Dancehall music star Winky D could be regretting the decision to echo a subtle political message in some of his songs last year as it has backfired, resulting in a dry awards season for him if exclusion from the National Arts and Merit Awards (Nama) nominees list is anything to go by.
Known for his lyrical wizardry, the 36-year old singer took his social commentary to a new level last year with songs like Gafa MuParliarment and Kasong Kejecha, which many perceived as anthems for opposition politics in the country.
This is believed to have influenced the dubious revocation of the Most Played Song award at the inaugural Star FM Awards where he had been announced as the winner at a ceremony held last month.
Although some of Winky D’s songs used to enjoy high rotation at local mainstream awards ceremonies, the politically incorrect lyrics seem to have invited sabotage from the high echelons of mainstream media, a phenomenon that perhaps encouraged the snubbing by Nama adjudicators.
But, his followers would have none of it when the list was released on Friday raising questions about the intentions of the adjudicators.
Winky D’s camp, through manager Jonathan Banda, refused to comment on whether they submitted their work for nomination or how they felt about not being nominated.
“Yes, we have committed to supporting the event in every way we could over the years,” was all Banda could say.
According to the chairperson of the adjudication panel, Ruby Magosvongwe, the 10-week selection process was presided over by “seasoned and highly professional” individuals guided by a specific selection criterion.
“The adjudication was based on submitted entries as well as those that were identified by individual and institutional monitors that were appointed to keep an eye on excelling artistes throughout the year,” she said.
This means the judges did not find works like Winky D’s in the past year worth the nation’s premium arts recognition.
However, if credible, Winky D is left to prove his mettle in the People’s Choice award category, which one gets by earning the most online votes from music followers in the country.
Winky D will battle it out with Jah Prayzah in a longstanding music rivalry left to be settled where it began, the streets, after the latter, also accused of political dabbling, got only one nomination this year in the Outstanding Music Video for Dzamutsana.
Both artistes have featured prominently in past awards ceremonies, but not this 18th edition and the two’s fans may have to vote extensively to settle the debate of who is better once and for all.
Soon after the announcement of the list, some fans online could be seen already questioning the glaring absence of the music giants who are arguably the most influential in this generation.
Efforts to get comment from Jah Prayzah’s camp were fruitless. National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) spokesperson Catherine Mthombeni said dates for voting lines for the People’s Choice category would be announced in the coming days
“The details will be announced in the coming days, but music followers will get to vote for whoever they want,” she said. The Winky D and Jah Prayzah showdown will be a sideshow at the Namas to be held under the theme African Royalty on March 23 at the Harare International Conference Centre.
ExQ, Enzo Ishall and Baba Harare are set to battle it out in the Outstanding Male Musician category while Thamsanqa Moyo (aka Tamy), Janet Manyowa and Sandra Ndebele will battle it out on the female front.
In the Outstanding Song fray, Jah Signal’s Sweetie is poised for a battle with Kanjiva by Enzo Ishal, Khal’uphethe by Clement Magwaza and Obert Chari’s Mebo.
Meanwhile, Bustop TV’s Sharon Chideu, widely known as Magi, is vying for the Outstanding Comedian along with Maforty-forty (real name Dumisani Ndlovu) and Long John.The Standard