If you had previously lost interest in awards in Zimbabwe, then trust me this year’s twinned edition of the National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) will change your mind and set a new precedence.
By Lennon Mudzengerere
After a sabbatical, due to COVID 19, the NAMA awards ceremony will be making a comeback on the 26th of February, and the National Arts Council has gone all systems out to put up a top drawer event. Last year’s ceremony was a virtual celebration of 40 Legends from across disciplines and it was a top tier and received some rave reviews.
NAMA directed for three years now by a leading creative mind in the form of Napoleon Nyanhi and the Jacaranda Media Culture team has been a breath of fresh air.
Despite the covid disruption NAMA has made great diligence in coming up with a great nominations list which is greatly commendable. The public sentiment only felt the top Hip Hop artist Holy Ten and Wadiwa Wepa Moyo would have made it given their disruptive power in the past two years.
The line-up at this year’s awards has been diversely selected to accommodate more genres and a cut from two generations something that will most likely add to the glitz and glamour of the event. Zim Hip Hop which as been on a consistent rise gets the biggest bit on stage this year with Jnr Brown, Awa Khiwe, Kikky Badass and Tanto Wavie making up the line-up.
Co-hosted by Amard and Leroy Gopal the awards will be an experience to remember. The Red carpet has new fashion sheriffs in the form of Two Broke Twimbos, Danny That Guy and Phil Chard. Do not say we didnt warm you to dress to kill!
Here are the Hip Hop heads making the line-up.
If you are going to have an All-star Hip Hop line up then there is no one better to add to the stage than the King himself, King James. Jnr Brown will be the highlight act at this year’s NAMA awards ceremony. For those who are not familiar with James Mpakula aka Jnr Brown, you will be up for a treat at the awards. Jnr Brown has performed on some of the biggest stages in the world. From the Big Brother Africa stage when Big Brother was still a prime-time juggernaut, to the peak HIFA stage. With a litany of hit songs, there is no doubt at all that the king will serve a 5-star performance. What we can only hope and pray for is that the other half of Few Kings, Tehn Diamond, will make a cameo appearance. If I were to bet on someone to blow the HICC roof off at the awards night, I would put my money on Jnr Brown.
This gentleman needs no introduction at all. With a sterling performance at last year’s Shoko Festival, there is every reason to include him on the line-up. If you ask anyone who has an atom of interest in local hip Hop or local music will tell you that Tanto is the most underrated artist in the country. For someone that has managed to invent his sound and managed to back it up with hits on hits, recognition should not be that hard to get. Tanto will have a lot to prove and with his last album creating a playlist won’t be a problem. One thing that I also can guarantee when it comes to Tanto Wavie is that the wardrobe will be spectacular.
When it comes to Live shows there are very few Zimbabwean artists that are as energetic as Kikky. Her flow is generally fast and keeping up with such speeds and still adding feisty dance moves is not something most artists can do. Add to that expert and sizzling wardrobe selection and you have the perfect artist. Kikky Badass being on the lineup is important as it is a great statement when it comes to inclusion in the local Hip Hop game. The best part is that Kikky is not only on the lineup because she is a woman but because she is a great artist with a great track record when it comes to performances and also a discography that will certainly have the crowd on their feet.
The German-based Awa Khiwe is not only a great artist but also a vocal advocate on social issues affecting the nation. The rapper has quite a following on Twitter and her inclusion on the lineup had me buzzing. I have not had a chance to watch her perform live before but her discography is enough to light up any stage. With performances in over a dozen countries, you can only expect, the fast-flowing rapper to add that international feel to the state and I am confident she won’t disappoint. If you haven’t come across her hits like Babakazi or Ngeke Bengimele, then you need to watch her performance on Saturday.
“Mwendaz wemaHeartbreak” is also one artist that has put in a lot of work in the past year. The talented artist has managed to build a cult following thanks to his witty lyricism and “booming” vocals will be making a debut on the biggest awards stage in the land. After recently landing an ambassadorship appointment from PSI, Kae Chaps will have a lot of positive energy going into the performance. With his latest release “Gehena” already a hit on all streaming platforms, there is no doubt that the lad will bring hell to the NAMA ceremony.
It’s an amazing spectacle that we get to see young artists performing at NAMA. The best part is that Earground will be giving you all the scoop and insight from the ceremony. If Dr. Dre could serenade millions with an all-Hip-hop lineup then there is no doubt that the same can happen at NAMA.