All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMAs) has apologised to Kenyan singer Tetu Shani after his terrible experience at the 2021 event went viral. But their apology had a twist with a subtle dig that "some of the nominees that did not win are unhappy".
On Monday evening, Shani, nominated in the Best Artiste, Duo, or Group in African Rock category, expressed his dissatisfaction at how they were poorly treated in last week's event held in Lagos, Nigeria.
Kicking off his Twitter thread, the 36-year-old singer addressed the issue of poor communication between organisers and nominees, the lack of representation of other African countries apart from Nigeria, and poor hospitality from the hotel's staff.
According to the invitation letter sent out to nominees, the Nigerian High Commission stated that AFRIMA would cater for all nominees' needs including, transportation (flight and local), accommodation, and meals.
However, Shani says that was not the case the moment he landed in Lagos on November 18.
"Communication was erratic and generally last minute. After having spent 5k on the visa and another 5k on the Covid-19 test 72 hours before flying, we were told the day before our flight that we needed to register for our Nigerian Covid tests before flying and registration cost $131 (Sh15,000)," said Shani.
He added that they encountered another terrible experience with the AFRIMA staff organising accommodation for the nominees upon reaching the hotel lobby.
"In Kenya when you arrive at a hotel, you are offered a non-alcoholic beverage and a wet towel to refresh. As international delegates and VIPs we were offered no refreshment but waited for what felt like two hours with no communication about what exactly was going on," he said.
Shani says they realised AFRIMA would only cover two meals, contrary to what was stated in the invitation letter.
Aside from the chaotic scene with the hotel staff, Shani says they were assigned handlers responsible for passing information and programming, who were never around.
Despite trying to remain positive, Shani says the experiences that followed only angered him more.
"I am not sure if the media people were briefed on the pan-African nature of the awards because most of the questions I was asked were Nigeria-centric.
"Questions like, 'Who would you like to collaborate within Nigeria? What do you like most about Nigeria? And the one that annoyed me most, What is your biggest song in Nigeria? How on earth would I possibly know and why is the relevance to my nomination?'" posed Shani.
Since it is the AFRIMA, Shani also called for the diversity of songs played by the DJs and the panellists.
"AFRIMA, please diversify your moderators. Diversify your panellists as well. They cannot and should not be mostly Nigerian men. If each region is represented, it will provide a more comprehensive view of what the music industry in Africa looks like," said Shani.
Following his awful experience, AFRIMA acknowledged Shani's feedback and apologised to the artiste, vowing to do better and investigate the issues he raised.
"We regret the not-too pleasant experience you had with the poor management by and some hospitality staff. We sincerely apologise! Our International Executive Committee is working to investigate and review all the feedback and take necessary corrective measures that such does not happen again," said AFRIMA.
"Although some of the nominees that did not win are unhappy, it is our goal to widely celebrate the hard work of all music icons in the continent regardless of their nationalities, gender or language. We will never undermine the efforts of Africans to make African music and culture heritage of worth and value."