Nigerian social commentator, political and lawyer, Reno Omokri shares his views on the just ended Grammy awards. He criticized the lack of representation of African musicians on the international awards schemes, especially Grammys.
He suggested that, instead of waiting for foreign schemes to validate musicians in Africa, particularly Nigeria, indigenous award schemes must be given the needed attention and well developed to the level where they matter to us.
To Buttress his point, he juxtaposed the achievement of the late Jamaican-born Reggae legend, Bob Marley and his impact in the world without having to win a single Grammy award. He stated that though Bob Marley died more than four decades ago, his song is still fresh in the memories of people compared to many Grammy winning artists of his time.
“In terms of sales, relevance, impact and place in history, no other artiste, with perhaps the exception of Michael Jackson, tops Bob Marley. But he never won a Grammy. But he won and cherished Jamaica’s awards. I challenge you to sing the songs of last year’s Album of the Year Grammy winner. You likely cannot. But 41 years after his death, even children can sing Bob Marley’s songs, lyrics and all,” Reno Omokri stated.
He added that, “the Grammy Awards are good. But we can also make Nigerian awards better! When Nigerians start psyching up the Grammy Awards, as though you are a nobody if you don’t win it, what we are basically doing is surrendering the evaluation of our artistes to others. Our mentality should be, with or without a Grammy, we like our artistes!”
This is not the first time he has spoken in this light. Few minutes before the Grammy awards took off, he stated that Nigerian musician should not only be on the lookout for songs that will get an acknowledgement from international award organizations like Grammys but on focus on building music awards that can even surpass the likes of Grammy.
“I really want Nigerian artists to win Grammy Awards. But even more than that, I wish we could build our own awards to the point where they matter to us and to the world as much as, or even more, than the Grammy…
We cannot keep looking up to Grammy Awards. It does things to our subconscious. We are not aware of it, but we are seeking for affirmation. Except we love and accept ourselves, others will never love and accept us. Let us love our awards, like the Headies, etc.” He stated