scratching on turn tables while he was given matching Sfx in the background. This category was one of 2 I was really interested in because the nominees included HHP from SA, 9ice, Lil Wayne & The Game. And like Sisqo a few years ago at the V or EMAs, 9ice won the award! I can’t lie, that’s one dude I’m really, really happy for but his inclusion in the category was questionable (though understandable) and Weezy & Ice Cube 08 should not have been nominated in the first place at the MAMAs. No disrespect to 9ice, I really am happy for him but he’s not touch Weezy Wee right now. Nobody is! He knows that! However, kudos to Africans for keeping the vote African! 9ice (red jacket; white pants/jeans/white bucket hat – or was it a fedora?) came out and humbly accepted in a tired voice. (He’d performed at Zain’s TRU Search for the next Campus Superstar in Jos the night before).
No announcement was made but a guy in a white tee, black jeans and dark shades ran onstage and started spraying the moshers with champagne. I figured it was Olu Maintain because I couldn’t think of anyone else that would rush the stage in such a brazen manner. I was mistaken and apologize to the Leprechaun Pimp (shout out to heavenly Lilly) for falsely accusing him. A muscular guy in a black fitted pattern shirt with the word “rebel” on the front hit the stage and started rapping. It was Flo-Rida. This really amped the crowd even though a lot of them, well in VIP anyway, didn’t know who he was. He performed “In the Ayer” but sadly didn’t have Will.I.Am, Rick Ross & Brisco along for the track. After two verses (I think), the beat changed to his #1 hit “Low” and the crowd went bananas! He took off his tee shirt and had a black vest on exposing his biceps and tattoos for the ladies, a la his album cover. His performance was decent.
This was presented by Caroline Chikezie (red dress – I think) and Loyiso (brown suit – I think). A sad trend had become evident as majority of the crowd figured this was the Nigerian Music Awards and not the MAMAs because they only showed love for Nigerian artistes during the nominations. Shame. Anyway, this was D’Banj’s second award on the night, beating out Africa’s former darling and original face of MTV base Africa, 2Face Idibia. Sections of the crowd even declared 2Face over and done with. Shame. D’Banj treated the mic like a kokolette as he was more of kissing it than speaking into it.
Let’s Go There!
There was an interactive backdrop behind the main stage I’d failed to mention before this point. It lit up to reveal silhouettes behind it dancing. From the corner, we saw the white pants and red jacket. 9ice came out and dropped “Gongo Aso” on us, turning the place upside down. At different intervals in his performance, he’d stop, fold his arms and grill the crowd as they sang the words to his song. He’s a really good guy. He had fun out there doing some comical dance steps, even though I don’t think he meant them to be comedic. He had an over excited female dancer and I believe 3 hype men? It wasn’t the greatest performance but his charisma carried through.
What the…? Part 3
An announcement came up for Best Female to be presented by HHP. We waited for close to 2 minutes but nothing happened. I figured this threw the organizers off a bit because another announcement came up for…
BEST NEW ACT
…to be presented by Sizwe. Unlike other presenters before him that came from the main stage unto the catwalk, Siz came from underneath the big screen through the mosh pit, with the award already in his hand. With the other awards, the presenters walked to the podium and while the nominees were being read, the award and winner’s envelope were brought out to them. However, Sizwe did it different. He proceeded to say the Best New Act was a deserving individual, blah, blah and just yelled out Naeto C! Naeto was the expected winner (“Kini Big Deal” has to be top 5 songs of ’08) but they did him wrong with that half ass presentation. The cheerful dude came out with Ikechukwu in tow and he was quick to throw up his reverse peace signs to form the “W” for his World Famous Akademy group. Naeto thanked God, the fans and finally dedicated the award to his mom for raising him right. Before his speech was done though, stuff was being done that was really distracting to the whole thing. They did Naeto wrong man but kini big deal?
What the…? Part 4
I guess it was time for another commercial break because we saw that blasted Zain commercial again, then they play Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and 9ice’s “Street Credibility” videos. Then WT4 comes from when we “came back from commercial”. While the videos were running, the next performers had been taking their places onstage. It was a band of white dudes in black suits with the guitars, drums etc so I figured it was one of the South Africa Alt bands.
So, Treva comes back out and does some talking then he’s done.
Music blares from the speakers, the lead gets into rock star mode, part-screaming, gyrating and getting into the groove when the (I still think) stage manager walks up to him as he’s settling into his performance and whispers into his ear. So as our lead singer is chanting, ready to break into song, he goes, “And apparently, cut!”
Yup, he’d been asked to stop because Treva forgot to announce the band. So, the group gets back in formation and the lights are re-dimmed. Treva comes out and repeats all he’d just said. Yes, repeats it all and then announces that the next performance is a collaboration with South Africa’s Cassette (name of the band), Kenya’s Dua Cali (a rapper) and Nigeria’s Ikechukwu & Naeto C.
