EventsFeatureReport

Dancehall Reggae Mzansi Awards 2014

The second edition of the Dancehall Reggae Awards took place at Soweto Theater on Saturday, 20 December. It was set up to be a glamorous event with the red carpet, quality sound, award statues, hostesses, live performances and the event even started on TIME.

An improvement from last year’s event which was held in Mzimhlophe hall in Soweto.

Last year’s event received a lot of criticism from the massive, promoters and artists alike for a number of reasons and the one major critic was the venue itself. Mzimhlophe hall is a community hall that has been home to Reggae Dancehall events for more than 10 years, perhaps that might have been the reason it was used as the venue for the inaugural Dancehall Reggae Awards, but it was not appropriate to host an award ceremony.

The lack of transparency on the part of organisers also fueled the criticism, for many were curious as to who the organisers were; what the selection process was and how it got executed; who got to decide the winners and what were the prizes. The other sore point was that it was too early to have the awards as we are still trying to build the industry that is almost nonexistent.

What the organisers – Ms Soweturn- then did was to use all the criticism to improve on this year’s event and it was a relative success. First she roped in Mpho ‘Biggy’ Khumalo, of Joyhouse Entertainment Events and Catering to spearhead the logistics of organising the event. The results were already visible right from inception.

Then the Categories were set and the nominees announced and the voting lines were open. People could nominate and vote for their favorite artist. It was up to the public to decide and nominees to push for votes. The Facebook page was set up to give updates and build up to the day of the event.

The turn out to the event could have been better, but the event itself turned out to be an intimate introspection of the industry and where it finds itself. The blue Room at Soweto Theater provided a perfect setting for this. The people who attended had one thing in common, the love of Reggae Dancehall and to see it prosper.

It was evident from the passionate speeches made throughout the evening that there is much potential and talent that needs to be elevated and the ever present need to unite and support each other. The most memorable and moving speech came from Mpho ‘Biggy’ Khumalo himself. He emotionally echoed a fundamental sentiment that is prevalent amongst Dancehall Reggae promoters and practitioners; that we would like to make a living from that which we love, Reggae Dancehall. We are tired of working two jobs, where reggae promotion becomes more of a side job or hobby. We want to work as professionals in this industry because we believe in it.

‘Reggae runs in our blood’. Mpho ‘Biggy’ Khumalo

Fikile Makhalemele of Lioness Productions in her acceptance speech for Outstanding Woman in Reggae award (presented by Ntombikanina Malinga the founder of UCU Consulting and CEO of SASTELA South African
Solar Thermal and Electricity Association.) spoke about the need to build a concrete foundation in order to have a solid industry to be able to be competitive.

Jah Kongo was the man of the moment. He accepted and represented for the Cape Town massive who were not in attendance. Black Dillinger received the Special recognition award for young hustler; Korianda Izajah won The Album of the year; Umyezo we Reggae on Umhlobo we nene scooped Best Reggae Dancehall radio show presented by Luckeez. Jah Kongo, (last year’s winner for Best Artist of the year and also nominated this year for same category) accepted all the awards on behalf of his peers and heaped praises upon them. In one of his speeches he touched on an important topic, that of the relationship between artists and DJ’s. He spoke of the gap that exists between the two. To paraphrase him ‘The DJ’s job is to play our music, to educate the masses about our music and our existence. Not enough DJ’s are playing our songs on air.’ He continued to echo Biggy’s sentiments about how artists need to make a living out of this passion. ‘We have children to feed! I for one have many children all over’, which got the audience in stitches.

DJ Fanta who walked away with the coveted Selektor of the Year award for the second time running spoke on behalf of the DJ’s when he spoke of the difficulty in getting artists to submit their work for airplay.

Faya Uman acceptance speech reverberated her campaign message that went like this:

“From Mzimhlophe Hall To Soweto Theatre. Dzankie SiYaBonga! We Dont Just Criticise Huh. When We See Improvements And a Genuine Effort Being Made We Large It Up. Whether We are Involved Or Not. So I For One Will Be At The Dancehall Reggae Mzansi Awards This Saturday. With A Positive Attitude.  I Will Perform A Chune Or Two. This Is My Very First Official/UnOfficial Recogniton And I Give Thanks n Praise ” Faya Uman

She Came. She Performed. She Conquered
And what a massive performance she put. She showed us why she won the artist of the year category. .

The Big Bad Sound outta Soweto has been running tings since forever. Eeka Mouse a man of few words with a big heart, you could feel the emotion in his eyes, gracefully accepted the award for Sound System of the Year 2014. Well deserved.

Ms Soweturn’s closing speech spoke to the criticism of the timing of the awards, that it, it was/is too early to host such awards if the industry is still shaky like this. She asked a salient question: ‘In my short and limited experience and exposure in Dancehall Reggae I asked myself,

why are we not recognising the talent that already exist and reward the efforts of those who are putting in work? What are we waiting for? When are we going to be ready?’ Miss Soweturn

That is the main reason behind her decision to start the ball rolling. And we agree, by the time we are ‘ready’, all these people who are being recognised now, would be out of the playing field by then and would never otherwise get rewarded. Like so many who have put in much much work to push reggae in South Africa, they have faded away without proper dues paid to them.

