NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE SHATTA WALE-STONEBWOY BRAWL AT THE VGMA ON MAY 19
Report of Police investigation into the brawl between the camps of Dancehall artiste, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale at the 20th Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, VGMA is heart-warming but disturbing. According to the Accra Regional Director of Operations, ACP Kwesi Fori, the two musicians will be charged depending on the outcome of the investigation. Rivalry between the two Dancehall artistes who have been battling for Supremacy got nasty during the music awards night temporarily halting the hitherto exciting event aimed at celebrating Ghanaian musicians. Stonebwoy is alleged to have pulled out a gun while on stage to pick the coveted Reggae Dancehall Artiste of the year award. His action follows a rather unceremonious attitude of Shatta Wale who mounted the stage with his Shatta For Life fans, while Stonebwoy flanked by his Bhim Nation Squad was about to address the enthusiastic crowd as has been the norm. Shatta Wale had earlier picked two awards but was not present in person to receive them. Armed military and police personnel had it tough quelling the chaotic melee that ensued, forcing the organisers of the event, Charter House to suddenly cut live transmission of the programme close to an hour. When the programme later resumed Stonebwoy apologised to the gathering for his behaviour. Later in a statement he alluded that attacks on him and his loved one especially on his wife during the 2017 ” Ashaiman to the world” concert heightened his sense of insecurity. He explained that being a victim of incessant vilification and physical attacks have caused a trauma he is yet to overcome.
Whatever it is, the whole nasty event has dented Ghana’s reputation in music circles global. It also took the shine out of the Ghana Music Awards which have seen held uninterrupted for 20 years now. Pulling a gun at the well-attended event endangered the lives of the entire crowd. We recall Shatta Wale was suspended from the awards for some time for alleged indiscipline behaviour. It is unfortunate that he has not learnt any lesson from that. Leaving his seat to the stage with his crew allegedly to congratulate Stonebwoy for winning that enviable award for the fifth consecutive time without prior notice either to Stonebwoy or the organisers leaves much to be desired and must be condemned by lovers of the arts.
Music it is said is food for the soul and when it hits one feels no pain. Musicians like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Wiston Rodney have used music to heal instead of dividing people. When it comes to music awards, events like the BET, BRITS, Grammy, and Golden Globe are a few that have been hailed as largely entertaining. Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy must sink their differences if they intend to make it big on the world stage. The level of enmity between them is indeed unhealthy and divisive. No matter the outcome of the investigation, Chatter House must suspend the two artistes from participating in future ones till they address their differences. To all intent and purposes, they flouted the terms of engagement for the awards which come with punitive measures. Nevertheless, Charter House also deserves the flak for the laxed security arrangements. If security had been tight, Stonebwoy could never have entered the auditorium with a gun. The Accra International Conference Centre where the awards were held has security check points and if these measures had been operationalised, the gun with Stonebwoy would have been detected. This is a good lesson for Charter House and the earlier they up their game the better.
We ask, what happened to the Artiste of the year award and Artiste of the decade awards?Failure to explain why they refused to present them has sent tongues wagging. To the event itself, Charter House made some controversial decisions which were unpardonable. We ask what informed the selection of Shatta Wale’s ‘My Level’ song for the Highlife song of the year?
Does it mean we no longer understand what Highlife is? There are others but suffice it to say, Ghanaians deserve better and Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy must bow their heads in shame for bringing our brand of the BET Awards into disrepute. We congratulate all award winners for the enviable feat and to the losers we say better luck next year.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.