The entertainment industry is fickle as of late, becoming more and more like a gathering for politicians.
Take this weekend’s Metro FM awards where the record label that scooped most of the trophies of the evening was Mabala Noise. Its co-founder is Reggie Nkabinde, the ANC Youth League’s national treasurer.
Nkabinde came under fire last year after Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema claimed that Nkabinde benefits from tenders bestowed upon him by water and sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.
This is the very Nkabinde who caught the attention of the public when he threw himself a lavish three-day 31st birthday bash in 2015, with celebrities such as Sbu Leope and Isibaya stars Nomzamo Mbatha and Jessica Nkosi attending the extravagant party. Of the celebration, Nkabinde told City Press it amounted to “more than R2 million”.
READ: ANCYL honcho throws lavish party
Since its inception, and following this weekend’s events, there has been speculation that political ties are behind Mabala Noise’s success at this year’s Metro awards. The record label celebrated as its artist Nasty C won four awards including song of the year, best hip-hop album, best male album and best new artist. Others from the label who won were Riky Rick (best hit single), L’vovo (best kwaito single), Kelly Khumalo (best female album), Du Boiz (best music video) and Musa Sukwene (best African pop album). That’s almost half of the trophies out of the 21 categories at the awards, with claims that the label bought the awards. Every category they were nominated in they took home an award.
“If n*gg*z can pay for these f*ck*ng awards, then my n*gg*, I don’t want them,” Mabala Noise artist Riky Rick tweeted after unceremoniously accepting his award. The tweet is in reference to a line on his track Sidlukotini for which he won the best hit single award on the night.
During his acceptance speech, Nasty C called Nkabinde to stage. Nkabinde was booed by the crowd after saying South Africans should be ashamed for failing to produce artists that are successful around the world.
Nkabinde also praised former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng – of whom he has always been a great supporter – for the 90% local music quota Motsoeneng introduced at the public broadcaster’s radio stations when he was at the helm.
And then there is Ambitiouz Entertainment owner Kgosi Mahumapelo, who is alleged to be North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s younger brother.
Ambitiouz Entertainment were leading this year’s Metro FM awards nominations with Amanda Black, Ms Pru, Sjava, as well as former artists of the label A Reece and B3nchMarQ.
Two weeks ago three of Ambitiouz Entertainment’s biggest artists, namely Fifi Cooper, A Reece, and B3nchmarq shockingly announced their departure from the record label. This past weekend, Amanda Black won the listeners’ choice award and best R&B single, while Ms Pru won best collaboration and Sjava took home best produced album. The only Ambitiouz Entertainment nominations that didn’t walk away with a single award were those who left. A Reece was nominated for best hip-hop album and B3nchMarQ for best music video.
A Reece, who recently won the award for lyricist of the year at the South African Hip-Hop Awards, hinted in his recently released single titled Loyal that Ambitiouz Entertainment artists don’t get to keep their awards after winning them: “Where the F do are awards stay at?”
He went on say that he was being paid less than R20 000 at the label. He also mentioned that the publicists are buying cars before the musicians at Ambitiouz.
“Getting monthly pay of less than 20k was never part of the plan/ PR buying cars before the artist it doesn’t match up”.
Last year it was reported that Emtee and Fifi Cooper, were revolting against Ambitiouz Records owner Mahumapelo after he allegedly seized their Metro FM awards statuettes and kept them in his office. It was also alleged that Emtee was angry with Mahumapelo for paying him and Fifi the same bonuses in December, because he believed he raked in more money in gigs than her.
At the Metro FM Awards in 2016 Emtee and Fifi Cooper were the big winners, with Emtee bagging the best remix, best hip-hop album, best music video and the listeners’ choice awards and Cooper best newcomer, best produced album and best female album for her 20Fifi album.
Fifi Cooper, A Reece, and B3nchMarQ’s exit from the label is now headed to court. Ambitiouz Entertainment will have to face its former artists in a battle over mismanaged money — funds and royalties that were allegedly not paid to the artists to whom they were due — and unsigned contracts. Since their departure, the label has deleted all Fifi Cooper and A Reece’s music from YouTube.
What also adds to the usual circus of awards ceremonies is the need for politicians to present awards.
Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi was one presenter, coming onstage for the lifetime achievement award that went to Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu. The minister insistently shouted into the microphone, asking guests to guess who had won the lifetime achievement award – this just after it was announced and a tribute performance had taken place. All of this in front of a not so favourable crowd while the minister looked slightly embarrassed.
This weekend showed how politicians are effectively killing an industry by suffocating talent with their presence and comments in defence of their comrades, and also how one of the country’s biggest radio stations is ignoring the concerns of its listeners and music fans. The weekend’s awards show should be considered a tragedy for the credibility of the Metros and the radio station should probably consider just sticking to the airwaves.