For years, the Ghanaian music industry has been plagued with controversy over the awarding of the prestigious Artiste of the Year accolade.
Many artists have been overlooked, with some even claiming that the system is rigged. However, one group that seems to face an uphill battle in this regard is gospel musicians.
It is no secret that gospel music is one of the most influential genres in Ghana. From the days of Elder Mireku, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Yaw Sarpong, and Tagoe Sisters to the current crop of gospel musicians, the genre has been a source of comfort and inspiration for many Ghanaians.
However, when it comes to the Artiste of the Year award, gospel musicians are often overlooked in favour of their secular counterparts.
This trend has not gone unnoticed. Music producer, Kwesi Ernest, one of the leading voices in the gospel music industry, recently spoke out against the practice of “caging” gospel musicians on TV3 New Day.
He argued that this practice was the reason why gospel musicians have only won the Artiste of the Year award twice in the history of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA).
In a panel discussion hosted by Berla Mundi ahead of the VGMA 2023, Kwesi Ernest stated that “Gospel has won only two in all of VGMA because maybe we have caged ourselves and allowed others to cage us as ‘peculiar’ people who were not interested in worldly schemes but I want us to base the argument on who worked harder”
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Kwesi Ernest is not alone in his views. Many music enthusiasts and industry insiders have expressed similar sentiments. They argue that gospel musicians should not be judged solely on the basis of their genre. Instead, their work should be evaluated based on its quality, impact, and popularity.
This argument is not without merit. Gospel music has a huge following in Ghana, with many fans citing it as a source of inspiration and hope.
It is a genre that has given birth to some of the most iconic musicians in the country, including Yaw Sarpong, Joe Beecham, and Daughters of Glorious Jesus, to name a few.
Despite their contributions, gospel musicians are still not given the recognition they deserve, a situation which is quite unfair.