Showbiz pundit, Francis Doku, has said the brawl a the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) could prove positive for the music industry.
He said on PM Express Monday that the bad press generated by Saturday night’s incident notwithstanding, it has initiated a belated national conversation about the myriad of issues facing the industry. The message the brawl sends to key institutions dragging their feet to support the Ghana showbiz is that “you can continue to ignore the industry anymore,” Francis said. Francis Doku was referring to a scuffle between the fans of rival artistes, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale, at the 20th edition of the VGMA.
Just when Stonebwoy, who was about to give his speech for winning the Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year for the fifth time, Shatta Wale started walking towards him on stage with a multitude of people said to be members of his inner circle. As he approached the stage, a fisticuff started between Stonebwoy’s entourage and Shatta Wale’s team.
In the melee, Stonebwoy pulled out a gun. Both Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale were released on bail Monday afternoon after they were held overnight for the violence.
The brawl has been widely condemned. However, speaking on PM Express on the Joy News channel on MultiTV, Francis Doku said there is a silver lining in the fracas. “It is a negative thing, but sometimes the negative things help to bring some positivity…it is how we manage it and make sure that the guns are not pulled at a stage of this sort again [that matters],” he told show host Evans Mensah. He is confident the widely-condemned incident will kickstart a conversation between the players in Ghana’s showbiz on one hand and Corporate Ghana and Government on the other. However, Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bessa Simons, who was also on the current affairs show, disagreed with Francis Doku. ”This is not our culture. This is a very peaceful country and I am sure people who come to such shows don’t come with bodyguards because they know such a thing will not happen in Ghana,” he said. He admitted, however, that following the incident, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, has agreed to bring all the stakeholders together for discussions on challenges facing the industry.