The BET awards which aired on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, saw the acknowledgement of one of Nigeria’s very own musicians: Davido. The artiste won the award for Best International Act Africa, beating Mafikizolo from South Africa, Sarkodie from Ghana, and Tiwa Savage from Nigeria, amongst other stars.
Despite Davido’s success and the successful performances of artistes Tiwa Savage and Mafikizolo, social media users, specifically Afro Pop artiste Imelda J, called out BET, revealing that viewers were unaware of the subpar treatment of the African guests. In her tweets below, she claimed that top-ranking artistes like Tiwa Savage and Mafikizolo were performing in front technicians and crew, and not a crowd of guests.
Imelda J was not the only person expressing discontent with BET’s treatment of the African performers. Davido instagrammed a picture of himself with his award, which received an ovewhelming majority of positive feedback. However, some users took the fact that he uploaded the photo before the show, to mean that he received the award backstage. Here are two of their comments:
austinmomoh said, “they only give you this stupid awards backstage lol cos they cannot allow Africans to participate on the main event...they should (s)how Africans some respect too and they should allow them to have the award in the main stage not backstage.”
tanaka456 asked, “how come they didn’t air you getting the award?”
Davido cleared up the misconceptions in an interview with Channels Television yesterday, stating that he received his award during the preshow, not backstage.
In earlier years, artistes like 2Face and D’Banj have received their awards backstage. This likely prompted the vexed reactions of African fans this year, who feared that BET had once again failed to acknowledge the status of African performers.
In an article on Theghpost, Kwasi Kyei Darkwah aka KKD, Ghanaian broadcaster and one of the BET judges for the African acts, tried to describe the situation to the best of his ability. KKD explained that BET reserves its airtime for African-American artistes, as that is the demographic its viewership most relates to. From a financial perspective, their airtime should cater to that demographic in order to "retain their viewers." However, one would think that if BET were to invest in bringing African artistes to their award ceremonies, they would devote a section of their airtime to their performances.
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