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Ameyaw Says

How to break the Charter House hold on GMAs

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I know a lot has been said in the past few days about how much the 2010 Ghana Music Awards lost colour primarily due to the terrible lapses in security at the gate and even during the show.

However my main problem still hinges on the foundations on which the awards are handed out. In my previous open letter to the Ghana Music Award, I stated why I thought it would better to have the public decide 100 percent who wins what.

As I suggested, through the use of appropriate existing technologies, the public can be allowed a limited amount of votes in each category per each unique phone number, preferably once. Or at best, the decision making could be split 50/50 between the public and the ‘academy’. This would remove the existing power Charter House conspicuously holds on the GMA.

I think its time Charter House took its place as organizers/ event managers for the GMAs and not kingmakers. Over simplistic? Yeah, I know! Charter House is always quick to say that winners of the Ghana Music Awards are a reflection of what Ghanaians want because they are chosen by the people.

How can that be when the public only has 30% of the decision making process with 35% going to the Planning Committee and the other 35% for the Selection Committee? While I can understand why it is important for the latter committee, comprising industry players to have such a bearing on the awards; it is completely unforgiveable for the Planning Committee made up just 12 people to have such an impact on a national award such as the GMA.

Allow me to be simplistic yet again. Take it that you have a cake and you share it into three equal parts. You go on to share one third of the cake among 3 million people, share another third among 300 people; and then share the last third among 12 people. Which of these groups of beneficiaries do you think would get the largest share of the cake?

The members of the Planning Committee have the biggest power in deciding who wins an award at the GMAs. The fact that 5 out of the 12 people on the committee work directly for Charter House with 2 or 3 others associated indirectly with them, is perhaps why some of us believe Charter House calls the shots in who wins what.

So if these five people decide for what ever reason to vote for or against any particular artist, you can imagine where the decision would tilt towards. I will give a general job description for the Planning Committee and highlight the members so you can judge for yourself if these people should indeed decide for Ghanaians who the winners of our cherished GMAs should be.

According to the official magazine for the GMAs, the Planning committee contributes a total of 35% of the decision of recipients of the public awards categories and 50% of the decision of recipients in the industry categories. This committee also has the responsibility of planning and scheduling each event that together make up the festival.

The members of the Planning Committee as published are: David Dontoh, actor, writer, director of theatre productions and events; Paul Donkor alias Jayso, music producer; Fred Kyei Mensah, sound engineer; Fred Darko, Head of Events Production at Charter House; Diana Hopeson, President of MUSIGA; Nii Ayite Hammond Head of productions at Charter house and Head of the Planning Committee; Amanzeba Nat Brew; Theresa Ayoade, Executive Director of Multiple Concepts Group (parent company of Charter House); PaJohn Dadson, communications consultant for Ghana Music Awards; Ahuma Bosco Ocansey, Programmes Manager at Adom FM; Mark Okraku Mantey, music producer; and Juno Abena Turkson, Media/Public Relations Executive of Charter House.

Looking at the make up of this committee, is it possible for an artiste like Kwaisey Pee to be handed an award as a gift for his favours to Charter House? I think the Planning Committee should be stripped of any voting rights so they stick to ‘planning’ the Ghana Music Awards, nothing more nothing less.

If the Ghana Music Awards is going to be based on popularity like the organizers claim, then only the people can decide what is popular. Power to the people and Charter House should remain the power behind the performance.

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