The Artists

One emotive thing about the nominees in attendance is the appreciation showed towards the organisers for the effort and the recognition itself. To walk away with a glass lion statue with the words engraved on it that you are a winner of such and such title for the year 2014, is priceless. Nothing else really matters, that trophy is yours for the rest of your entire life and career. You have got something to show.

The performances were fire! A special shout out goes to one call Mandela. The man was born for the stage. He puts on a One man Show of note. He entertains with his quirky lyrics while strumming away on his guitar and producing melodic sounds. An audiences’ favourite and one to look out for.

Faya Uman was Redda Faya Hot. Nuff said.

Jahkongo, the man of the moment, is truly an artist, a singer and passionate. He makes you stop what you are doing and listen to him and the lyrics. He gets meditative on stage and takes you on the musical journey with him. A massive shout out to one of the hardest working artist right about now.

A shout out to all the winners and nominees. Teedo walked away with a deserving Female DJ of the year award. The sister has been on the hustle for a long time and she supports all efforts and gigs pertaining to Reggae, be it small or large, Teedo is always there!

New comer Bubbley T walked away with the Upcoming Artist of the year award. This was a much needed boost to introduce herself to those who still do not know her, but for those who do know her, they will attest to the talent that resides in this bubbly personality known as Bubbley T. This award will see her shining in 2015.

Bashment Sound SA were REPRESENTING! The entire crew came out to witness and to support anything that has got to do with Dancehall in SA. Massive respect to this crew and the works that they are pushing to take dancehall to the next level. We hope to see them in the nomination list for 2015.

A massive shout out and words of encouragement to the organisers, who have gracefully rolled with the criticism and constructively turned it into such an enjoyable and progressive event. It can only go stronger and higher from here.

So Where To

The one thing that we hope to see improvement on for 2015, is the inclusion of all regions and genres. This in all fairness was largely biased towards Soweto/Gauteng province. In order to be more inclusive, an effort MUST be made to reach out to all provinces in order to make it a truly National event.

We could substitute the Mixtape of the year award with Reggae BAND award [there are enuff contenders for this category].

We would also like to see a very competitive list of Nominees, competitive and inclusive.

The need for an insistent effort to include and involve other industry practitioners: Media platforms, Production crews, Photographers and the Southern African Reggae Music Association [SARMA] which was established last year.

Promotional efforts need to reach out to one and all. The massive and crew need to be motivated and encouraged to participate by voting and attending the event. The build up to the event has to happen throughout the year.

Let us start engaging with each other. Share your thoughts, as you have seen, constructive criticism took this event to another level. The initial step has been taken, now we all need to get on board and do our part as individuals and collectively. We here at Mzansi Reggae will keep you posted on developments. Watch this space.

Here is the full list of Dancehall Reggae Mzansi Award Winners 2014

DRM 2014

DANCEHALL REGGAE MZANSI AWARDS 2014 WINNERS

BEST MALE SELEKTOR

Bobotikal

BEST FEMALE SELEKTOR

DJ Teedo

SELEKTOR OF THE YEAR (OVERALL)

DJ Fanta

OUTSTANDING WOMAN IN REGGAE

Fikile Makhalemele-Lioness Production

SONG OF THE YEAR

Skeleton Blazer & Nathi B – Ganyi cimi

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Faya Uman

UPCOMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Bubbley-T

MIXTAPE OF THE YEAR

DJ Smokey

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Korianda izajah – Icuba Labathwa

SOUND SYSTEM OF THE YEAR

Eeka Big Bad Sound

BEST REGGAE/DANCEHALL RADIO SHOW

Umyezo We Reggae – Umhlobo wenene

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
Veteran: Lucky Dube
Young Hustler: Black Dillinger

‪#‎DRMA2014

 

And the nominees were:

DANCEHALL REGGAE MZANSI AWARDS 2014 NOMINEES

BEST MALE SELEKTOR

Dj Pepe
Rapza
Dj Fanta
Bobotikal

BEST FEMALE SELEKTOR

Dj Teedo
Zeeskull
Tandaring Dawta

SELEKTOR OF THE YEAR (OVERALL)

Dj Fanta
Dj Teedo
Dj Pepe
Rapza
Muzikulcha
Jah Yut
Chunku

OUTSTANDING WOMAN IN REGGAE

Gyal Weed
Empress Pro
Fikile Makhalemele-Lioness Production

SONG OF THE YEAR

Blak Kalamawi – Mna Nawe
Skeleton Da Scientist – Clean
Skeleton Blazer & Nathi B – Ganyi cimi

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Nathi B
Faya Uman
General Plago
Jeremiah Fyah Ises
Skeleton Da Scientist
Black Dillinger
Jahkhongo
Jah Link

UPCOMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Lavado
Bubbley-T
Sanctifire
L’titude

MIXTAPE OF THE YEAR

Dj Smokey
Dj Fanta
Gazaman T-cha

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Empress Pro – Journey & My Visions
Skeleton Da Scientist – Wrath of a rebel on a mission
Korianda izajah – Icuba Labathwa
Skeleton Blazer – Blaze fire Blaze

SOUND SYSTEM OF THE YEAR

Cutting Edge Sound
Eeka Big Bad Sound
Giggs Pro Sound

BEST REGGAE/DANCEHALL RADIO SHOW

Dancehall Entertainment Zone – Eldos FM
Umyezo We Reggae – Umhlobo wenene
Rising Fire Show – EK FM

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