So, the Cassette lead singer does it again like we hadn’t seen it. Ha ha. He’s a good sport. Then the dreadlocked Jua Cali comes out in a white tee and black jeans, rapping to Cassette’s instrumentation. Then, Ikechukwu (green army jacket; blue jeans; dark shades) & Naeto (blue tee; blue jeans; dark shades; Shagari cap) step onstage and Ikechukwu declares that they’ve “rocked it south African style and they’ve rocked it east African style but can they rock it west African style like Wine Am Well?”
So they broke into a rock version of the song but Ikechukwu was drowned out by the drums through most of the set. There was a real cool bit where the four artistes got into formation in a horizontal line and did some side-stepping. That was cool. The music stopped (possibly with a bomb) and all four guys played musical statues. So with the reverb going, a section of us were awaiting the infectious, “Yes boss” call to come and Naeto to break into Kini Big Deal. I’m still waiting o!
It was presented by a member of the East African Bashment Crew and won by Seether and they said their thanks via video feed as they’re touring or something, to be frank, nobody really seemed to care. Shame. Oh, Coldplay was nominated too…
Originally announced as HHP to present, the honor switched over to Flo-Rider. He’d changed into a white short-sleeved shirt and was so happy to be in the Motherland. I’d been waiting on that one. Wahu (I believe from Kenya) won, beating Asa & Sasha. Some silly moshers were actually booing her as she gave her speech. It was quite disgraceful but she was too happy to be visibly shaken. Heck, she brought out her own mic so we could actually hear her.
So Good, they Named him Twice!
Treva came back on stage with Jay Jay who had given him a Super Eagles jersey as a gift. He went on about Okocha being one of the best to ever play in England but sadly for Bolton and not his beloved Chelsea. Whatever! He asked Jay Jay if he could do some tricks with a ball and he duly obliged. Jay Jay proceeded to do seamless keepy uppies and it was like a stroll in the park. He really enthralled the fans and capped it off by kicking the ball into the crowd.
“Music & Lights”
The next performance was from by the lost but found SA rapping teddy bear, HHP. He had on khakis and a brown shirt with his name & logo etched into the back of it. He rocked the stage solo (well, there were a few back up drummers) but slowly won the hearts of fans. I was feeling it all through though. He was okay and the people seemed to have taken to him.
Child of Destiny… the other one!
Treva came back out wearing the Nigerian jersey and introduced the next person on stage, Ms. Kelly Rowland. Before she came out, the big screen showed a video of her visit to East Africa as an ambassador for something I now forget. She spoke on how she first got in and saw the coast and everything, thinking it was great just like Miami until they took her to the hood, hood! Yup!
Ms. Kelly came out in a nice, white dinner dress??? It was sparkly and really nice. She came from beneath the screen and the crowd did their bonkers thing. She didn’t say Best R&B but hey, the nominee video started playing. Kelly opted to busy herself with blowing kisses to the audience. This was the second award I had issues with. PSquare was nominated alongside Akon, Alicia Keys & Rihanna! Come on! Alicia Keys won and as Kelly was ready to accept the award on behalf of “her girl”, Ms. Keys’ face appeared on the jumbo-tron to give her thanks.
What the…? Part 5
Commercial break!!! “Love Lockdown” video by Kanye West.
Next to perform was Asa. She came out in a dark blazer, dark shirt & blue jeans. She just struck me as a cross between Tracy Chapman & (all together) Lauryn Hill. She had a band with guitarists, violinist, drummer & back-up singers, maybe more. I know Asa for her guitar work but she just handled the mic for this rendition of “Jailer”. She was high energy and the crowd responded in kind. It was raised a notch when HHP, now in a black tee & black jeans came back onstage and rapped a verse on the track. It was fantastic. And the pair also proved a comic success as their odd dance steps were quite engaging. Also funny was when lil Asa grabbed this large man and dragged him to the catwalk where another dance off occurred. They went back to the main stage and closed with a hug between nappy locks and the teddy bear!
BEST LIVE PERFORMER
This was presented by a member of Goldfish and Nameless. D’Banj finally lost out in a category as the award went to Jozi. After their acceptance speech, Trevor intercepted their exit and said they had to do a little something. He searched out their beat boxer who did a mad rendition of “In the Jungle”. The other members slowly got into the groove and eventually gave us a sweet impromptu performance on the catwalk. Bananas!
You Think I’m Playing? a.k.a. What the…? Part 6
Trevor said he wouldn’t tell us about the next guy’s life because he’d tell us himself and proceeded to announce The Game.
