Wow, where do I even start from? 2010 was another eventful year for Ghanaian entertainment and although rapper Asem may have given most of the highlights of the year in his latest single, ‘2010 Fylla’, I will attempt to fill in what he might have missed out. Ghana started oil production in commercial quantities and we are expected to see more of that in 2011 but that wasn’t my biggest highlight for the year. Without a shred of doubt, the exploits of the Ghana Black Stars at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, takes the biscuit as the most exciting period in Ghana, one that had us all united and glued to our TV sets.
Asamoah Gyan broke many Ghanaian and African hearts across the globe when he missed out on the golden opportunity to put Ghana through to the semi-finals but that was just the beginning of a new journey for the footballer. He has since been signed to EPL side, Sunderland where he is already doing great exploits. In addition, he was involved in England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and he was adjudged the Best African Footballer of the year by the BBC. But who can forget his involvement outside the football pitch in what was arguably the biggest hit song of 2010? For some time now, Asamoah Gyan had troubled our ears about a possible career in music and I am sure no one took him seriously but after scoring a hit with hiplife artist, Castro on ‘African Girls’, perhaps now we will give him a listen. But he shouldn’t give up his day job yet! Mentioning the names of women in a song is hardly a talent!
Speaking of hits in 2010, we certainly had several and I wonder how the Ghana Music Awards will pan out next year. We began the year with Nana Borro’s troubled hit single, ‘Aha Yede’ which became the national anthem during the Easter celebrations and World Cup period. But as the year continued, people started asking questions like: is Nana Borro a one-hit wonder? Would ‘Aha Yede’ be such a major hit without the inclusion of S.K Blinks? Does Nana Boro have any talent at all? – among many others. If his second single, ‘Bebia Susu’ didn’t answer these questions clearly, then I guess we have to look to 2011 for more answers.
After ‘Aha Yede’, Samini’s ‘Sweet Mistake’ took over in a way and then out of the blue Castro and Asamoah Gyan stormed the airwaves, parties, events and perhaps even the churches from mid-year through to the end of the year. Come on: ‘African Girls’ was even reviewed on Sky Sports and I’m sure those analysts are still trying to figure out the line ‘…sexy like cheese…’ Getting to the end of the year 5five made a glorious return with a hit song that I still don’t know even the title or lyrics but still manage to dance whenever nobody is looking. Judging by the response to Castro and 5five’s song during the Christmas season, I think the two songs remain the biggest hits going into 2011.
Although the above mentioned individuals/groups had a good year none of them stood out enough because they had single hits and apart from Nana Boro, weren’t too visible until at the latter part of the year. The artists that stood out the most for me were VIP. They had a string of hits in the past year, and I think that withdrawing from the 2010 Ghana Music Awards puts them in a good position for the 2011 Ghana Music Awards. The only other artist that really stood out for me was gospel singer, Cecelia Marfo.
Talking about standout acts of 2010, there were some amazing breakthroughs in the year. Cecelia Marfo had a wonderful comeback after a long hiatus but I would like to focus on artists that had their first major breakthrough in 2010. Lynx Entertainment’s Eazzy had a very good year proving that you don’t have to be a gospel singer or Mzbel to make it in the industry as a female artist. With catchy pop infusion and sampling coupled with infectious thumping beats and in-your-face lyrics, Eazzy remained relevant throughout the year. Nana Boro had a good year as well but his demons as I spelt out earlier still haunts him.
IWAN was another solid discovery in the year and he proved that beyond Samini, another reggae/dancehall artist from Ghana can remain contemporary without alienating non-Rastafarian music lovers. Trigmatic’s success in the year represents hope for the new breed of Ghanaian hiphop artist but I hope they would learn from him and incorporate some of the elements that contributed to his success. For so many years, he was underground, fronting to be the next ‘Jay z’ and churning out American raps that the majority of Ghanaians couldn’t relate with. His song, ‘My Life’ was one of my favourites for the year because I could relate with it in terms of the style and the chorus and hooks in Ga and Twi kept it very Ghanaian for me.
Lastly, one of my other favourite breakthrough acts of 2010 had to be Jay Ghartey. He is one of the few Ghanaians living abroad that have managed in recent times to score a hit back home in Ghana. What is even more amazing is the fact that his music is so different from the mainstream music that Ghanaians are used to. Mixing elements of pop, funk and techno, Jay was able to connect with Ghanaians not only on ‘My Lady’ but also on ‘So Wild’. What baffles my mind is why is music is so Eurocentric although he lives in the US.
