2012 was an election year and undoubtedly one of the biggest and most eventful highlights of the year. For the first time in the history of the country, Ghana lost a sitting President when Prof John Evans Atta Mills lost the battle against cancer. This birthed an uncertain political environment ahead of the December polls but with the likes of Hassan Ayariga in the race for the highest office in the land, the electoral process often took an entertaining twist with Ayariga becoming the star of the elections. And who can forget the presidential ambitions of Akua Donkor, who wouldn’t have only possibly become Ghana’s first female President but also the first ‘no-English’ speaking President, if she wasn’t disqualified by the Electoral Commission. We live in interesting times, I tell you! We also lost former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, may his soul rest in peace!
And now on the entertainment front, 2012 was an excellent year for rapper, Sarkodie. Apart from winning the BET Award for Best African act, he was also the only African act to be featured on the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher alongside several top American rappers. He also won and received nominations for several other international awards including MTV EMAs, MOBO Awards, Channel O Music Video Awards among others. 2012 also saw Sarkodie being crowned Ghana Music Award artist of the year for a second time; he performed with Ludacris on the remix of ‘How Low Can You Go’, and released singles from his joint collaboration album with Jayso. Apart from performing across the globe, he staged the second edition of his ‘Rapperholic Concert’ on Christmas day, pulling a good crowd. He ended the year on a high with his inclusion in Forbe’s list of 13 African stars to watch out for in 2013. Let’s wait and see if it would be third time lucky for the rapper in 2013 as he readies his third album, ‘Sarkology’.
The year also saw Majid Michel winning Best Actor at the Africa Movie Academy Awards after several past nominations. It was good to see him win finally and his emotions, though witty, was priceless. D-Black also finally won a Channel O Music Video Award; it seems his flirting with Nigeria’s Mo Cheddah on ‘Falling’ rubbed some of the Nigerian magic on him. Deborah Vanessa alias Sister Deborah gained worldwide attention as the video for her first single, ‘Uncle Obama’ went viral on the internet. She even got some spotlight on CNN in the heat of the US Elections that saw the re-election of Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Debroah’s older brother, Wanlov’s interview that saw him showing his penis on the Delay Show caused a lot of stir on the internet. Both siblings got featured on the popular urban video portal, www.worldstarhiphop.com with disapproving remarks from a global audience.
Eazzy and her boyfriend Keitta were joined by comedian DKB to represent Ghana in Big Brother Africa. While Eazzy’s public declaration of love for the younger brother of hiplife founder, Reggie Rockstone was met with speculations and challenges in the media, their love survived the show and they are still waxing strong (as is evident on their instagram profiles..lol). Keitta went on the become Ghana’s best performing rep on BBA while DKB emerged as the most troubled, after he slapped fellow housemate, Zainab. The slap the echoed all around Africa earned him both admirers and detractors on the continent but back home in Ghana, his behaviour was simply met with contempt and ruled out as unfortunate and shameful. DKB then tried to save face by recording and apology song and later embarking on a nationwide campaign on domestic violence.
2012 saw several events and while some thrilled us, others left us with a bad taste in our mouths. My favourite events included the 020 Live concert with Ludacris. It was an amazing night with spirited performances of back to back hits from the American rap star. I liked the fact that there were just four acts on the bill, it made the experience a bit more intimate for me. I enjoyed 4×4’s live band twist in particular. The Okyeame Kwame, Mr Versatile Show was also on good show particularly because the concept of mixing up music, dance and theatre on such a big stage was quite new and refreshing. Apart from a few technical hitches and the fact that I didn’t enjoy his inclusion of the Hepatitis B song in his sketch (it was out of context and didn’t fit into the story that was being told), I totally enjoyed the show. I also enjoyed the Malta Guinness concert with P-Square at the Independence Square for its sheer turn out. It looked like what a real concert should look like. I also liked ‘Back in The Day’ concert, nice concept, refreshing performances from past hit makers; just low turn out.
The events that I didn’t enjoy for various reasons were the RTP Awards, Miss Universe Ghana Finale, and the Ghana Movie Awards. The Ghana Movie Awards managed to spoil my Christmas when National Security operatives beat up and arrested my colleague. Their actions were unpardonable but my biggest issue on the night was the root cause of the whole issue. I think it is unfair to invite the media to an event and not communicate to them that there could be limits to their movements and photographing. A Photographer was heckled by the security and when his colleague intervened, brains gave way to brawns and things blew out of control. And by the way, why do we see National Security operatives in full glare at such events? For a moment I was looking around to see if I could spot Denzel Washington or Will Smith. Although I wasn’t at the Joy FM Nite with the Stars, the Kwaw Kesse and VIP feud that ensued was simply unfortunate. It Shows you how relaxed security at events in Ghana can be. Most of the time, the security are there only to check tickets. Even if you carry a gun to the venue, you will go unnoticed. I wish the National Security will bring scanners and metal detectors to these events so we really see them do intelligent security work instead of showing off their muscles.
2012 also witnessed challenges with emigration for some Ghanaian entertainers. The finalists of the ‘The Spirited Actor’ – The Search For Africa’s Next Hollywood Star reality show were unable acquire visas on time to further the journey which was scheduled to take place in New York. And who can forget when Kwaw Kesse was refused entry into the UK due to inadequate documentation? He was ‘deported’ from Heathrow right back home. While we witnessed challenges going out of Ghana, we had visit from some international acts like Bow Wow, Keri Hilson and Mavado. Miss World 2011 also visited Ghana
We also witnessed name changes and breaking up of groups in 2012. The split in hiplife group, Praye was confirmed with some scandalous and bitter outcome, while winners of the maiden edition of the Vodafone Icons, RnM lost member Deniece due to her solo ambitions. They later replaced her with a new member called January. Yaa Pono changed his name to Kasakoa (proverb) and Mimi Divalish took on her native name, Habiba.
The year also saw a rebirth of Ghanaian fashion with the Glitz Africa Fashion Week and the Ghana Fashion and Design Week. While the former surprised guests with its glamour and quality direction, the latter seemed to have disappointed many in spite of its heavy sponsorship and attention from foreign media. The fashion renaissance also saw Citi FM’s Expressions In The City birthed, as well as a Legon Fashion Week for the University of Ghana.
While fashion was revived, we saw the passing away of tremendous talents such as actor Gideon Kotey and highlife legend, Dr K Gyasi. Some of our stars also lost important family members. Mothers of Black Stars players Anthony Annan, Baffour Gyan and Asamoah Gyan passed away. Nana Ama Mcbrown also lost her father while Blakk Rasta lost his wife.
Other highlights of the year include Mzbel’s pregnancy; Yvonne Nelson’s alleged love relations with Iyanya; Emmanuel Adebeyor buying a Range Rover for Funny Face; Becca’s father allegedly disowning her over marriage attempts from her manager, Kiki Banson among others. In 2012, I didn’t see many movies that I liked but as a sucker for comedy, ‘Contract’ will be my favourite for the year. My favourite songs were ‘Bye Bye’ by Asem and Kwabena Kwabena, and ‘Odo’ by R2bees.
2012 was also a fun year for me personally as I travelled for several award shows in the UK and Nigeria. Not only did I attend award shows but I was nominated for a few, including the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards, National Youth Achievers Awards and the Ghana Fashion Awards. Well I didn’t win any but I am grateful. Hopefully I will pick up a few in 2013. Let’s say farewell to 2012 and welcome 2013 with all the promise it holds. Happy New Year!