Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 MTV AFRICA MUSIC AWARDS: Keep the Trash away - Organisers' big mistake if Khloe Kardashian is to 'present an award'.

The organisers of the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards need to tread carefully and should think twice, should there be plans to let American reality Khloe Kardashian - rumoured to be on her way to South Africa - present an award on stage.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) which runs MTV Base and is organising the upcoming weekend's 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards, risks damaging and overshadowing the just-revived African awards show by getting star-struck and hung up with B and D grade American "stars".

Unconfirmed trade gossip has it that Khloe Kardashian, one of the sister who appear in E! Entertainment's Keeping Up with the Kardashians and its several spin-offs, is travelling to South Africa and Durban.

She is romantically linked to French Montana, who will perform.

VIMN Africa and MTV Base already secured Marlon Wayans, an American, as the host of the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards - an awards show which is supposed to be by Africans for Africa - as the word in the title actually denotes.

African artists struggle hugely for recognition, for exposure, for a moment in the spotlight. There's not enough big events where Africa's musicians and artists have at least the potential to shine, or walk a red carpet,or at least get a bit of ink in print.

Think of a newspaper. For every photo of a Khloe Kardashian or a Marlon Wayans printed on Sunday, there is that less space for a picture of an African artist - pushed out and off a page to feature an already known, and American celebrity, not even linked to music.

And because Africa's star-struck often-pandering celebrity press are mostly conditioned to gravitate towards, imitate and adore American popular culture, that is exactly what will happen if a Khloe Kardashian gate-crashes the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards - the hollow spotlight will move to these fake-outs, instead of artists who did something, who achieved something and who is honoured for hard work and achievement in an extremely difficult industry.

The previous time Kim Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian visited South African a few years ago I had the fortunate/unfortunate "honour" of seeing exactly how dismissively they treat the South African press, and how self-absorbed, self-centred, aloof, cellphone obsessed and arrogant they are.

Not one of the South African TV shows, magazines, newspaper or other journalists or reporters who were kept waiting, tried to interview them, or interacted with them had a nice word to say about them behind the scenes - and a new group of press will probably find that out for themselves this time.

The 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards which will be broadcast on MTV Base, MTV and BET will do itself a favour by steering clear of a Khloe Kardashian "gracing" the awards - and a place where she neither belongs, and will detract from.

What is the use of an African music awards show, if organisers and press pander to American stars, instead of celebrating, featuring and focusing on giving Africa's talent their moment to shine?

The 2014 Africa Music Awards should keep the focus and attention not on trash, but on African music. Like it says in its name.