Saturday, July 18, 2015

Viacom Africa boss Alex Okosi on why American comedian Anthony Anderson is hosting the 2015 MAMAs: 'The best available host'.

Viacom Africa boss Alex Okosi responded to criticism that MTV Base's (DStv 322) MTV Africa Music Awards again chose an American and not an African artist to be the host of the 2015 MAMAs taking place on Saturday night and said comedian Anthony Anderson who will be performing hosting duties was "the best available host".

The 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards will be broadcast live on MTV Base (DStv 322), MTV (DStv 130) and BET (DStv 129) on Saturday night with Anthony Anderson on the stage following in the footsteps of Marlon Wayans last year.

TV with Thinus asked Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), about criticism regarding the apparent preference for American comedians to host the MAMAs which VIMN Africa and MTV Base say is done to celebrate the excellence of African artists.

Without mentioning names like the South African comedian Trevor Noah who was a frontrunner this year to host but couldn't due to preparation and diary pressures due to taking over hosting of The Daily Show from Jon Stewart on Comedy Central (DStv 122) on 28 September, Alex Okosi explained that the MAMAs organisers choose the best available host.

Alex Okosi explained at the pre-event press conference which took place on Friday evening at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban, that it's actually good that some shortlisted artists and performers from Africa are not available to host the MAMAs, because it means they have work and are working and that as talent they're sought-after marquee names.

"When we looked at hosts for this year's 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards there were a few names, including some people's names that I'm sure you can imagine who should be considered."

"This show has to be accessible to a global audience. We air this show across Africa, its our celebration but also a global audience."

"So you do put together a list that does combine international and African names because I do believe we have strong African contenders who can host the MAMAs," said Alex Okosi.

"Now, some of the African people are unavailable. And I think that's a beautiful thing, because [it means] they're working. Right? So we cut down the list. Anthony Anderson was definitely in the top part of our list as well."

"And you go and look at who can really do this. You really have only a few people who can host a global award show such as this."

"So our strategy is not about always having an international host, our strategy is having the best available host," said Alex Okosi.

"99% of the talent you see on the talent you will see on the 2015 MAMAs stage is African, and that's what we're celebrating on Saturday."

At the press conference Anthony Anderson said "my expectation is just to have a great show and I'm glad to be here and to be a part of it and to be here in South Africa and have some fun with you guys."