The call for a Female Artist Of The Year category has come up before in our showbiz industry and just like any topic, it was met with arguments for and against. Today, I argue for the motion that, a female artist of the year category, be considered or given a second thought by the Ghana Music Award Board.
The Female Challenges
Females by nature, are put in many disadvantageous positions in life – compared to males. Some of these disadvantageous positions or factors are occasioned by males, females themselves, society, and of course nature!
Menstruation, pregnancy, child-birth, marriage, and higher-societal censorship/expectations – are but a few of the disadvantageous positions females find themselves in. Health science proves beyond doubts that majority of women who menstruate, go through severe pains.
So imagine a female artist having been contracted by an event company to perform in two weeks’ time. The time for the event reaches around the same time she is in her menstrual period with excruciating pain. Can she mount the stage, shout and jump up in the name of performance to entertain others? No! Is it her fault? No! Would the event organizer take her excuse lightly? No!
As an entertainment news editor, I have worked with a number of female reporters who could not submit stories for publication simply because they were in their menstrual period with its associated pains, unstable mind, and uneasiness!
I remember how I was once forced to write 3 stories in addition to my own 4 stories to fill columns within few minutes to press– an experience that made me hastily vow not to employ or work with…….(just by the way).
Once I was a member of the management team of a popular female musician – I remember how we had to call off several booked radio and TV interviews, all because the very morning we were to attend the interviews, the artist was in her menstrual period and could not even seat at one place comfortably due to abdominal pains.
The producers and presenters were mad at us because we had thwarted their itinerary. Did they accept our excuse? No! The next time we called on some of them, they told us we had the chance but blew it so they are sorry! Who was to blame?
From the period a female takes seed, survive through the testing times of pregnancy, to the expulsion of a new Homo Sapien – with another exacting journey of nursing and nurturing; 2 years would have gone down.
The male musician who poured his thick-slimy porridge into the coochie, would be busy doing rehearsals and playing all the gigs! By the time the female musician comes back to compete, the gap of the competition would have become wider and very difficult to close or reach!
Societal expectations from our females and condemnations are just too high that what a male would do and get away with it, a female does and gets brutally censored for. Typical example is the case of promising musician, Lord Paper, who released a near porn music video not long ago.
I listened with utter dismay, how the female character in the video was more denounced – whilst this Lord of his own religion, walks chest out for being the pervert he wanted to be known for. He continues to blow his horns in the industry anyway.
Then comes the challenge of ‘let me do before I can help’ females face. This factor alone has put many females off from pursuing their passion in our creative arts industry – I can attest to a number of them! This phenomenon still goes on and it kills the female talents! It makes them coil back! It kills their passion! It’s a setback!
All the above reasons plus others, makes it very difficult and/ or impossible for our female artists to compete potently with their male compeers. They are hindered by these factors which affect them physically, spiritually, and psychologically – and that affect their music career adversely. We shouldn’t dismiss this as a cultured-society.
Female musicians in other jurisdictions (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.) face same or similar challenges I’m outlined – but the difference is that, the system in those jurisdictions are functioning so well that even if a female artist does not release a song/album for a year, she will still make huge sum of money from royalties, music downloads, and other revenue streams to come back after her break. That is not our case!
It is as a result of the disadvantageous positions females find themselves in, which is why all societies have special laws and policies that empower or ensure the welfare of females –VGMA and other award schemes in Ghana may consider same.
For example – not until few years back, there was nothing like paternity leave. But, maternity leave has been in existence as part of labour laws and job appointments the world over for only God knows since when.
Because, labour and medical experts, took into consideration many years ago, the disadvantageous positions females find themselves in at some points of their life which hinders them somewhat productively!
Implications For Artist/Organizers
If a Female Artist Of The Year is created in VGMA, it will definitely not end the above challenges females face – never! But, it will be making good out of a bad bargain. It would foster a keener competition (healthy one of course) amongst themselves, challenge themselves, and further build their confidence and hopes in the industry.
To the organizers of the award, Charter House, it could be a good bait (Charter house boys know this better than I do) to get sponsorship from local and international investors, companies, grant-agencies and donors like IMF, World Bank, USAID, UNDP, WORLD VISION, UNICEF, etc.
These international bodies especially, are likely to support such an initiative because they all have special policies (and allocated budgets) that exclusively promotes the cause of women empowerment or welfare. Aside all other reasons, lets pamper our females! They rule the world! They rule showbiz! They are bae!
Mr. Kofi Tsikata of the World Bank once told me that some governments, policy formulators/analysts, and managements, specially design projects or initiatives that empower females and inculcate them into their policies to enable them push certain agendas or attract attention.
The Age-Old Concern
Over 15 years now since Ghana Music Award was set up, never has any female musician won the ultimate award – Artist Of The Year. For how long should the male musicians dominate and win the ultimate price? As a cultured-society are we happy about this?! An affirmative nod is required on this subject – I strongly believe so!
The Counter Argument
But the counter arguments I’ve heard are – ‘There’s no such thing as ‘Female Artist Of The Year’ in award A or B elsewhere, and I respond, “Let’s also be a people who reason and create standards for ourselves.
“We shouldn’t always see others as our standard or adopt their standards. Let’s set standards for others to appreciate or adopt too.” Another counter argument is that the male and female artists should be left to compete on equal merits (as it is now) because they are in the same industry with same structures.
But I state, “I believe in equity and not equality. Equality is giving people same things or treatments in same situations but Equity is giving fairness in every situation taking into consideration, weaknesses and strengths.”
I am not and will never be a Chauvinist – neither do I believe in gender equality and its urgings in any form. I believe in ensuring equity, as well as being a well-wisher of all living entities! These are some of my isms about life. Let’s all wrap our heads around this subject once again. Until then……MOTWUM!!