The Headies 2022: The Irk and Rave of an Award that Made Nigerian Music History.

The 15th edition of Nigeria’s premier music award took place early today 5th September 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia, The United States of America in the process of making history as the first and biggest Nigerian music award to be held out of the shores of the country.

The award ceremony has been received with mixed feelings among music lovers in Nigeria going by the comments on social media on the eve of the award and hours following the ceremony. some individuals have been so irked by the seemingly unpatriotic act of the organizers of the ceremony, while some have received the off-shore award ceremony as a compliment to rave of-the-moment music genre Afrobeats which is created, curated, polished and perfected in Nigeria before being sold to the world.

This write-up is presenting the views of Nigeria’s leading music history site music in my ears and our perspectives are as follows.

It would have been very good and patriotic if the Awards were held in Nigeria. However, the Awards is a property of a private business concern that would have taken into consideration all prevailing circumstances and projections related to return on investment, and tangible and intangible deliverables to be gained in taking the ceremony out of the country.

Secondly, the organizers were very clear in their gaol and objectives which is summarized in the theme of their first Award Brunch which took place in Los Angeles and is ‘Unveiling the first ever Global Awards for Afrobeats Music’.In this case, it is a very patriotic act for the awards to have been moved offshore because Afrobeats music is one of our biggest export commodities at the moment and the awards ceremony serves as a big roadshow to further support the fledging global genre. We must not forget that Ayo Animashaun and his team at the Headies are one of the biggest support structures of the music industry in Nigeria, In following the award theme, the organizers introduced more categories that capture the essence of their global intent. The categories include ‘Best International Collaboration’,’Best African Collaboration’, ‘International Artise of the Year’ and ‘African Artiste of the Year. There are other sub-regional categories.

Thirdly, Afrobeats as a genre is just beginning to gather momentum and this is the time to nurture the music form like a mother nurtures a toddler. Afrobeats is still grouped with world music or international music at the Grammys. All efforts should be geared toward creating a separate category for the genre at the Grammys and other international awards. This is where the owners of the Headies are thinking ahead of the rest of us. If Reggae has a separate category, then it will not be out of place for Afrobeats to have its separate seat at the Grammys. Indeed the Headies taking place on American soil might just be a wake-up ‘tonic’ or ‘ginger’ for the Grammy people.

Additionally, some people have made comparisons with the fact that Grammys are not taken out of American soil. But it is very clear that the playbook that the Headies copied from is very American in nature which is exactly a bigger brand like NBA does by taking some exhibition games out of America and developing franchises around the world.

From Music in My Ears we say a big congratulations to Ayo Animashaun and his team for a successful ceremony. We trust that Headies will make a big return to home soil maybe by next edition.


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