Chairman Of Ghana Music Awards (popularly christened VGMA), Nii Ayite Hammond, has turned 50 years today and we at Presspeep.com are very happy for him.
“50 year ago today, at the George Washington University hospital in Washington DC, Mrs. Patience Fofo Hammond had her most painful childbirth, having to go under the knife to give birth to another son, the scars still visible on her stomach today.
“Her husband Joshua Nii Ayi Ansah Hammond was very excited and happy he decided to name the son after the then President of the United States of America, hence John Fitzgerald Joshua Nii Ayite Hammond” – – elated Nii posted on his official Facebook wall today, 18th July, 2017.
Joining Nii Ayite Hammond, aka ‘Husky, aka Gobble, aka VGMA Mugabe’ to celebrate his day, we approached him to share the journey of his life thus far. Nii, for the first time, shared with us, exclusives of how he entered the arts industry, political life, and some credos he upholds dear in life. Come with us.
Presspeep: Let’s first start with how you entered the arts/showbiz industry.
Nii: “I guess it started with hanging out with my childhood best friend and pal Fred Vandyck aka Dread aka KENTE. He was a musician. I moved about with him everywhere. When I entered Accra Polytechnic, I continued with the same zeal and passion till I was finally elected Entertainment Secretary.
“During those days and after, I worked as the manager of the band KENTE. I also served as their Soundman – having learnt on the job through association of Roots Anabo. All these happened in the late 80s.
I later got a job with West Coast Sound and Light – where I worked as a Sound Assistant and moved across the country with the Zayaa Sounds. I had the opportunity to work on one of the early Kojo Antwi’s 24th show which happened at the Golden Tulip Hotel.”
I travelled and on my return, worked with Kishore Nankani, editing various Ghana movies and TVCs. I moved from there to work with CHM (Combined House of Music) – working on music videos and designing sleeves for artistes who recorded at the studio.
From there I worked with Color Chart Ltd as the Director of Productions for about 5 years before moving to Charterhouse in 2001.
Presspeep: Now Charter house – how did happen?
Nii: “While working at Nankani, I met Iyiola Ayoade, we produced a TVC for his company then and we became friends. He discussed a concept of a TV show he wanted to produce, which turned out to be ‘Agoro.’ I gave my thoughts and suggestions.
“We stayed in touch from that time so in in 2001 when I decided to leave Color Chart because of change of management, our paths crossed again and I agreed to join his company. I think it was Fred Vandyck who recommended me because he was already working there and so it was easy for us to gel.”
Presspeep: You are the Chairperson of a ‘whole’ Ghana Music Award – – how do you feel about that?
Nii: “It’s a service to the industry and I don’t feel superior or powerful. I just happen to serve. I feel honoured and humbled to serve. It is a very difficult job yet fulfilling.”
Presspeep: Share with us – some of the challenges you have faced as a result of your position as VGMA Chair.
Nii: “You know as a head of a team, you have to shoulder all dirt that are thrown at the group as well as accept all praises. It’s not easy to deal with artistes and people in the entertainment industry.
“My biggest challenge has to do with people thinking everything should be manipulated whether there is a process or not. I cannot understand why up to date people still think you can buy your way through or rig the outcome of the processes put in place for the VGMAs.”
Presspeep: Any regrets so far?
Nii: “I have no regrets – everything happens for a reason. You live it, love it, and make the best out of it.”
Presspeep: You seem to be a Political ‘Animal’ too – any plans of quitting the arts for political/public service in future?
Nii: “Everyone is a political ‘animal’ but I will not quit the arts for political or public service. If I quit, it will be for the service of the lord.”
Presspeep: What are your weaknesses as a person?
Nii: “Weaknesses – – I’m not too sure or should I say I don’t want to share…….”
Presspeep: We will be glad you share – a reader may pick something out.
Nii: “That is why it is called my weakness. It’s for me to know and others to guess.”
Presspeep: What are your fears in life?
Nii: “I have no fears in life. I just pray I will be able to live with my maker in the life hereafter.”
Presspeep: What, in your opinion, is or are the bane(s) to the growth of our arts/showbiz industry?
Nii: “We are impatient. We want instant successes and achievements. We need to support one another. When one group is in authority lend them our support for them to put in place the systems and structures needed.
“When it’s time for elections, we can battle each other but we go back to service once elections are over.
Presspeep: Any ‘shout outs’ to some people who have contributed to your journey so far?
Nii: “I don’t know where to start and where to end. My parents and immediate family – my wife and children who have had to bear a greater portion of my stress, my childhood friends Fred Vandyck and Roger Aryee.
“My former bosses Kishore Nankani, Danny Blue and Ricci Ossei, my Adehye 85 year group members. Charter house/Multiple Concepts family and finally, Mr. Ayoade – my current boss. There are others but I wish to say thanks to all whom I have not mentioned.”
Presspeep: any advice for Presspeep.com – as a budding online portal?
Nii: “Sensationalism sells, however, when you stick to the truth. Most of the times, readers always look to you for authentic news.”
Presspeep.com contacted some industry players/friends of Nii Ayite Hammond as well as sampled some wishes from his working colleagues – read below, some few testimonies about the Birthday Boy:
Iyiola Ayoade – Multiple Concept Boss
“Ladies and gentlemen join me to celebrate my good friend and colleague of 18 years and counting…the one and only John Joshua Fitzgerald Nii Ayite Hammond AKA Husky, AKA Gobble, AKA VGMA Mugabe…as he clocks the big 50.
“Nii welcome to the youth of your old age… I wish nothing but great things for you as you enter your sixth decade on earth. JAH Bless!” —– (via Facebook)
George Quaye – Charter house PRO
“Many know JOHN JOSHUA FRITZGERALD NII AYITE HAMMOND only as;
The VGMA Board Chair, The Chairman of OKWASS PTA, A father, friend, son and brother but we know him as more.
“Oh yes! More than words alone cannot outline. Don’t look to him for a punch because he will never lift a finger! He’s kind hearted and soft spoken. A gentle soul with a lot of love for all and sundry.
“As this great brother celebrates a golden age today, we pray Gods guidance, blessing, health, wealth and most importantly a lot of laughter from now till the next epoch and beyond. Happy Birthday Sir. May God continue to bless you…and your backyard farm” — (via Facebook)
Daddy Bosco – Musiga
“Nii is a diligent person, dedicated to the industry. His knowledge is a huge asset. He’s a fine gentleman.”
Johnnie Beresford Huges – Broadcaster, 3fm
“Our path crossed sometime in 2010 when I hosted the USAID/John’s Hopkins University’s the ‘GoodLife Game Show’ on now defunct Viasat 1. You (Nii) were the supervising producer at the time at GHOne, where we shot and you encouraged me greatly.
“It was my first ‘own TV show.’ I was a fresh blade of grass, but you urged me on and gave me a few tips on how to make my presentation of the segment better. I value those moments and I must frankly add that those few moments of enjoyment have lived with me, till this day.
“As you cast your 50th milestone to mark your Golden Jubilee – I wish you peace and many blessings. Live long!”
Enock Agyepong – Talent Manager
“I have criticized the VGMA strongly on a number of occasions but when my works was nominated in 2015 we worked directly with him as chairman and he didn’t show any bias. In fact he received us at the entrance and personally led my artist for the red carpet interview and ushered us to our seat.
“Personally I was surprised because knowing how most of our people can’t take criticism, I was shocked at his level of tolerance and professionalism; and that shows the mark of a great leader. Happy Earthday to Nii and I wish him long life, good health and prosperity.”