Ok let me switch to do a bit of movies and I am sure everyone knows that my favourite movie of 2010 was ‘Sinking Sands’ not just because I worked on it as a publicist. It was simply a good production, a good story, something that we need more of. ‘6 Hours to Christmas’ was another creative and different work, and ‘Good Old Days: Love of AA’ was simply bold and didactic – something that we need to see more of in our movie industry in terms of addressing problems in our societies. Sadly the terrible works existed side by side by with the good ones. Socrates Safo made more sleazy movies and sparked lots of controversies with his sex infested trailers on YouTube but I hope by next year he would have seen the light to make good movies with substance, both in terms of acting and storyline. I’m so glad that he didn’t win any award at the maiden edition of the Ghana Movie Awards, but I’m still wondering why Frank Rajah won a special award for his contributions to the movie industry. Anyway my movie, ‘Sinking Sands’ won four of the awards so I must watch what I say about the awards.
There were lots of feuds in the showbiz industry in 2010. From the very public split between Akorfa E. Asiedu and Leila Djansi, to Socrate Safo and his associates ‘banning’ actors left, right and centre in a bid to streamline the movie industry, there were a lot to talk about. Not forgetting the seeming feud between Socrates and Leila about which films deserved to be nominated at the Ghana Movie Awards. How about the love gone bad between Yvonne Nelson and Jon Germain; or the ‘beef’ between Jon Germain and Kwaw Kesse; or even Kwaw Kesse and Asem? There was also the love gone bad warfare between Confidence Haugen and Ayigbe Edem, and a short-lived ‘rivalry’ between former Akyeame group members, Okyeame Kwame and Okyeame Kofi.
How can we forget the silent impasse between Jackie Appiah, Lydia Forson and Naa Ashorkor concerning the media attention on only Jackie when all three girls collectively won the Best Actress nod at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)? But AMAA too, why? How can three people from one movie share a performance award? Sadly the Ghana Movie Awards also copied blindly and repeated the same blunder giving an award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (English) to Jackie, Juliet Ibrahim, Yvonne Okoro and Rosaline Ngassah. To make things worse, they even have to share a car on top of it! Rrraaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Let the cats out!
Still on awards, Sarkodie topped all at the Ghana Music awards, won a Soundcity Music Award in Nigeria, lost out on the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) and shared the stage with hiphop royalty, Chuck D of Public Enemy fame. Well I was there live at the MAMAs and I saw it all go down – I’m sure I don’t need to remind you! Ghana had improved nominations in pan African award schemes like Channel O Music Video Awards, while Shirley Frimpong-Manso won a few for her movie exploits. Hurray!! 4syte Music Awards made a return this year and 4×4 topped the list of winners. Speaking of 4×4, people are still asking whether they sang at all on the ONE8 hit song, ‘Hands Across the world’ featuring R&B legend, R Kelly. I’m tired of answering that question already!!!
Big Brother Africa returned with the All Stars edition and Sammy B represented Ghana again but this time, the oversized radio presenter and musician opted to come back home after some health complications. But this year’s big brother was all about me because I was there ‘some’, slept in the big brother house and enjoyed the life of a true star out and about in Johannesburg.
2010 also saw a lot of good deeds and projects from our celeb folks. Okyeame Kwame took his campaign on hepatitis B to the people; Yvonne Nelson launched her foundation for glaucoma; Khareema Aguiar spent her birthday with the aged at HelpAge Ghana; and Jackie Appiah spent hers with the kids at Korle Bu Children’s Ward and the Dzorwulu Special School.
The year was a bad one for beauty pageants. Face of Legon was deeply troubled but like I keep telling my friends, it’s not a national event but only a campus pageant so people shouldn’t be too hard on them. Miss Malaika finalists showed little brain muscle on their make or break question while Miss Ghana chose a lady that most agree is intelligent but not pretty. So what went wrong? Is the combination of looks and brains diminishing or what?
Ghana continues to see more performances from international acts and 2010 saw the likes of Kenny G, Cece Winans and more recently Rick Ross perform in Accra. I hope our Ghanaian artists will get more chances to perform to such crowds out there instead of doing purely Ghanaian gigs abroad. I heard Dbanj filled the O2 stadium. Hmm!
Anyway I believe 2011 would be an even bigger and better year for Ghanaian showbiz and there is one place to find out all the updates on the industry, I don’t even have to mention it! I leave you with my end of year awards and who says you have to agree with it? Laugh Out Loud and see you next year!!!!
2010 Jaded Renegade Awards
Artist of the Year: VIP
Song of the Year: ‘African Girls’ By Castro and Baby Jet
Best Music Video: Borga Borga
Most disappointing Music Video: ‘Wengenze’ by Eazzy
Breakthrough Act of the year: Jay Ghartey
Best Live performer: Efyah
Best performer by Effort: Mimi
Best female artist: Eazzy
Best Event: Decibels by Canoe Entertainment
Discovery of the year: IWAN
Best Listen Album: ‘Home & Away’ by Morris D’Voice
Best Film of the year: Sinking Sands
Worst Movie of the year: Anything from Socrates Safo
Worst film of the year: Summary
Biggest star of 2010: Asamoah Gyan
Best comeback of 2010: Cecilia Marfo
Best New TV show: The One Show
Best Entertainment Show (TV): Allo Tigo
Best overall breakthrough: Funny Face
Best website: www.ameyawdebrah.com