“The excitement generated by this year’s #VGMA20 is testimony to the amazing talent that we have in the creative arts industry. As I have said before, my government will continue to support the development of the creative arts industry. #MoNeYo to all the nominees,” read an early morning tweet from Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo a year ago.
Drawing to the night’s big celebration to mark the 20th Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, the entire nation was stewing in anticipation of which major act will win the biggest accolades ‘Artist of the year’ and ‘Artist of the decade’. Social media was clamored with campaigns by fans for their favorite acts alongside in-depth analysis made by industry experts predicting overall winners by close of the event.
By the time the auditorium lights at the Accra International Conference Center scored a green light to begin the longest evening on the entertainment calendar, the thirst for a fun night by ‘at home’ spectators had already been quenched with red-carpet appearances from A-listers ( flashback to Zynnell Zuh’s angelic outfit) in film, music and fashion. Two things were then left to be filled; performances and who wins what?
The journey to the end was bottling up after show hosts Berla Mundi and season master-of-ceremonies Kwame Sefa Kayi gave the commencement speeches followed by a handful of performances and award presentations (Diana Hamilton winning the first award of the night, Gospel Song of the year). Things within a flash turned from ‘having a ball’ on snap stories to ‘why this year?’, the clash of then rival dancehall titans Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale had set in amidst the former’s acceptance speech for his fifth year in a row dancehall artist of the year win.
From then to the end, things had to be pushed at a fast rate and within it caused the omission of some look-forward-to performances from Diana Hamilton and KODA. Long speeches, which normally harbored ‘thank you to my mother, management, fans’ were all fused into a single short glass speech to save time and spare further calamities.
Regardless the event’s middle setback, it afforded some glorious and comeback wins, penchant performances, axed categories alongside post-VGMA reconciliations that will forever remain on the inside pages of the 20th Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
Below, we break it all down.
Back in 2010, Sarkodie took home all major awards except the ‘most popular song of the year’, which went to Bradez for ‘Simple’. In one night, he became the artiste of the year and discovery of the year. Fast forward 10 years later, last year he won the artist of the decade’, a bragging right which the legendary Kojo Antwi held from 2010 – 2020.
Kuami Eugene and Amakye Dede
At the time when artists that would perform on the night were making commercial rounds on television screens and social media, everyone was expectant of Kuami Eugene’s performance. But little did the public know that he was taking the stage with his all-time idol in music Amakye Dede. It was indeed a performance amongst performances and ended with the coronation of Eugene as the new king of highlife music by Amakye Dede. The former ultimately won the highlife artiste of the year the second time in a row.
The ‘Best in Me’ singer was merited with the female vocalist of the year. Scoring the bragging rights once again after 4 years added to her already bagged four times in a row (2011 – 2014) wins making it five for the songstress. She is by far the only artist in the best female and male vocalist familiar contenders to attain such fete.
The loud cheer and applause that came from the crowd soon after Medikal’s name was mentioned as rapper of the year was all joy and excitement for the ‘too risky’ hit maker, who in previous years had missed out on winning the one category that in the eyes of award scheme defines the status quo of an acclaimed best rapper. The shouts that followed could only have meant one word, ‘finally’.
‘Gospel artist of the year’ and ‘Gospel song of the year’ all went in favor of Diana Hamilton. She became the first female artist last year to win two of the biggest categories in the gospel front in one night.
Going into the night, Samini was among the favorites tipped to win artist of the decade, but the man behind the making of mainstream act Stonebwoy, didn’t. He rather became the savior of what seemed a collapsing event after the storm between Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale. Brought on stage soon after the clash, Samini in his own way restored things back to normal with an electrifying performance headlined on major blogs ‘Samini saves Vodafone Ghana Music Awards’.
Artist of the year
As a result of the night’s big fight that caused a pause in transmission, the biggest category of the evening was and is still left without a winner. With the space unfilled with a new title holder, the late Ebony Reigns posthumously stays on record as artist of the year. She won in 2018.
After a long-standing industry beef which reached its peak at the 20th VGMAs, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale made peace few days later. They are now the very best industry colleagues supporting each other’s craft. The only thing left is the collaboration.