Culture and Lifestyle

2021 Headies: Regaining Lost Credibility

It seems The Headies Award held last Sunday has virtually regained all its lost glories of the last few years. The Headies award has always been the center of attraction for both Nigerian music stars and their fan base. Before things changed, everyone looked forward to that point at the end of the year when nominations and awards for certain categories are rolled out to outstanding superstars.

Over the years, The Headies brand has suffered major setbacks. It has been the center of many allegations of corruption, nepotism, and lack of transparency. Technically, most award platforms, international and home-based, are not immune to these allegations. The integrity and transparency of awards are sometimes in doubt.

Many reason that it is only natural for these allegations to trail such platforms given the emotions that go into it. For example, when fans expect their favorites to be named or win a particular category, and it is the reverse, it racks up feelings of suspicion and fraud in the voting or selection process.

It was just last year that Drake called out organizers and judges of the Grammy Awards and asked that they be replaced after several artists, especially The weekend was overlooked in the 2021 Grammys nomination.

The Weekend’s album, “After Hours”, which is the best-selling record in the US, was widely expected to feature in the album of the year and song of the year categories but was snubbed. This forced Drake to lash out at the organisers calling them corrupt, and adding that, “you owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency.” The Grammy is still battling to weather the storm.

As for The Headies, it was almost losing its cachet as one of Nigeria’s and by extension, Africa’s biggest award shows. Top celebrities were threatening to boycott the annual ceremonies.  Noticeably, subsequent years saw the absence of big celebrities like Wizkid, Davido, Olamide, and Burna Boy, even though they were winners of certain categories.

Two years ago, Burna Boy was declared the winner of the artiste of the year category. He wasn’t present to receive the award. Some suggested that his absence was retaliation for losing out on the Next Rated category to Sean Teazle in his early years.

Neither Wizkid nor Davido was present at the award in 2019. Even Don Jazzy was absent. The likes of Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Naira Marley, Reekado Banks were all routing to be part of Wizkid’s groundbreaking O2 Arena show in London, which coincided with the awards.

Many fans as well declared that they had lost interest in The Headies. For many fans, ever since the fracas that occurred with Olamide and Don Jazzy over the choice of their signees as winners for the coveted Next Rated category, the credibility of The Headies suffered major setbacks.

The subsequent year saw Don Jazzy’s signees cup the award for the Next Rated category. Rema who many thought was good but shouldn’t have made the nominee list for 2019 was declared winner over Fireboy, Joeboy, and Zlatan.

This bolstered the belief that Don Jazzy was paying off The Headies to give the category to his signees ahead of others.

Another area of concern for many was in the area of poor video and audio quality.

However, The Headies seems to be regaining its lost glory following its 2021 Annual Awards Ceremony.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, limited number of people were allowed to attend the live show. Others linked up virtually. It was attended by stars and top personalities with Wizkid gracing the occasion with his grand presence. That was the big icing on the cake.

Celebrities like Desmond Elliot, Falz, Sound Sultan, Erica, Eniola Badmus, Iyabo Ojo, Dj Neptune, Laycon, Omah Lay, Bella Shmurda, among others, were present.

The 2021 Headies Awards was anchored by the amiable comedian, Bovi, and star actress, Nancy Isime.

Many have expressed transparency and credibility in this year’s edition, maintaining that virtually all the nominations were deserving. Those who were declared winners were equally deserving.

Fireboy, who was tipped to win the Next Rated category in 2019 but lost to Rema, was the biggest winner of the night. He swept the 2021 Headies with a whopping four awards.

He won Best R&B single, Best R&B album, Best Headies Revelation, Best Pop Award.

Wizkid was one of the biggest winners of the 14th edition too. He won the category for artiste of the year, beating the likes of Davido and Burna Boy. He also won the Viewers’ Choice Award.

As expected, Omah Lay won the Next Rated award which is a highly coveted prized won by upcoming acts who have shown the most promise in the year in review. He beat the likes of Tems, Bella Shmurda, and Oxlade to win the category.

Pop single of the year was given to Dj Neptune’s “Nobody” which no doubt was one of the top songs in 2020. Bad Boy Timz won the category for rookie of the year beating Zinoleesky to the prize.

Brymo was the winner of the recording of the year category with his outstanding song, Ozymandias. Pheelz won producer of the year for his production of Teni’s Billionaire.

Winner of African artiste of the year was equally deserving. It was given to Master KG for his earworm, “Jerusalema”, the most Shazamed song of 2020. South Africa’s Master KG was also the big winner at the All Africa Music Awards last year for the same song.

Another category that left people surprised was in the street pop category which saw Mayorkun win the award for his song, “Geng”, over Naira Marley.

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There were complaints about the organisation as the live stream suffered interruptions several times and people were unable to follow the show consistently.

Nevertheless, with the glam and endorsements that accompanied this 14th edition, the Headies seem to have come out fully from that unholy cluster of awards lacking credibility and transparency.

Nelson Okoh

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