He came onstage wearing a brown LA Dodgers fitted hat on tilt, a brown bomber jacket (heat no dey kill you?); white tee; gold Jesus piece and black jeans. Before he could take 5 steps on the catwalk, about 7 guys jumped on stage to touch, hug and surround him. Credit to Game because he handle it well and smiled as they were all going crazy and grabbing him. Then the big dudes and Nigeria’s finest (not!) rushed the stage to get them off. He then settled into his performance and the energy in the building was crazy. This time, like 3 jokers jumped on stage this time and the only word to describe what happened was “lifted”, as in, bouncers lifted these guys up and out of there. So, while they were doing this, some clown got on the catwalk from the top and started to stroll casually towards Jayceon Terrell Taylor, as in, leisurely stroll towards dude. It was a point of the finger, accompanied by a “loving” shove that got rid of that twat!
After two verses of “My Life”, the beat stopped and game took off the bomber jacket and said it was great to be in the Motherland so they had to take it there! The drums to “It’s Okay (One Blood)” kick in and it’s 3 words: PAN… DE… MO… NIUM! That’s four words? See what I mean! And he knows it too because he has a sheepish grin on his face as he tucks his chain then takes off the white tee and expose his tatted out torso. He drops a few bars to the song and then drops the mic suddenly and saunters off stage with his jeans hanging somewhere between his ass and knees. I guess he’d finally had enough of these “savages” but either way, he’d straight killed it!
What the…? Part 7
Commercial Break!!! As if to make up for the impromptu closing, they run the video to The Game’s “Dope Boys”. And please believe that all these commercial breaks have featured this Zain commercial. Pah!
This was presented by Nigerian MTV VJ, Cynthia. She wore a white knee length dress and was mainly inaudible. The award was for viewers who had sent in a 1 minute video of whatever they wanted. This young dude and his sister (missed their names, she directed) did a parody of “Kini Big Deal” that was really funny. The crowd ate it up. Nice won (pun unintended but clearly left behind J). Dude ended his speech with an annoying “YES WE CAN!” though. Guess he think he’s Barack O’MAMA now, huh? If you think about it though, yes I can really wasn’t out of place because they did though! They have an MTV Award. Kini big deal? Yes boss!
This was presented by Sasha (purple, strapless mini-dress) & Mama Do Bling (Mozambique – I think in red tank top & black baggy jeans). They tried a French & Saunders-esque improve. Um… no. Finally, PSquare, who must have been waiting to blow a gasket, finally won an award. My laptop might explode if I try to transcribe their acceptance speech because their accents have to be the most “unique”. One in town, huh? Which, huh that is, followed every statement by the way. Peter or Paul (them be one no be two) had to tenk the mother of his son, Ms. Lola Omotayo. So what happened to Ifunaiya, then?
MTV LEGEND AWARD
Slap yourself if you didn’t say Fela. I already slapped myself but that’s just because I didn’t think they’d give it out posthumously. They ran a video of his life and you just have to love the guy. When he explained the meaning of his name, Anikulapokuti, that was special. He said it meant he had death in his pocket and he couldn’t die. Someone smirked at that but I said that this video was testimony to that for his soul clearly lives on. Yeni & Seun accepted on behalf of the fam but said they were in no hurry to personally hand it over to daddy.
I actually left out a dedication to Miriam Makeba but I can’t remember where exactly that fell in. Rest in Peace ma’am.
What the…? Part 8
Trevor announced it was all over and that was it. He had to be having a laugh was what I thought. How do you just end like that? Of course Nigerians started heading for the exits but he said before we go, we should welcome…
Move your Body (for) my Snake Ma!
…Ms. Kelly Rowland back to the stage. Ah, so that’s what all those KR boards on the stage were for. I see. She came out unto the catwalk wearing a black suit and white blouse. She was singing a song I didn’t recognize (and I’ve had her album for a minute) so I wasn’t really paying attention, instead, scanning for my people plus mapping my escape route. She broke into “Bump Like This” so I focused back on my 4th wife. She wasn’t really doing much but dropped a few steps here and there. I still don’t know where he came from but a guy in a black suit and green tee was onstage all of a sudden and started screaming, “Filè! Filè!” before breaking into, “Mo wa talented, yes mo wa gifted!” Yup, D’Banj had jumped on stage and was rapping his “Tongolo” verse on Kelly’s song. That boy has too much energy. They really saved the best for last! They had dance offs a la the end of Grease and D’Banj added his opening verse from “Do You Like the Koko? (Tongolo Remix)” as well. He then proceeded to show Kelly how it’s done with continuous demonstrations of his anaconda! It was the way to send us home.
Party till MAMA comes calling… she’s here!
Cynthia came on stage to thank the fans and then bizzounced… like I did!
Well, that’s what I saw and how I saw it too. I believe I may have forgotten some stuff and will updated as it comes back to me but it’s 0207hrs and I have work to go to for 0830hrs. I believe I deserve a rest. Later in the week, I will drop Bonus Coverage featuring stuff around the event like how I, no joke, I, got Treva & Sizwe into the After Party. They probably won’t remember but LORD is my witness, as are some others. Here’s a pic of them with my boy Stone (a future MAMA winner, I said it!) after I’d sorted them. No joke.
Okay you knuckleheads. Till motivation flirts with me again… GET OUT MY HOUSE!